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“It’s all in your head,” he’d tell her when he suspected she was lying.
Fearing her symptoms would be challenged by her father, Bettinger began to keep them to herself.
Until that picture becomes 80 to 85 percent developed, there may be some ambiguities as to what it is.” * * * Today, Bettinger is resigned to her illness. “I don’t have a husband or a child, so I still sometimes battle isolation, but I try to reach out in support groups.” It is common for sufferers of chronic illness to experience depression, according to a study published last year in the journal Social Work in Health Care, so support from friends, family and professionals is critical.
With the help of the psychiatric treatment she received at Booth Memorial, she slowly recovered from her bout of clinical depression. Lately she has been battling an inflammation of the skin around her eye. However, oftentimes the supporters do not understand the illness.
Her whole body was swollen and she was embarrassed by her appearance.
By the time she was on her flight home to New York, she couldn’t conceal her symptoms any longer and knew she was severely ill.
Her days were spent juggling prescription medications and handling hours-long doctor’s appointments. It was more than I could take; all I could think was, I can’t live, I can’t. She ended up in the voluntary psychiatric ward at Booth Memorial Hospital in Queens. Lupus is more common than leukemia, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis, and there is no cure.
Bettinger’s eyes and joints have been particularly affected.
Standing in front of the air conditioner, shivering, she would hope for little white polyps to form on her tonsils or some other physical signs of her illness to appear.
“Look Ma,” Bettinger would say in their absence, hopeful she could pull off the ruse.
For example, “It feels like the flu,” or “It feel like I just ran a marathon,” or “It feels like two tons of metal are on top of my body.” * * * In a grey, cramped conference room at the S. They were seated around a wooden table with their winter coats, wet and dripping from the drizzling rain, hanging off the backs of their chairs.
The meeting was attended only by those comfortable speaking in front of a reporter.