Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Listening to Your Body

I'm going to write about a subject I think is very important. It's a topic of conversation I was just having with my husband over coffee, and he said, "You need to blog about that!"

I was talking to my best friend yesterday who has been having a hard time getting pregnant. She's been sort-of casually trying for a while now, though do we ever really casually try? Anyway, she's had no luck, and recently she's been wondering if she might have PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. She has a friend with it and through talking with that friend, realized she has many of the same symptoms. I told her that she absolutely needs to talk to her doctor about it. And she needs to specifically mention that condition when talking to him.

Maybe, the rest of you are already good about being assertive with your doctors, but I know that I, in the past have not been. I figure that they're the experts. They'll figure out what's wrong with me. And further more, I don't need to tell them what I'm suspecting because it might annoy them. I do think they probably get tired of all the self diagnoses people are performing based on their Internet searches.

But that changed for me with this ms business. My first noticeable symptom was tingling in the legs. After four years, yes four, I finally googled it. When I read that it was a symptom of ms, I found that I also had many of the other symptoms. I started talking about it with my husband and dad. I don't think they really thought I could have it, not because my symptoms didn't match up, but because who wants to believe that someone they love could really have a degenerative disease? But as my husband pointed out, although he put on a positive front, he also made sure I was seen by a doctor.

Before I went to the doctor, however, I thought I'd try a chiropractor. I thought, maybe we'll start small, the problem will be solved and that will be that. But at my consultation, the chiropractor confirmed that I did indeed have a lot of symptoms of ms. She also said(and this is important) that as women we tend to know our bodies. We are intuitive.

That's the key. I wholeheartedly agree with her. I believe, I did know what was going on. I had valid reasons for my suspicions. And so then when I did go into the doctor, I was able to tell him aggressively what I believed we should check for. A year ago, when I'd told him about the tingling, he'd merely suggested a physical therapist. This time, he scheduled an MRI. OK, and to be honest, I didn't aggressively tell him, my husband did, but still, it worked. Yes, I was embarrassed when the nurse said, "Now what makes you think it's ms?" in a slightly condescending tone. But who knows what would have happened if I hadn't gently guided the doctor into ordering the tests I needed.

So that was my advice to my friend. Tell the doctor what you suspect. Tell her why you suspect it. If it turns out not to be that, then good, but at least you'll know it's been ruled out. It's wise, to pay attention to what our bodies are telling us. It's foolish to ignore a recurring symptom.

The only thing I would add to this advice, is one cautionary rule. If you think you may have pinpointed something, then stop there. Tell the doctor, let him run his tests, but do not continue to research the disease, the problem or whatever. As my husband says, "Don't look in the back of the baby book.", speaking of the What to Expect When You're Expecting book. That book has a section in the back all about when something goes wrong in pregnancy. Don't read it folks! Not unless, that something bad, comes to be. Point being, even if you think you might have something, what's the use in reading all about every rotten thing that could come with it. You'll work yourself into a tizzy, lose sleep at night, and there's nothing you can do about it anyway. It is what it is.

At least, that's what I've learned from my experience. OK, so maybe I have ms. I'll get on the medication prescribed. Maybe I'll even join a support group, so that I don't have to bore or concern everyone else with all my fears about what the future could hold. But I'm determined not to drive myself nuts online, reading horror stories about people who became paralyzed, needing to be in wheelchairs, or who lost control of their bowels and their speech, etc. So, maybe I have it. I'll take it one day at a time. I'm sure not going to figure out the worst case scenario and then convince myself that someday that will be me. The value in knowing is that I can treat it, not that I can live the rest of my life in fear over what might one day happen.

So listen to your body. Do what's necessary to help heal it. And trust God for the rest. That about sums it up.

1 comment:

  1. Good! I hope you will listen to your own advise and not look in the back of the book (o: