As a doctor, I am privileged to be given a window into the lives of many of the patients that I meet. For the duration of the time they spend with me, I don’t just get to know about their symptoms but also about the backstory to these symptoms. Often there is a lot of emotional overlay, as you would expect when chronic pain and loss of quality of life is involved so then I bear witness to grief, anger, despair and frustration.

While I have been fortunate to enjoy good health, I have endured a good share of misfortune and challenges. I know what it’s like to feel battered by things that seem beyond one’s control. There have been times when I have curled up in a ball and felt utterly helpless. So far, I have always managed to pick myself up and keep looking for a way forward. Even among my colleagues, I am acknowledged as someone with remarkable perseverance. However I still could not have overcome my obstacles without help.

I see illness as one of the many challenges that life can throw at us. No-one is excluded from these. We don’t get to choose what challenges life sends out way. It serves no useful purpose to protest that it’s unfair. However,, as with any challenge, solutions are possible. With my knowledge, not just of medicine but of the Australian health systems, I will spare no effort to find the solution to your health problem.