Hankala potilas vai hankala sairaus (“Difficult patient or difficult illness”; does not translate well) is a medical book by Maija Haavisto. It is about chronic illnesses that are contested/controversial, frequently misdiagnosed or that commonly have their prevalence or severity seriously underestimated. These include such conditions as mold illnesses, fibromyalgia, histamine intolerance, chronic mycoplasma, adrenal insufficiency, hypoglycemia and gluten intolerance. Even supposedly well-known illnesses like multiple sclerosis or ankylosing spondylitis too often remain unrecognized by doctors.
Besides these and dozens of other illnesses, the book also discusses the treatment and diagnostic tests for them, as well as sociological issues related to these illnesses and chronic illness in general. Open-minded yet still critical, the book is meant for doctor and patients alike – both for those still struggling with undiagnosed conditions and those who have already received a diagnosis. There is a large list of references at the end of the book.
The book (and this blog) is currently only available in Finnish, but if you know a publisher who might be interested in purchasing the translation rights, please get in touch!
Maija Haavisto: Hankala potilas vai hankala sairaus: tietoa huonosti tunnetuista pitkäaikaissairauksista
Finn Lectura 11/2011. 305 pages.
About the author
Maija Haavisto is a Finnish medical writer, journalist and author living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Hankala potilas vai hankala sairaus is her third non-fiction book in Finnish. The previous one, CFS:n ja fibromyalgian hoito (Finn Lectura 2010) is the Finnish version of Reviving the Broken Marionette: Treatments for CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia, which has been highly acclaimed both by patients and medical professionals. It features a foreword by well-known sleep researcher, professor Olli Polo. In October 2013 her new medical book Uusia hoitoja autoimmuunisairauksiin (New Treatments for Autoimmune Diseases) was published by Finn Lectura and has proven a big hit.
Haavisto maintains several medical websites in Finnish and English, most importantly CFS-verkko, the only CFS/ME website in Finland, founded in 2006. She writes health and medical articles for both print and online publications and works as a medical translator. Her clients have included many doctors, both in Finland and elsewhere. She has been a speaker at two medical conferences in the UK in 2010. Her novel trilogy, Marian ilmestyskirja, Makuuhaavoja and Häpeämätön are about chronic illnesses (Lyme/CFS/ME and EDS). She has adapted Marian ilmestyskirja into a play titled Marian ilmestykset, which premiered in Finland in March 2014. She is currently working on a movie script related to immunotherapy.
Haavisto also has plenty of personal experience with chronic illnesses. She got sick with CFS/ME in 2000 and as its complications she has also developed e.g. IBS, migraine, chronic urticaria, hypopituitarism, hypothyroidism, myofascial trigger points and hypoglycemia, though through her stubbornness and medical knowledge she has been able to get effective treatments for most of these conditions. She has been interviewed for many major Finnish newspapers and magazines and even national radio and TV.
For more information about the author see her website (in English).