When You Really Need to See A Doctor (Why I didn't)
I should have gone but it's not to late for you
My doctors have agreed there is nothing which would have prevented my body from suddenly falling apart BUT there were warning signs. Warning signs which I refused to acknowledge. I have an immense ability to lie to myself regardless of whether it's a stalker or my health. Going to the doctor would not have stopped what would happen but it would have meant they would have taken it more seriously (I like to believe so anyway). If you are living with symptoms on an ongoing basis, then hopefully this lens will help you make the decision to see your doctor. Even if you feel silly doing it, at least you will have the knowledge you have gotten everything checked out. Still, doctors are human but give them a chance. You never know if it will save your life. So when should you make the decision to see one? This lens will help you decide.
You are experiencing something "unusual" - Well...I always did lead an unusual life
Several months before the day my normal life would end, I started experiencing 'unusual' symptoms. What I mean is, they started slow and progressed until they affected my every day life. One of which were night sweats. The first time it happened, I was confused but figured it was a fluke. Then they started to get worse. Some nights I would have to change my clothes two or three times because I would wake up shivering from the cold sweat. If you have never experienced a night sweat then be thankful. They are uncomfortable and a serious waste of laundry.
Still, even though I knew this was unusual to be experiencing, I did not mention it to anyone. I told myself it would stop even though it kept getting worse. If what you are experiencing is an 'unusual' health problem then seriously consider seeking medical attention. They may indicate a bigger problem is present or as in my case, something worse is on the horizon.
You find yourself 'hiding' the problem - Hiding something? Me? Never!
Living in an apartment near campus meant I did not have a car so on nights where my friends and I would go out I would usually spend the night at their place. Being so tiny means I would just sleep in bed with my friend. I became nervous about spending the night because I was afraid my 'problem' would be discovered. I knew if someone discovered the night sweats they would insist I go see a doctor.
Around the same time the night sweats started, I began to lose weight. For someone who has never weighed a hundred pounds, even two pounds is a noticeable difference. I did not realize it until I did not have to do the 'skinny jean dance' (where you basically struggle into your skinny jeans and then do some for of lunges until they are wearable) when I put on a freshly washed pair. After wearing them for a day, they started to feel loose which should not happen until day three or four. I never weigh myself so this was an indication something was off. Still, I managed to hide the weight loss by making sure to wear outfits which did not pinpoint it. I am creative so no, I did not resort to sweatpants.
If you find yourself, 'hiding' a symptom then it's time to see a doctor. You do not want to end up at the point I did, which is where you suddenly are so sick you cannot even walk. Hiding a symptom did not make it go away, it just made me frustrated about the situation. This was a serious warning sign. Do not take it lightly. You should not have to hide the problem from people. See your doctor.
You are afraid to tell people - Two Months Into Keeping the Signs a Secret
Almost all of my friends are in a medical or biology field, they are not stupid. Although I am a great liar to myself, I am not completely stupid. Immunology is my passion and I do not need to research symptoms to know they indicate a problem. When I started getting sick more often, I blamed it on everything else. The weather was cold, I was counting fish in an unheated basement, maybe I just wasn't feeling well...there was every excuse available. I was having the best semester of my life. Although I was constantly busy, I did not feel stressed which is why I was so amazed when doctors kept insisting it was all stress related. The only stress I felt was the one about how stupid these problems were. If I told someone it would just cause unnecessary worry and I did not want it to interfere with how great things were.
If you are afraid to tell people about what is happening to your body, then it is probably time to see your doctor. When you know others would be concerned, it means stop hiding the problem and be brave. Go see the doctor and tell them. I told myself I would get checked out but there was always an excuse, I had a test or paper, there were documents to look at, new people to train....Underneath those excuses was just me being stupid. Do not be stupid. Go to the doctor.
You KNOW there is something wrong - Who knew problems were just on the horizon?
