Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dr. Firefox

More symptoms started to pile up after my visit with Dr. HC. Hearing the news that I viciously disagreed with the diagnosis, my body rebelled.

I’m not going to bore you with details, because they are boring. Honestly it wouldn’t be interesting if I shared the long list of problems that haunted me back then. Let’s leave it at this for now: I struggled most with what I called the brain symptoms.

I asked my husband if he wanted dinner for tacos. I started to develop habits that could be mistaken as OCD tendencies when I misplaced my short-term memory. Did I turn off the stove? Check. Are the burners off? Yup. Did I remember to check the stove? Okay, but did I lock the door? Things got worse week after week, but it started with annoying stuff like that.

Stuff that would madden the most patient person. Patience is not exactly my enemy, but we don’t get along. Six months before my appointment with Dr. Second Opinion I was getting restless, because I knew that I had to be undiagnosed before I would have a shot at getting a proper diagnosis. I didn’t want to show up without an alternative theory. I was taught to bring up a problem right before presenting a solution. Hey, it usually makes sense.

I tried to diagnose myself with a little help from Dr. Firefox. Those damned articles that I mentioned in my post ‘Duh.’ were filled with the self-esteem boosting message that I know my body better than anyone. Yes, I do, but that’s not the whole story. I may know what I’ve been through and what vodka does to my sanity and what type of weather triggers migraines, but I don’t know anatomy worth a shit.

Going online for a diagnosis was a big mistake. My family doctor discouraged me from this. If she explained why, I wasn’t listening, but I know why it didn’t work for me.

We think the Internet is omniscient. If it’s not available on a browser, it doesn’t exist. When I was searching for answers, I forgot about the dusty texts in the back rooms and basements of libraries around the world. I forgot about books, period. I ignored the fact that certain medical journals are not available to everyone online. The ideas that I formed about my body were based on partial information.

After researching for hours on legit sites, I thought I had MS. It was my reaction to heat that convinced me. When I would take a shower with my husband, he shivered as I felt rubbery and tired. The showers were never hot enough to fog the mirror. Even a slight rise in temperature made me feel exhausted, and I was especially sensitive to humidity.

Heat makes pain worse for some Fibromyalgia sufferers, not fatigue. When I typed my most prevalent symptoms into the trusty search engine, the only disease that came up as a match was MS. I didn’t complicate things by noticing that many online medical queries ended with MS. In the end, though, the best proof that Internet diagnosis doesn’t work is the fact that I got it wrong. I wasn’t even close.

It was dangerous for me to draw a conclusion about my health based on an incomplete catalogue of knowledge. The fear that I had MS fucked with my head for a very long time. Then again, so did Dr. HC’s diagnosis.


  1. thanks for visiting my blog.

    The internet can be a blessing and a curse hey.

    Here's hoping you find full and complete knowledge that leads to health and healing in ways perhaps you did not even start looking for. :)

  2. Thanks for visiting, too, Tabitha.

    It's true that everything good comes with something bad, and everything bad comes with something good.

    Luckily, I'm walking down that road now. Maybe it will be a long road, but I found it!

  3. I hope you'll find out the problem soon. Sometimes the hardest part is not knowing.

    Straight From Hel

  4. Thanks, Helen. Love, love, love your blog title!

  5. Your very right Jenn.
    Self Diagnosis and the diagnosis of others can be confusing in the least. The speculation of my issues priour to a accurate diagnosis (at least what I belive is acurate so far) made me crazy.

  6. When I was sick, diagnosing my illness was an occupation. I thought when I found out what was really wrong, I would be fixed. And that's how diagnosis became THE answer.

    This part of your comment "(at least what I believe is accurate so far)" speaks volumes.

    There is an element of living in the now when you've been undiagnosed for a while, a small fear of the future and what it will bring for your health. That's a big part of what changed me. I'll definitely write about this in detail.

  7. Jen - I can relate to what you write. I am looking forward to reading more. I truly believe that the internet is a blessing and a curse when it comes to self diagosis. Sometimes when you cannot find answers from the medical profession the internet is where you turn. I say this from experience.

  8. Hey Amy, thanks for visiting my blog. I agree that we turn to the web when doctors shrug their shoulders.