It’s Saturday and I’m in an in-between mood. How about a game of “Guess the Illness?” Here are the symptoms.
- Overwhelming nausea to the point of interrupting sleep
- Debilitating fatigue; perhaps related to the nausea
- Powerful and incapacitating headaches
- Unfortunate bloating*
Does this list sound familiar? Akin to, say, pregnancy?
Well, guess what — I have had these symptoms for several weeks now but I am not pregnant.
How cool is that?
Ha hah hahahahahaha
Anyway, thinking these symptoms might be related to cysts (that happen to behind that annoying pain I still have) on my ovaries, I looked it up on Wikipedia.
It turns it out I could possibly be right.
I went to the doctor’s, for an unrelated appointment, about a week ago. My doctor, Sue, asked about my cysts, and if the treatment was going well. I unloaded all that I had been feeling. She looked at me with an odd expression; naturally I went on.
“Um, yeah, it’s pretty bad. The nausea keeps me up at night, inhibits me from eating, and makes me feel weak. The fatigue is debilitating; if I don’t take a nap during the day I can’t function. The headaches just suck. But Ben and I researched on Wikipedia and it says all this is pretty normal with the cysts.”
She stared at me.
“Well…maybe Wikipedia shouldn’t replace a doctor’s…”
“No, it shouldn’t. I think you might have an ulcer.”
“Oh. Really? Well…that’s, uh, great. At least it’s treatable, right?!”
To keep this story short, we went through the rest of the appointment, I had my blood taken and she said she would be in touch a few days. A few days came, she called, and the tests were negative.
“Don’t worry,” she advised, “I am going to research this and figure out what the deal is. I’ll call you soon.”
It’s been a week and still no news.
When the pain started shortly after the miscarriage, and I knew it wouldn’t be going away soon, I went through the stages of grief. It was hard, but I learned to live in my new normal, painful, existence. But, with the on-set of these new symptoms, I’ve had to re-enter the process. Sadly, it has become cyclical: Denial, anger, bargaining, sadness (since I already suffer with depression), acceptance, and back to the beginning. I can’t seem to find my way out of the circle.
It effects so many areas of my life–reading, writing, blogging, and, especially, wifing (i.e. being a wife) and mothering.
I don’t publish these things to garner sympathy. I describe this illness, or whatever you want to call it, merely to explain my absence for periods of time from this space and from your blogs. And also to provide a background for future posts, that I may write, of what I have learned from this whole experience. Plus, to be completely frank, sometimes I just need to complain without feeling pressured to be grateful or perfect or whatever. There you have it.
As I don’t have an optimistic ending to this post, I do want to relate a silly lesson I learned. As much as I adore Wikipedia, it should be used as a starting point for symptoms, not to replace a healthcare provide. Even if said healthcare provider doesn’t have answers, at least they are in your, proverbial, corner. Because, honestly, I am sure thousands of misdiagnoses have come from searching the web. Even if your intentions are pure.
*Please say you laughed when you read that. I put it in not to gross you out, but to illicit a smile. What can I say, I love sarcasm.
Image provided by freeimages.com.