The Problem with the Internet

September 1, 2010 by admncc

I normally enjoy my anonymity on here.  I have never once posted a picture of myself, said my full name or even where I work.  And usually my complaints have nothing to do with my personal life, but more so are random things I encounter and think you’ll enjoy.

But for once, today’s post is different.  I’ve had a very strange month and as it turns out, I made it worse for myself.  Let me explain.  Since May, I hadn’t been feeling very well.  I had just run in a marathon, and figured my body simply wasn’t recuperating properly.  So I went to the doctor and they ran some tests.  Strangely, one obscure blood test came back positive.  And it required me to see a special doctor.  Panicked, after the call came, I immediately went to Google.  Big mistake!  I did a searches for this blood test, because even I had never heard of it.  The first five things that came up on every medical site during the searches were all fatal diseases (ranging from two to 20 years of life expectancy).  I started freaking out.

My next call was to try to find a specialist (physician) that I had been referred to.  Of course, since I was a new patient, the first office I called couldn’t see me for two months.  The second and third offices were a little better – 45 days.  The fourth office I called was 30 days.  So I made an appointment there.

And then I proceeded to worry for the next 30 days that I might have a fatal disease.  Let me tell you something…when they say life is too short, it is.  This was probably the worst 30 days of my life, and I wish it on nobody.  I couldn’t do anything without worrying about the test result or my health.  A buddy of mine, who is a doctor, insisted that the test was a false positive and said that unless it was a “million in one illness,” I was going to be fine.  But stupid me, I kept looking on the Internet and doing research, with all of the searches coming back bad and making me feel worse.

But there’s a lot of good news to report.  First off, I’m fine.  The test was indeed a false positive.  And I actually learned that a certain percentage of people actually test positive during this test and are perfectly healthy.  The specialist I saw was probably the best doctor I have ever seen.  She spent a great deal of time explaining everything to me and ran tons of additional confirmation tests.  And as it turns out, my original theory held true – spending 18 weeks training for a marathon and then retiring from running the day after the marathon wasn’t the smartest move and caused my body to respond in a derogatory fashion.

Other than to my wife, this is first time I’m talking about this…  But this post isn’t about leaving me comments saying that you’re glad I’m OK.  I already know that.  It’s about knowing that according to the Internet, a simple cut or pain in your leg could be fatal.  LOL.  It’s about knowing how scary it can be to think that you could potentially be sick, but have to wait to see a doctor for confirmation (health care at its finest).  And it’s about realizing how short life is – the one thing I will never take for granted again.

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  1. TallElf says:

    Love the internet. I had woke up one morning and my tongue was brown. WebMD said that it was possibly 1 of 3 fatal diseases. I was a little worried until the Mom-In-Law asked if I had taken pepto within the past 24 hours. I did, as the sandwhich I had in the 6 hour car ride did not make friends. Needless to say, Knowledge is power, and the internet lets us have access to this knowledge but in the end sometimes it is crippling to us in the end.

    Glad that you are ok.

  2. NeoConDon says:

    Glad to hear things turned out alright…I’m concerned that in one of the best cities in the world for health care, it took 30 days to get in front of a doc. This isn’t Canada yet. I bet if you were Tiger Woods, or had big boobs you’d get in a lot faster…!!!

  3. Jen says:

    It’s so funny you mentioned this – I had a friend who was spouting all this data about a medical test and I looked at her and said, “Have you been on the computer?!?” It’s true, we have a wealth of info at our fingertips, but do we know what to do with it? I don’t!

    Glad you’re not dying, that would suck. Heh.

  4. C. Princess says:

    It’s never a good idea to self diagnosis yourself and never seek medical advice from the web. You’ll just wind up making yourself feel paranoid from what possibly could be wrong with you and as you wrote you’ll start “freaking out.”

    Hey it’s great hearing that you are well and healthy and awesome for you for taking part in a marathon!

  5. soccermom says:

    Yeah the net can be a dangerous place if your seeking medical information.

    I stay away from it. I have lupus and there is no cure for it. I learned the hard way not to look shit up.

    The worry about the unknown can eat you freakin alive.

  6. oh MAN..

    i can’t imagine how stressful that was, on the up side it probably shed some good perspective on life.

    so glad to hear you are okay and i miss ya!

  7. Zig says:

    I hope you die!

  8. Wow, I still feel like saying “I’m glad you’re ok.”

  9. Ugh! I can totally relate!

    I recently had an itchy crotch, and I Googled it. I thought for sure I had the clap or maybe crabs and possibly gonorrhea.

    I was ready to file for divorce.

    As it turns out, I just a simple yeast infection caused by a very strong antibiotic I took for a sinus infection. So I ripped up the divorce papers, gave my husband a blow job, and all is right with the world again.


  10. Jen says:

    How scary! Sometimes too much information can be a bad thing. I would have been doing the same thing, searching online about it and obsessing until I could get checked out. Life is too short. I’ve been reflecting on that point a lot recently and making a point not to waste time with anyone who isn’t important to me. It’s good to be reminded of that.

  11. Wendy says:

    I had the same thing happen. A doctor had a concern and wanted some more tests run. He specifically told me NOT to google it. What did I do? Googled it. Convinced myself I was dying. NOT GOOD. In the end ~ nothing turned up. But I hear you ~ EVERY day must be lived to the fullest and with out regret.

    Congrats on the marathon, AND… so glad you are fine 🙂

  12. Angelica says:

    I always do searches on what is wrong with me and I end up freaking myself out. I’m very happy that it turned out well for you because you have so much to live for. (Not that I think ANYONE should be afflicted with things like that.)

    It seems like it always takes a big event or super extreme surprise revelation to put things into perspective and make you see how lucky you are.

    Hugs! Hugs! and more HUGS!

  13. CARissajaded says:

    Ah man, I’ve been there. Even before the internet I was a hyperchondriac, but with the onset of Web MD I’ve turned into a cyberchondriac. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve freaked out thinking I was going to die, because the internet told me so. I’m so glad you’re ok and you have nothing to worry about!

  14. Alexandra says:

    Yes, this is why I always cringe when I watch House MD. “OMG! I have vasculitis!”.
    I also had an episode of Google-induced terror last month when I couldn’t explain a weird stomach pain. A visit to the doctor and a horrible week waiting for my ultrasound appointment (how fucked up is that? you have to wait weeks to see a specialist?!) later I found out nothing was wrong! Big phew!
    Glad you’re ok.

  15. Meeme says:

    Funny thing…when I was pregnant, and had a questions, my doctor told me “google it”. But, for illnesses…webmd is scarey. (glad you’re okay too).

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