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GEM and chronic illness (hEDS)

Hallo!

If this is an inappropriate place to post, please let me know and I'll re-post.

So, I have been thinking about GEM for a few years. It was my childhood dream to become a doctor; however, my health declined when I was 16/17, meaning that I didn't do quite as well as I wanted in my A Levels and my career changed direction. I was eventually diagnosed with hypermobility-type Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, along with its buddies (POTS, MCAS, gastroparesis). While I do experience fatigue and brain fog, and have significant impairment of the use of my left arm (very severe EDS-related injury led to surgery which then disabled me in another way), and would need RAs at university at work, it's otherwise well-controlled with physiotherapy, medication, self-care, and, oddly enough, keeping my brain challenged. Has anyone else managed to successfully complete medical school with complex chronic illnesses? If so, how did you manage? Are there any that have made it through the F1/F2 years?

If I were to make the leap, I would need a couple of years to get the experience, study for the entrance exams, save money, etc., but it's always good to be prepared, right? While I feel I would maybe be satisfied continuing with a career related to my studies (I've won a few awards already!), I can't help but really wonder what life would be like if I did pursue my dreams, especially given that I've just experienced an unexpected bereavement. I don't want to get to old age and think "heck, if only I'd had the guts to become a doctor", but then again I don't want to wreck my body further!!

EDIT: I have a first-class BSc (Hons) and MSc with Merit with mostly A*/A at GCSE. My A Levels are just very average!


Thank you muchly!
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by DoctorZebra
Hallo!

If this is an inappropriate place to post, please let me know and I'll re-post.

So, I have been thinking about GEM for a few years. It was my childhood dream to become a doctor; however, my health declined when I was 16/17, meaning that I didn't do quite as well as I wanted in my A Levels and my career changed direction. I was eventually diagnosed with hypermobility-type Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, along with its buddies (POTS, MCAS, gastroparesis). While I do experience fatigue and brain fog, and have significant impairment of the use of my left arm (very severe EDS-related injury led to surgery which then disabled me in another way), and would need RAs at university at work, it's otherwise well-controlled with physiotherapy, medication, self-care, and, oddly enough, keeping my brain challenged. Has anyone else managed to successfully complete medical school with complex chronic illnesses? If so, how did you manage? Are there any that have made it through the F1/F2 years?

If I were to make the leap, I would need a couple of years to get the experience, study for the entrance exams, save money, etc., but it's always good to be prepared, right? While I feel I would maybe be satisfied continuing with a career related to my studies (I've won a few awards already!), I can't help but really wonder what life would be like if I did pursue my dreams, especially given that I've just experienced an unexpected bereavement. I don't want to get to old age and think "heck, if only I'd had the guts to become a doctor", but then again I don't want to wreck my body further!!

EDIT: I have a first-class BSc (Hons) and MSc with Merit with mostly A*/A at GCSE. My A Levels are just very average!


Thank you muchly!

Hi!
I don't have a chronic illness, so I'm afraid I can't give you any advice from my own experience...however you might find this website useful https://www.disableddoctorsnetwork.com/. There's some information there for applying to medicine, medical school issues and training once you're qualified. I do know of a few students in my cohort who have long term health conditions - from what I've seen, universities can be quite variable in their response and sometimes they're not as supportive as they could or should be. Everyone on the course should go through occupational health assessment as well to identify anything they might need support with - unfortunately it can often feel like you're being given more hoops to jump through rather than it being there to help (I have a condition that doesn't affect my day to day life, but ended up with a nurse review and then a doctor review which I found quite stressful, even though it was fine in the end!).
Each course should have a Disability Liaison Officer (possibly under a different job title!) who makes sure that students with long term conditions or disabilities are supported during the course. It might be worth contacting the universities you're interested in applying to and asking them what support they have available - ideally they could to put you in touch with their disability liaison officer and you could discuss your concerns with them and that might help you decide if you want to go for it.
Wishing you the best of luck whatever you decide to do in the future!

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