Wednesday, December 14, 2011

When Your Body Cries Wolf

Do you ever feel like your body is constantly crying wolf?  Do you think that you may mistakenly write off a symptom as part of your illness because of so many false alarms?

I’m sure most of you have that crazy symptom that scares you. At first, every new symptom may seem terribly alarming and we may go straight to the doctor or hospital.

For me, it seemed that after going through every diagnostic test available, the doctors would always come up with one of the following conclusions, depending on their familiarity with me and my illnesses:

a) Nothing is wrong. Come back if it fails to improve or gets worse.
b) We cannot find anything, or the results are inconclusive. Come back if it fails to improve or gets worse.
c) It is just another symptom of your ME, FM, etc.
Eventually, we may see the pattern and grow sick of what may seem like a waste of time, energy, and medical expenses for the same conclusions every time.

In my case, I developed somewhat of an invincibility complex.  It was not the typical invincibility complex—I never drove recklessly or participated in particularly risky activities. But after always being told that everything is nothing to worry about and having had every test imaginable, I hadn’t thought I was in any real danger health-wise. 

I recently had a wake up call. One morning I woke up extremely dizzy, weak, and numb. When I finally managed to make it to the bathroom, my vision went blurry and my hearing went. Then it felt like my body turned to gelatin and I lost all strength and fell, unable to catch myself.

I was scared because that was the first time anything quite like it had happened to me. Usually if I fall it is because I lost my balance or tripped. Whenever I have started to fall because of weakness, I’ve always been able to grab onto something or catch myself before I hit the floor.

Although I’m fine now, it served as a reminder that we never know when something serious may come along. As the symptoms accumulated that morning, I didn’t think much of it. I pretty much ignored everything until I was actually on the floor and couldn’t move.

I used to think that my gut instinct would let me know if my body was just “crying wolf” or was in actual distress. Now I am not so sure. I guess all we can do is see a doctor when new concerning symptoms come up, rather than assuming it is just nothing as usual.

Do you get so tired of every symptom just being another part of your illness that you start to ignore new symptoms or feel that nothing is ever serious?