Test results…and a little challenge to you.

A couple of weeks ago, I had an ambulatory EEG to determine if my periods of spacing out and losing awareness are epileptic in nature. Out of three possible outcomes—normal, epileptic, or something really bad, the results were option 1: the test was fine.

It may sound odd, but that wasn’t really my desired outcome. I was hoping for a clear answer. I already have mild epilepsy and was hoping I could just get a different medication. The doctor suggested that my episodes were just related to mood issues, such as anxiety. Perhaps my problem stems from an over-sensitive nervous system. Can’t say I’m impressed with this coming from a prominent neurologist.

“Would you like me to prescribe an anti-depressant?” No, not really. Do all doctors default to anti-depressants when they can’t figure out the problem? My God, even dentists probably do at this point.

Maybe everyone was right after all. Maybe I am just a crazy bitch.

My dramatic appearance wearing the EEG equipment obviously caught people’s attention. When my coworkers asked if I got my results, at first I pretended that I hadn’t gotten them yet. People forget when you said you’ll get the results; they won’t forget what you had on your head. Well, at least a few considerate ones won’t. But too much time has passed for that lie. So now I tell the truth, but I make it seem like I’m hiding something bad.

“Did you get your results yet?”

“Um… Yes, I did…” I pretend to smile bravely while I hold something back. “Yes.. they’re okay. I’ll be fine.” I then give a tight-lipped smile and nod, and change the subject in the artificially pleasant voice of one who wishes to avoid a painful subject.

What a disgrace I am! I know how offensive I must sound to those who have actually suffered through a dangerous illness. Perhaps I ought to have mentioned that any of my fearful expressions of serious illness should always be taken with a grain of salt. They are the words of an inveterate hypochondriac who stays up until two-thirty in the morning googling toenail pain.

I’m not sure when this hypochondriac obsession began. I believe it may have started the time I found a palpable lump in my breast (verifiably palpable, not imaginarily), and the doctor—a surgeon, no less—actually laughed and said I was too young for anything to be wrong. The ultrasound report said there was a palpable mass but the test itself showed nothing to correspond to that mass.

I asked the doctor, “So what is it then?”

“I dunno.”

There’s something there… but they don’t know what. Nine years later, the lump and I are still here. But how many stories have you read—or known of personally—in which someone is dismissed by a doctor, only to be later diagnosed with something at an advanced stage?

Here is my challenge to you who say that the possibility of serious illness is remote and my obsession is ridiculous: explain to me why I should be exempt from such an illness. Perhaps the odds are small, but someone will get sick. Why shouldn’t it be me? People act like there’s some designated group of cancer scapegoats, who are hand-selected to receive cancer diagnoses so that the rest of us don’t have to worry. Yes, the odds could be 1 in 1000 or 10,000. But, why shouldn’t I be that one?

Despite my exaggerated paranoia stemming from the inexplicable lump incident, though, the fault is not all on my side. Doctors, like the original Frankenstein, have created this monster. I have actually never asked for a test. They urge you to take the test, and then inform you that you’re fine. Then they prescribe a drug. When it doesn’t work, they tell you that you don’t need it. They send you for a different test, which also shows nothing. Once they have never given you an answer and thoroughly confused both you and themselves, they give you an SSRI.

I’ll make a confession. Maybe deep down I do like it. Maybe you don’t even have to look down that far. My arm twitched back and forth the other day, and maybe I was a little glad to feel it. Maybe I even encouraged it a bit. Who knows. The twitch was real and other people could see it. If they had looked. That means it’s not in my head. Except when I dramatized it a little bit. I’m not sure if I did or not. But at the very least it started out real. I think.

When I started my blog, it was mainly a diary of hypochondriac fever dreams, so these posts are hardly out of character for my blog. I appreciate and cherish each and every well-wish (however undeserved, considering the doubtful reality of my issues) from those who comment, especially since they are not obliged to. That being said—I don’t beg for sympathy, only commiseration. Commiseration is balm for any pain, big or small, real or imaginary. So please, if you have even a grain of sympathy in your heart, direct it towards yourself and wallow in your self-pity. I never turn a deaf ear to other people’s medical problems. And if you must reproach me, then reproach me, for it may be the best medicine.

29 thoughts on “Test results…and a little challenge to you.

