Last night, my hubby and I had a bit of an argument. Well, it wasn't really even an argument and definitely not a fight. It was more of a disagreement. Actually, it was him calling me a hypochondriac and me taking offense.
You see, I take the statistical bullet in other random areas of health, too. Remember how I said a couple of posts ago that I was thankful for my health? Well, that's because I have had some really random things happen to me healthwise. I think we have all had our weird health things, but I do seem to get some of the more random. Obviously, this whole infertility thing has been a bit odd. But there have been other times, too.
When my husband and I first met, I was diagnosed with a rare bladder condition in which the walls of my bladder basically had ulcers. It was a very painful condition, which required several medical procedures, a strict diet, and daily medication. Unfortunately, I also ended up experiencing kidney reflux as a result of this condition, which meant that I had several kidney infections over the course of our early relationship. Luckily, I was able to get the condition in check and with some slight diet modification consider myself "cured" of that.
Three years ago, I had some chest pains and shortness of breath. I let it go for a few weeks, but it seemed to be getting worse. Of course, Dr. Google returned all sorts of prognostications, including heart attacks, anxiety, and pneumonia. I didn't have a cough or fever, so I ruled out pneumonia, and actually figured it probably was anxiety. An chest x-ray revealed that it was pneumonia - or Walking Pneumonia, actually - but it was actually pretty serious. Despite several courses of antibiotics, the pneumonia wouldn't budge and the x-rays got cloudier. My symptoms kept getting worse and because my immune system was already compromised, I was a target for any and all illnesses. I was a pretty sick puppy. It took about six months, but when summer came, I ended up getting "better" until the fall, when it came back, and this time with a vengeance. I ended up in the hospital because my oxygen saturation was so low and had to have a lung biopsy and sinus puncture, where they discovered that I actually had a fungal infection, which is why the antibiotics didn't work and why it seemed to clear up during the summer. Once I was put on a course of anti-fungal medications, I was fine.
I tend to rely heavily on Dr. Google in times of medical need. Whenever I have a health-related question, the good Dr. seems to provide a bevy of beautiful answers. I do tend to self-diagnose based on what answers come back. It's not like I think "hmmm, I have Disease XYZ," and then google that disease and then miraculously have the symptoms. No, I have the symptoms, which puzzle me, and then I Google them and the diagnosis comes to me.
So, is this hypochondria? Of course, I Googled hypochondria and this is the first definition that popped up (courtesy of Wikipedia):
Hypochondria (or hypochondriasis, sometimes referred to as health anxiety/health phobia) refers to an excessive preoccupation or worry about having a serious illness. Often, hypochondria persists even after a physician has evaluated a person and reassured him/her that his/her concerns about symptoms do not have an underlying medical basis or, if there is a medical illness, the concerns are far in excess of what is appropriate for the level of disease. Many people suffering from this disorder focus on a particular symptom as the catalyst of their worrying, such as gastro-intestinal problems, palpitations, or muscle fatigue. The DSM-IV-TR defines this disorder, “Hypochondriasis,” as a somatoform disorder and it is thought to plague about 1-5% of the general population. Hypochondria is often characterized by fears that minor bodily symptoms may indicate a serious illness, constant self-examination and self-diagnosis, and a preoccupation with one's body. Many individuals with hypochondriasis express doubt and disbelief in the doctors' diagnosis, and report that doctors’ reassurance about an absence of a serious medical condition is unconvincing, or un-lasting. Many hypochondriacs require constant reassurance, either from doctors, family, or friends, and the disorder can become a disabling torment for the individual with hypochondriasis, as well as his or her family and friends. Some hypochondriacal individuals are completely avoidant of any reminder of illness, whereas others are frequent visitors of doctors’ offices. Other hypochondriacs will never speak about their terror, convinced that their fear of having a serious illness will not be taken seriously by those in whom they confide.
Hmmm. Some of this does refer to me, but I think that most of it does not. For example, if a doctor told me that I do not suffer from an illness, I would believe them and move on. I would not say that I am disabled by my avid interest in Dr. Google and am definitely not disabled by it. I am a frequent visitor to my infertility doctor, but I haven't seen any other doctor since March for my annual physical. Before that, I hadn't seen my primary care doctor since the previous March for my annual physical. I definitely don't avoid doctors, nor do I go excessively.
But do I protesteth too much?
Here is a new term to me, also courtesy of Wikipedia:
Cyberchondria is a colloquial term for hypochondria in individuals who have researched medical conditions on the internet. The media and the internet often contribute to hypochondria, as articles, TV shows and advertisements regarding serious illnesses such as cancer and multiple sclerosis (some of the common diseases hypochondriacs think they have) often portray these diseases as being random, obscure and somewhat inevitable. Inaccurate portrayal of risk and the identification of non-specific symptoms as signs of serious illness contribute to exacerbating the hypochondriac’s fear that they actually have that illness.
Uh-oh. I definitely do research things on the internet. Huh. Could my husband have been half-right?
I still don't think so. I still believe that a hypochondriac is someone that does not have anything wrong with them and believes they are sick regardless. Sometimes, I actually do have things wrong with me and I happen to like to educate myself on what could possibly be wrong. When I am feeling healthy, I don't stalk the internet, looking for diseases that could befall me.
Is denial the first sign?
Hmmm. If I knew how to do a poll, I would make one.