I have so many other things going on that I don’t have time to see a Doctor.
I can take care of myself.
If I don’t go to the Doctor, I can’t get bad news and I won’t have to deal with it.
I’ll go to the Doctor when the pain gets worse. When the drainage gets worse.
None of these Doctors know what they’re talking about, so what is the point?
She won’t like me if she finds out there is something wrong with me…
“Dominick, I think you have Hidradenitis Suppurativa.” I heard that for the first time after the Doc at my small-town clinic looked at the swelling and irritation under my armpit. Figuring this was going to be something as simple as switching deodorants and a couple weeks of anti-biotics, I shrugged it off as no big deal. “There are a couple websites I wrote down for you that can help you find information.” I looked at her and smiled. She appeared a bit concerned but I really didn’t care, I was headed to Atlanta in the morning and I didn’t have time to waste on this. “I want you to take care of yourself, Dominick.” She held my eyes a moment longer while she handed me a note with websites scrawled across it, evoking curious tension between us. For a moment I thought maybe I outta look into this a little bit. Then I shrugged it off and thanked her as I got up and left.
Looking back, I really wish I wouldn’t have thrown that piece of paper in the trash on my way out of the building. Looking back, I really wish I would have taken her more serious.
As a male who just entered his 40s, I’ve always found most energetic young Doctors are full of ideas I’m not interested in and suggestions that I really don’t listen to. It’s not for a lack of acknowledging their insight or even their education. Truth be told, I really didn’t have an answer for why I initially disregarded her medical advice other than the same excuses I gave for a lot of things: I’m busy and I don’t have time.
Men are often discouraged from expressing vulnerability through societal and evolving gender norms for fear we might appear weak. Many of us are chasing a career and chasing a dream. HS is going to affect those. I’m very busy and I don’t have time to take care of myself.
YES. We do have time. And this is our wake-up call.
Fellow men, whether we have HS or not, this mentality of sacrificing our health in the process of chasing a dream has got to stop. Many of us fall victim to thinking we can put things off, hoping if we ignore something long enough it will get better and we even develop a habit of discouraging each-other from seeking help through our ever-competitive nature.
If you read this far, I think it’s safe to assume you or someone close to you is suffering from Hidradenitis Suppurativa and I want you to know you are not alone, I have it too. Now is the time we must focus on what is important: our health and our purpose in life. We have time today, right now to make an appointment to talk to a professional about questions we have about ourselves. We cannot look at this skin disorder as a short foot-race fellow HS warrior, dealing with it is going to resemble a long marathon. Get moving.
Dominick Juliano is a retired military veteran in his final year of coursework for his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Author of his blog and YouTube channel: Beautiful Trainwreck, he explores a variety of topics relating to personal development. In his spare time, he studies Shorinji Kempo martial arts with his son and takes naps with his Schnoodle.
Dominick will be sharing his YouTube videos with HS Connect and we'll be joining him on his upcoming armpit surgery and grafting for his HS.