Over the years, I have diagnosed myself with several serious health conditions, many of them life-threatening. All of which were later proved to be not-so-threatening after all. Obviously, I blame it mostly on hospital drama TV shows, the internet and the vast amount of free information they have laid at our doors. Now it’s possible for me to have a funny pain in my lower abdomen and immediately get on Google to investigate symptoms of what disease I might be exhibiting. Mayo clinic says that I probably have appendicitis if I have a persistent pain in my lower-right abdomen (I’m not sure if its my right, but I’m in pain so what do I know), nausea (that greasy lunch certainly seems to be coming back up) and abdominal bloating (that’s a constant concern so maybe it’s been developing for a while now, and I never knew). Before I know it, I’ve already begun to believe in my dire medical condition, which of course psychologically reinforces my physical symptoms.
There was the time that I had over-exerted myself on the treadmill and developed a certain amount of knee-pain. After ruling out osteoarthritis, rheumatism and bone cancer, I finally decided that I must have Patellofemoral pain syndrome (also known as runner’s knee) caused by improper foot balance. (Terms like pronation and supination became familiar lingo for anyone who cared to listen to my prognosis.) Of course, I was secretly pleased that I had a bona fide reason for not using my paid gym membership. But after a few weeks of secret pleasure, Runner’s Knee left me high and dry, and I had no choice but to crawl back to my treadmill and ask to be taken back.
Not all my diagnosing is based on facts weaned from the internet. Sometimes, it’s just sixth sense, a deep knowing that something terrible is being harboured inside my body. (No, don’t conjure up images from Aliens; that’s just gross.)
Shortly before my wedding, I started suspecting that something was terribly amiss with me. I had thick lumpy subcutaneous knots all over my abdomen that seemed suspiciously like cancer (to me). I called my husband (then-fiance), told my mother and messaged my sister- to prepare them all for the worst. That I might not actually make it to the wedding day, that we’d have to cancel the catering and instead hold a makeshift ceremony around my hospital bed in the cancer ward, right before I die. (Surely you’ve read these kind of stories in Reader’s Digest?) Anyway, I had expensive ultrasounds and CAT scans done and was examined at length by specialists. I kept asking the nurses and technicians plaintively, “Do you see anything, do you see anything?” Finally the doctor sat us down and confirmed everyone’s (but mine) secret suspicions: I had no cancer, or any other disease for that matter. I ecstatically texted everyone: I’m going to live! I’m going to live! All systems go for Operation Wedding! Afterwards, I went home and ate several bars of chocolate out of sheer relief and gratitude.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, my friend. I should know.