If you read my lens on stalking then you know I have an amazing ability to ignore a major problem. I tell myself it will go away (ha! that worked really well with my stalkers) or it's not important. Being in immunology means I did not have to look up what symptoms like night sweats, getting 'little' colds all the time (with the occasional swollen lymph node), and unexplained weight loss means. Months passed after my body fell apart before I felt comfortable enough with a doctor to share what had been there for months before October 31st.
What was her reaction? Because of past health problems with cysts, she sent me immediately to get checked out for ovarian cancer and ran a slew of blood tests for other indicators. I did not do research on those symptoms, I knew they can be indicators behind different cancers but I did not acknowledge my worry. One neurologist thought I was just being a hypochondriac about medical worries. Hypochondriacs look up symptoms, go to the doctor, and worry excessively. I had no interest in looking up anything on me, absolutely refused to see a doctor, and pushed the worry far back in my mind. Everything would go away soon, no need to think anything was actually wrong right?
If you know something is wrong, do not look up symptoms on WebMD. Seriously, that site will have you thinking you have brain cancer when you look up a common headache. Actually, I really loathe WebMD (do not hate me all you who live by it) and think if you are truly worried, at least look at a site like mayoclinic.com or if you have medical knowledge then visit my beloved PubMed. Most of all, go to the doctor and BE HONEST. Do not hide what you know is not right. You do not want it to backfire on you later when they ask, "did you have any symptoms of what you have now" and you admit.."..yes but I ignored them." Bad idea.
Have you ever put off seeing your doctor about a problem?
Yes. I was busy, it wasn't important, there were lots of excuses
Be honest with your body - I laughed but the reality would turn into downright scary
Your body knows when something is wrong. It is true there are conditions with no signs (like most lung cancers) but most of the time it does share their is a problem. I am thankful to this day I do not have cancer but I should have listened to my body. Nothing would have prevented the day everything came crashing down but at least my doctors would have known something was on the way. Instead, I was 'perfectly healthy' (minus the warning signs) and then extremely sick to the point where I would eventually be unable to function without someone to assist me. I was not honest with my body when I should have been. Even though my doctors would has said 'everything is fine' at least they would have known something was on the way. Then again, I dealt with a huge amount of naive doctors who really had no idea what was happening so maybe it would not have mattered.
Do not ignore your body's signs. I knew they were there but I always had a ready excuse and I did not want to ruin such a great time in my life. There was so much to do and unnecessary appointments (I thought so anyway) was just a waste of my time. With research, classes, my job, and graduate school there was no room to be sick. Do not let other parts of your life distract you from listening to your body. Go to your doctor. They may say 'everything is fine' or something may be wrong. Either way, at least you were honest.
Books on Being Sick and Helping Those Who are Sick
I have problems with so many different parts of my body that it is almost impossible to explain. I do not pretend to have the answers to anyone's medical conditions or what the best treatments are for you. Some of these books may help you in your own journey and I hope so.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Prayers of Hope and Health
Recently, I found out from a person I know about one of her friends facing a serious battle with cancer. She did not have any warning signs and thought it was just some back pain. What seemed to be pain was actually cancer on her spine. To have spinal surgery to remove the cancer carries a high risk of becoming paralyzed. Instead, she is undergoing intense amounts of chemotherapy.
Just the thought of having cancer was enough to scare me from sharing my symptoms so I cannot imagine the terror she lives with every day. From the many comments left on my lenses, I know people on squidoo are rooting for me and hoping the doctors will find an answer. If you can find a moment, please send up a prayer or five for her. I know having so many people praying for me helps me get through another round of medical testing, especially with the last one which was so bad it left me crying in pain and even caused some of the blood vessels to burst in both my eyes (gross).
Thank you so much for all of your support. Even though I do not personally know this person, I will be praying for her and I hope you can all do the same. Much love and thanks. Kalafina
Picture from: http://vigorvoyager.wordpress.com/2013/01/