Pills for Breakfast: Countdown to the Mayo Clinic

Pills for Breakfast: Countdown to the Mayo Clinic

So I’m going to the Mayo Clinic in a little less than two weeks.

In 13 days I’ll be on my way to what many people in America consider to be the best hospital in the country.

It has taken me over a year to get in there. Apparently, when my original primary care doctor decided back in May, 2013 that he could no longer help me, I wasn’t quite in bad enough shape for the Mayo Clinic to prioritize my case.

I guess excruciating pain that literally makes you want to kill yourself isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you.

450px-Mayo_Clinic_Rochester_Gonda_w_trees_3890pEvery healthy person I tell about my upcoming appointment gets super excited. I can see it in their eyes that they believe I’m going to go there and come home five days later cured. It is the freaking MA-YO Clinic after all.

Those who’ve had their bodies betray them though, have a less optimistic view. The sick know better. They tell me how the Mayo Clinic failed them. Or how they went there and came home worse off than when they left. They tell me story after story about how the doctors there are just like all the other doctors who have let me down.

And so, I am only cautiously optimistic about the whole thing. Once in awhile, the little spark of hope I have left in my soul will flicker, and I’ll remember for a few seconds what it was like to be healthy. I’ll wish with all my heart that maybe, just maybe, the Mayo Clinic will live up to its reputation and cure me.

Maybe a doctor will see my case in a new light or they’ll have a special test I’ve never heard of that will diagnosis me on the spot. Or they’ll give me a new experimental treatment and it will actually work.

And I’ll pretend that I could come home and go right back to living my life — like I did before I woke up one day in February, 2013 with sudden, horrible pain in my right ribs that never went away. That maybe, just maybe, I could even wear a push-up bra again one day.

But those moments only last a few seconds. I spend way more time trying to prepare myself for the worst.

I keep telling my family that the doctors will probably spend an hour with me and proclaim they have no idea what’s wrong and send me on my way — the same as every other supposedly amazing specialist I’ve ever seen. And then we’ll just have to spend the rest of our week in Minnesota window shopping at the Mall of America.

Don’t worry though, I won’t be buying any big-ticket items. The trip is the big-ticket item. With the cost of gas, hotel rates and my family’s need to eat on a daily basis, this doctor’s visit isn’t going to be cheap. And it’s made all the more difficult to deal with seeing as how, like most sick people, I’m drowning in thousands of dollars in medical bills and expensive monthly prescription co-pays.

The problem is, as much as this illness has devastated me, without a diagnosis, it’s not like I can have a fundraiser. I’m not the 30-year-old young professional with something recognizable like cancer. No, I’m the girl who wakes up everyday feeling like she’s just been beaten up by a baseball bat and a truck. And nobody wants to donate to that girl.

So, I ended up dipping into my retirement savings to front the cost. Just a loan, but still. It’s one of those things every financial expert everywhere warns you against. Had they been in my situation, I think they would have done the same thing though.

I just hope it’s worth it.

Crystal Lindell

Crystal Lindell

Crystal Lindell is journalist who lives in Byron, Illinois. She loves Taco Bell, watching “Burn Notice” episodes on Netflix and Snicker’s Bites. She has had pain in her right ribs since February 2013. It is currently undiagnosed.

Crystal writes about it on her blog, The Only Certainty is Bad Grammar.

The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that!  It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.

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Martha McGhee

Good luck Crystal, I hope you get some answers.

Remain skeptical but when you are there, do not leave without answers. Sometimes doctors don’t recognize the sacrifices we have to make to get answers for our agony. They see another patient, not realizing that you have had disappointment after disappointment. Bring a list of questions and demand answers (nicely). If being nice doesn’t work, you might have to get tough or bring someone with you that can get tough for you. My husband has become very good at this, even though he is usually a very nice guy. Go get ’em! Praying you get answers and relief.

Brenda Alice

Prayers. Hoping your trip was better than mine. They were more concerned about their pain clinic. Came home with ruptured disc but was refused MIR while there. I so hope that you are a success story. Much to young and pretty. Blessings and safe journey.

My wife went to the Mayo Clinic in Florida several years ago for chronic head and back pain and a “fever of unknown origin.” You will get to see a variety of specialists, but in my wife’s case they never talked to each other!!! When you go, ask the doctors if they can talk to each other, not just to the “quarterback” doctor who sees you first and last. I hope they can help you but they way they work could be better because the different specialists never communicate with each other. Best wishes!!

Larry Marraffino

Is “Pro Zohydro” a medication for pain???


Dear Crystal
I am so heartbroken for the pain you suffer. To never know what or why you experience this pain , what may be causing this, must be the worst feeling of all. I will pray that when you are being seen at the Mayo Clinic, Our Lord will be beside you and will help the specialist that is seeing you find the cause of your pain.
I live every day with the unknown causes of Fibromyalgia. There are,
many days when I will have too sleep through my days because of the small body exhaustion that comes along fighting thru this pain. But I am learning by changing my diet, my daily routine, I begin my day with deep
breathing thru my pain, I meditate to calm my mind, I do restorative yoga,
when I’m able. I have two comfort puppies who bring me laughter and
love, but with that I must force myself outside to walk them and to get
fresh air and sunshine for all of us. I like you will never give up the fight to live again in the light of great health.
Light Hugs and Many Blessings are sent to !
I will never give up and I commend you on all of your efforts and positive thoughts on finding your way they the darkness and back into the light


Wow sorry for all the mispelling and the wrong words hard to think right when you are hurting so much.


I wish and prayer that they find out what is causing your pain, I myself live with chronic pain but I know my problem, however, back in 1991 I thik it was I started having horrible pain in my abodeman and back both, went to dr. after dr. etc. you get the pic. you have been there so for 2 yrs. I slept on my couch with a heating pad on the front and one on the back. Now believe this if you will I went to another dr. a ob/gyn which is what I had mostly been too in the 2 yrs. she put me on the table to examine me but instead of laying me flat down she had my head and back propped up, low and behold my uteruas was 1/4 in. from falling out. Simply problem yet none of the other dr.s over those 2 yrs. could seem to figure that out. When she told my I would have to have a hystertomy I cried like a baby, she naturally thought it was due to the surgery when I explained finally after calming down that no it was that it wasn’t in my head, I am sure you have heard that one, and it could be fixed, Once surgery was over and I healed I was back to normal. Didn’t last long enough but I can only hope that yours is something so simply and it is just the way the dr. postions you or whatever but keep the hope it can happen and you can have a normal life back but don’t take it for granted as I did before being thrown right back in the lions dens with different problems unrelated. Again, keep the hope, it isn’t in your head and some do. some where will find what it is. Best Wishes Crystal