Monday, April 6, 2015

Inside the mind of a hypochondriac...

When I was fourteen, I started experiencing sharp pains in my stomach. Little did I know, that pain would change my life as I would not be diagnosed for another two years.

For a year, I'd get the pains, and the time between them would be closer and closer. All my doctor said was to record when they would happen.
I still remember the routine in which they came. I would eat dinner, around 4 in the afternoon, and I would have a night time snack so I could go to bed around ten or so. That's the routine I had growing up, eat when you get home, eat before you go to sleep. The snacks at night would usually be milk, coffee (it made me tired instead of energetic), and cookies or bread to dip in our drinks.
Dinner was whatever my mom made, which was Mexican food, since we were Mexican.
So I'd go to bed, and I would wake up in a night sweat, and in severe pain, right where my sternum ends. Every night like clockwork. It was get pain, stay awake for a few hours holding myself, trying not to cry, and then forcing myself to go to the bathroom and puke. Then I'd cry myself to sleep, the pain would cease then.

The doctor looked at my notes, and just wrote it off as heartburn. They gave me some heartburn medicine that did nothing. I went back after a month, like she said, and she accused me of not giving the medicine a chance.

Take in mind that I was fourteen, this pain was a stabbing pain, when I had it, I could not move if I tried. I may not have been a doctor, but I'm sure heartburn doesn't make you want to die. It sounds drastic, but that's how I felt. I begged God, or whoever was listening, to take my life because it hurt so bad and it was so constant. I get sad thinking about it now, but it's true.

The doctor would give me medicine, tell me to lose weight, tell me to suck it up, recommended I avoid certain foods. I took the medicine, I avoided all foods, water gave me pain as well, I was losing weight quickly because I wasn't eating.

If I did eat, I would sit in a chair, straight up, for hours. I wouldn't move. I wouldn't sleep until it had been at least four hours since my last meal. That helped. Sort of.

Finally, my doctor referred me to a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in the gut or whatever. She scheduled me for a endoscopy soon after I finished my freshman year of high school, and by then I was taking antacids by the handful, ibuprofen, Maalox, and Tums were my best friends at night.

After the endoscopy, they told me they saw a little inflammation, but nothing to be worried about. The surgery triggered something inside of me, and I felt okay. I felt amazing. I was still afraid to eat or even nibble on food, but the pain stopped.

But as I went back into my old routine, the pain came back in a few months. It felt almost worst. I would crawl in a fetal position, I would be falling asleep in classes or at home on a chair. I started losing more weight, I couldn't wear tight clothes, it triggered it. Everything irritated my stomach, exercise, food, and even the medicine I was taking.

By this time, the ER had seen me so many times in a month. I could tell they were sick of me. They kept telling me I had GERD, also known as heartburn. Nothing was working, I would cry at the hospital, I felt like no one believed me, at one point they thought I was pregnant, another time, I had a full blown panic attack, I couldn't sit still, I couldn't breathe, and they did an EKG cause they thought I could be having a heart attack.

The doctors weren't helping, so I looked on the internet. That's when I guess I started to become a hypochondriac, I couldn't take it not knowing what I had. I started thinking I had cancer or appendicitis or liver failure, I definitely thought I had pancreatic cancer, I even started making plans for when I died.

It was scary, and one day after school, the second week of school during my junior year, I had some Mexican food because my stomach was starving, I had had pain all week at night, but I was just really hungry.

It was about an hour later when I started to feel the familiar pain. I had this chair that I could curl up and sleep on, and on my table I had ibuprofen, I was up to eight a night, Maalox and the tums, oh and a big bottle of water.

I kept passing out from weakness, two hours after I ate, I threw up everything. Even though that usually helped, it didn't that time.

It was six in the morning, after a restless night of passing out from the pain and weakness and hunger, I stopped my dad before he could go to work. I had to go to the hospital. I had never had the pain last over three hours, and now I was going on thirteen hours.

The ER was empty, took them five minutes before they called my name. My blood pressure was low, I was pale, and cold.

As soon as I had an ultrasound to see if I had appendicitis or gallstones, they gave me the great stuff. Morphine. The pain was numb, and I slept for an hour before they told me I had gallstones and I needed my gallbladder taken out some time in the near future. That it could wait until I had a break in school.

Then they kicked me out and sent me home, with another prescription for heartburn. TO HELP they said.

I made it home, and an hour later, I couldn't take it. The pain had come back, but my dad had gone to work and my mom didn't drive, so I had to wait for him to get back around four o'clock. The pain was so bad, I almost called 911, but I forced myself to wait.

And when we got to the emergency room, it was packed. It was four hours before they took me in. I was shaking severely, and crying for those four hours, begging for them to take me in, but all they did was give me a blanket.

Finally around eight, I was taken into a room, where they told me I would be having surgery later that week. I got my gallbladder taken out two days after that, and according to the doctor and the pictures, they were the size of golfballs. My laparoscopic surgery ended up with me having to be opened, and I cried after, and not because of the pain.

I felt that my doctors had failed me, and wrote me off. They could have caught it earlier, and now I can't trust them.

I avoid doctors at all costs. It's been a while since I've been to one, and to be honest, I'd rather google a symptom than go to their office.

After my surgery, I started to Google every symptom whenever I had any. Whether it was a simple cold or I sneezed weird.

My two year illness took such a severe toll on me. I tear up whenever i think about it. It's sad.

My parents always write me off whenever I feel sick. They think it's all in my head, and it is. I know that it is.

When I get a headache, or a migraine, I start thinking I have a brain tumor. If I find a new freckle on my body, I think I have skin cancer. If my stomach is upset, I obsess over what I ate. Sometimes I think I'm having a heart attack when I have a panic attack over my breathing.

I know that I over think of what I can have. Right now, I think I have cancer, but I'm too afraid to go to the doctor for fear that they won't believe me. I have to talk myself down because living in fear is not fun.

I lay awake at night feeling my chest for bumps in case of breast cancer, and I cry. I'm afraid of accidentally looking over a symptom. I google every health related way I could die at the age of 19.

It's hard. People make fun of me when I get frazzled talking about my health, they think it's funny that I think I'm going to die because of a spot or a headache. It's terrifying to think that I'm going to die.

I wasn't like this before my health scare. Through therapy I've noted that I have OCD tendencies, and that made me susceptible to hypochondria. There are articles about this, maybe I have it, maybe I don't. Hypochondria is hard to have because it's hard to believe yourself.

I don't know...
I just felt like I had to write this post. Maybe it will help some of you. Maybe it won't. Let me know in the comments, or shoot me a message. I'll gladly respond.