These Last Twelve Months …

Susan J Hilger
3 min readSep 7, 2023

By the end of 2022, I realized I had lost or would lose 6 friends within 6 months, the grief still feels surreal. ‘Would lose’ includes a couple of people with a terminal illness who might make it to the new year. Even more perplexing is most of these people had some rare form of a brain disease or brain tumor.

This year, since early January, I’ve spent almost every day sick with something, not on the serious side, but definitely on the annoying one. It has been challenging in that I’ve realized how important it is, actually critical it is that we claim and advocate for our own bodies. I started out the year on my birthday with acute sinusitis which I believe was caused by inhaling second hand cigar smoke at an outdoor cafe.

While self-treating myself for extreme headaches for 3 months, I managed to turn my stomach into a raging bee hive. After a certain point, I emailed my regular doctor. She was away, but the next day, her son, another doctor in her practice, agreed to see me. Cutting this story a bit short, I was soon scheduled for a CT scan and new bloodwork, all to look for some major demons in my gut. To say the very least, I was feeling stressy and surprised with his decisions.

This is not to say I don’t care for my doctor or for her son, but the reaction was startling. The rule-following part of me wanted to reject their decision, and the other part wanted to heed his advice and follow through. I decided to go for the test and it was almost clear.

Two tiny spots on my liver led to another undesirable screening, an MRI. Both my doc and her son believed the spots were nothing, yet they both felt my claustrophobic self needed this MRI. Both of these ‘significant’ tests were very clear, with results of no findings.

Obviously I survived this roller coaster, but there’s still a problem, the original stomach issues. I revisit ‘my’ doc two times after she returns, I continue to bring these issues up, but we don’t address them.

I thoughtfully and quickly moved onto something and someone else, a doctor of Internal Medicine and Functional medicine. After a 90 minute examination, she now has me living on what is termed a ‘simple Mediterranean fodmap’ diet and a few hundred dollars worth of supplements. I’m well into my fourth week, missing my wine and…

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Susan J Hilger

Writer, Business and personal coach/mentor. I help entrepreneurs, startups, lead with intention, grow, create the changes desired for you and your business.