Everything Is Killing You: Hey, What If They Never Figure Out What’s Wrong With Me?

Everything Is Killing You” is an ongoing series on things I think you should be worried about.

Is it possible to go see a million doctors and just never get a diagnosis? Just kidding. I already know that it’s totally possible, because it’s happened to about eleven of my friends. Most of them seem to have fibromyalgia now, so maybe that’s what’s next. Something to look forward to!

Anyway, I saw the eye doctor and the sports medicine doctor, and in a few weeks, I’ll see the rheumatologist, and it’s all very exciting, but I wonder if we’re necessarily getting anywhere. I mean, everyone has been super nice, and I have these turbo anti-inflammatories, but no one is willing or able to say what’s wrong with me specifically. This is a problem for me, because I love a diagnosis like Cathy loves chocolate.

The last doctor I saw, the sports medicine doctor, felt my spine and had me touch my toes, stand on the balls of my feet, and bend to each side, to see where it hurt. She asked about my sed rate, which my GP ordered, and which indicates inflammation in the body, apparently. It was normal, and my range of motion was good, so she was happy.

“Does this mean I don’t have ankylosing spondylitis?” I asked her.

“Well, it certainly means that you’re not having an issue with inflammation,” she said. Which was accurate, but not as definitive as I would have liked. Damn doctors and their desire not to be trapped in lies.

She ordered an X-ray, and gave me a prescription for the aforementioned anti-inflammatories, and told me to look at a YouTube video of a 94-year-old woman who does yoga.

“You’re a very healthy young woman,” she said kindly. I appreciated the “young,” although I was somewhat chagrined to discover that she’d figured out how nervous I was about the appointment.

“What gave it away?” I asked my husband, after we left the office. “Was it that I made you come in with me? Or was it the sweating?”

“You weren’t so sweaty,” he said, loyally. “I can’t believe how low your blood pressure was while you were so stressed out.”

“It’s usually about 110 over 70, no matter what. Stressed-out is my natural state.”

Later, it occurred to me that even after the rheumatologist appointment, we might never know what happened to my back and hip. Which is obviously better than finding out and having it be something awful, but it does make me feel, oh, a little dumb.

The thing is, if we don’t find out what’s going on, it means one of two things: 1) whatever’s wrong with me is a mystery, which means it’s totally beyond my control and that of my doctors, or 2) whatever’s wrong with me is all in my head, which means that I am officially totally bonkers.

In the meantime, I know that I’m doing the responsible thing by seeing all these doctors, but I’m not sure it’s good for my mental state, super-low blood pressure or no. It’s basically an opportunity to get really worried once a week.

Apparently, this guy had AS. Also, the best name ever.
Apparently, this guy had AS. Also, the best name ever.

Image: Wikipedia

Published by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

I'm a freelance writer and editor.

3 thoughts on “Everything Is Killing You: Hey, What If They Never Figure Out What’s Wrong With Me?

  1. Well, I can’t decide if I should hope they discover what is wrong or that they should discover it’s all in your head. So… whichever blessing you’d like more, go with that. 🙂

    I can totally relate to what you’re talking about re: whether it’s “real” or “in your head.” I’m seeing a doctor right now to see if he can explain some “mysterious” symptoms that no one else has. (I might add here that my psychologist suggested I see a medical doc, as she doesn’t think it’s only in my head… or at least it may not be.)

    And while I was speaking to the doc, he pretty much said they will run these tests, and see what they say, but “you should remain open to the possibility that this is a mind-body issue… I don’t want to open a can of worms, but the mind has a powerful influence on the body.” I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to pass out from anxiety or punch him in the face at that moment.

    Sadly (or fortunately?), most of my tests have come back normal, but there are more being run. We’ll see!

    Rachel, your fellow not-just-sick-in-body-but-also-in-mind friend 😉

  2. I’m totally open to the mind-body thing, as well, but then I also think about all those people with celiac disease who were told that they were just nervous, etc., and I get wary. Anyway, I hope you feel better soon!

    1. Thanks! Me too!

      Funny you mention celiac because one of the tests he’s doing is for gluten intolerance. So I have these imaginations of him saying I can never, ever have gluten again, and I panic over not being allowed to eat real bread or cookies… and then I have another imagination where he says everything is fine and I’m just crazy… and I decide not to eat gluten anyway ever again. Just in case.

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