  1. Man, Jesus loves you right out of the chute! Gotta love that news. Otherwise, yeah it’s all in your head. And your metabolism. I had blood pressure that would blow a 300 pound hydraulic hose. Yet there were no blockages, nothing they could find. I fond a doc who worked at it, unlike the previous three who were willing to let me explode since their go to heart dope didn’t work. Turns out to be something adrenal and my body freaks out, even if I don’t. My blood pressure could go up crossing a busy street. Ridiculous? Probably, but factual. I tried antidepressants for about a week a long time ago. Like living underwater. No thanks. So I take a few old school drugs, some of which I doubt do anything. But the two that work are a minor Clonidine dose and an expensive beta blocker to keep my body/brain thing from hitting overdrive on its own. Crazy what your body will do. However here’s a funny thing – I never had this problem until I quite smoking pot (only because I moved and got out of the music business and didn’t know anyone who could help me out). Now that it’s legal one state over…
    Your body will fuck with you, so forget about worrying or any sort of Lone Ranger business. And find something else to do with that energy besides compound your problem. I repeat this a lot, but when I asked my doc “Now what” she said “Take your meds and live your life. Nobody gets out alive.” I took that to mean that every moment spent worrying about something was a waste of valuable, and limited time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And find a doc who will listen. Hell, find a low dose of equinil or something just enough to knock the edge off. You have anxiety, which is an andrenal disorder because something has to chemically tell your brain to hit the afterburners. You’re not ADD or a head case but you could be a narcissist if you let the hypochondriac waste your creative time. Think about that Googling for toenail pain as masturbation. “Hetty, what are doing?” “Googling toenail pain.” “Really?” “No, I’m rubbing one out but toenail pain sounds better.”

      Liked by 3 people

    2. If I had been you, I probably would have rushed out and bought a portable blood pressure monitor. I agree about the antidepressant underwater feeling. I was on a couple for what they had believed were panic attacks (seizures) and I did not care about anything. Not even the fact I gained 35 pounds. The worst was when someone very dear died and I just felt nothing. Never again. Plus the fat thing. Thank God it dropped right away when I stopped the drug. Because obviously that’s all that matters in life.

      I know rationally it’s taking away from valuable time.. But it will take effort to reprogram my brain.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Probabilities can only be applied to the general population. There’s nothing that says you won’t be THAT one who gets: struck by lightening, hit by a meteor, gets rabies, chiggers or breast cancer. I love statistics. They give broad understanding of detailed phenomena. But, they don’t address the impact of the actual effects or behavior they portray.

    Crazy bitch? We should all be crazy beeyoches, we’d get more respect, or maybe deference, and brush off more of their condemnation. “Yeah? Well fuck you!” (like Monty Python’s French Waiter skit.)

    You should try psilocybin mushrooms (or LSD). I bet you’d benefit from the alternate views they induce. (I’ve only done ‘shrooms, and I think I was already transcendental.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe it’s not the statistical thing, then. Maybe it’s more metaphysical, to which there is no real answer.

      As one of those crazy bitch women, I can say it cuts both ways. You drive most people away from you, but the ones who are willing to stay are, indeed, as you say… deferent.

      Drugs? Not me. I didn’t know what marijuana smelled like until I was 27. Given how I am now and what I’ve experienced, I want my brain to be as boring and normal as possible.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pope Francis would probably recommend that. 😂

        I’d recommend the intercession of Saint Raphael who is an Archangel of Healing.

        And also Our Lady of Guadalupe namely because the Mexican bishops are cancelling her Feast Day and festival next month so She is obviously an important patroness for our times since Francis bishops want an end to Her veneration.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ever heard of PNES? Psychosomatic non epileptic seizures. In times of anxiety, or when our brains go into “fight-or-flight” mode, our brains do crazy things. Mine was an imitation of a real seizure. When I had an EEG, I had a seizure. But there were no seizure activity. That’s when I found out that I have or had pseudo seizures. To be sure, I did have petite mal epilepsy at one time, but they go away as we get older. Maybe your case might be similar?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have read about them a bit, and I’ve wondered if it’s the case, although the doctor did not suggest it at this time. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a possibility.

      I think there’s a stigma associated with the word “pseudo” but the symptoms are quite legitimate and real. It could be hard in my case to tell because there’s no outward signs except looking bizarre and spaced out.

      My meds work for my worst attacks, so the doctor is confident those are epileptic. But there’s just these annoying little episodes that are difficult to nail down.

      Thanks for your knowledgeable comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is a stigma attached to pseudo, which is why they changed it to PNES. It does sound like you have petite mal epilepsy if you are indeed spacing out and looking bizarre as you mentioned. The same thing happened to me. I’d ask your doctor to see a bonafide neurologist. It made a heck of a difference for me.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely. LIke i said in my previous comment, it was a HUGE factor for me. I have been seizure free for…..2 and a half years now. Because knowing that my anxiety was the cause of most of it. Good luck!!

        Liked by 1 person

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