When Health Disparities Persist: A Personal Experience

In November 2014, I purchased a sandwich at a worksite cafeteria, and my life changed. I became sick instantly with severe stomach pains that lasted for 7 months. Within that first month, I lost 20 pounds. My hair started falling out. My skin became dry and ashy. It was painful to walk, and I could no longer use the restroom.

I had to wait 6 weeks for an appointment with the GI doctor. I was not a new patient.

I had money to afford everything. I had health insurance. I was not taken seriously and was mistreated because of the color of my skin. This is a problem.

From January 2015 – May 2015, my life was hell, and I got sicker. I eventually had to stop working, but it was my PCP who did the paperwork for me to receive FML. The GI doctor who was treating me refused to.

Within the 5 months of the GI trying to figure out why I was so sick, I was sent to have multiple tests, ultrasounds, CT scans and MRIs done. I paid a copay every single time. I had an appointment with a copay to get results every single time. I was told by the GI doctor that African Americans were lactose intolerant and that was most likely my problem. I explained on more than one occasion that I did not like milk, ice cream or consume much dairy. The GI doctor still treated me for lactose intolerance, which was not the problem.

After spending a night in the ER due to green vomit, the ER doctor stated that my liver enzymes were elevated to 1,700. Because I had a GI doctor listed in the database, I was told that the GI doctor would take care of it. I received no help at the hospital. I was sent home sick and still in pain. I followed up with GI doctor, and he told me that my topical use of essential oils was the cause of my elevated liver enzymes. I was causing my problems. By this time I had already spent $1,200 in copays, and I spent most of my time in bed.

Feeling defeated, depressed and not able to tolerate food or water, I made an appointment with my PCP who saw me immediately. I told him everything that had been going on. He asked if my gallbladder had been checked… It had never been checked. I asked the GI doctor about it and was told that could not be the problem.

My PCP wrote a note with a test for me to have done and told me to give it to the GI doctor. And we wanted to know the results.

In June 2015 – July 2015, I had my gallbladder removed because it was functioning at 0%. I also had a hernia repair. The NEW GI doctor ran one test and saw that I had a large cyst. I had my left ovary removed and endometriosis removed from my low back. I was also sent to an Allergist. It was revealed that I was allergic to several fruits, vegetables and tree nuts. I was prescribed Epi-pens. I also had asthma and was prescribed inhalers.

I had money to afford everything. I had health insurance. I was not taken seriously and was mistreated because of the color of my skin. This is a problem.


Kidney health matters! Did you know that kidney disease impacts about 37 million people in

You may have heard of clinical research, also known as clinical trials or clinical studies,

Fortitude Fitness Expo
The Fortitude Fitness Expo, held on May 4, 2024, at Beulah Missionary Baptist Church, showcased
Find answers to commonly asked questions about clinical studies.
Wearable technology is changing how we monitor our heart health at home. Learn more about
Read about the impact of Kidney Action Week on Black lives.

Download Every Kidney Counts Assets

Download Rooted Resilience Assets

Skip to content