I am a 41 yo mother of two ...and after a few years of escalating health anxiety, I am afraid I have become a full-blown hypochondriac, pretty much in fear all the time.
Over the past years I have dealt with so many health scares and associated panic that I feel completely exhausted with fear.
These past three years have included a weird distortion of smell (Parosmia) which I got from a strong virus and which ended up in horrible worries about something with the brain; then a nail injury which my GP first suspected to be melanoma and sent me to a dermatologist right away; she was able to put my complete panic to rest very quickly, thank Heaven; then a small fibroid discovered this year, which I had to make 100% sure was not sarcoma, despite reassurance from my gyno that this is extremely rare. I couldn't help pushing for further, high-tech tests so I can know 100%; then my first mammogram which came out fine but with a few benign calcifications; so I still panic over these occasionally and I am already making plans about arranging some yearly MRI-s somehow because I can't stand the thought of adding more radiation with yearly routine mammograms; then I had one very early period this year which I freaked out over and that is when they discovered the small fibroid; this is also when a questionable doctor chose to do a Pap smear that came out inconclusive because it was done at the wrong time of the month; I freaked out again and I frantically insisted that they repeat it right away - and the test came back fine the second time, when it was done properly;... all this on a backdrop of chronic back pain that I have had since the birth of my second child 5 years ago and will simply not go away no matter what I do. I just had an MRI of the spine - and this was normal too.
My current scare is a reflux/indigestion/lump in the throat/weird sensation when swallowing ...apparently caused by a cocktail of antibiotics, prednisone and ibuprofen which I had to be on in December due to a terrible virus I caught from my kids. I normally don't take any medication.
So now I am due for a visit with a gastroengterologist so he can do an endoscopy and take the fear of "I don't even want to say it" out of my blood - because this is how deeply I feel fear of horrible illness.
Between all these, I have been in hysterics for 3 years now, though I have been having health scares since my late 20's. Now that I am officially in my 40's, the health anxiety is obviously getting worse because after 40 you become statistically "fair game" for any horrible disease.
Every time, tests are run and things turn out fine, yet I cannot help focusing on the tiny chance where whatever symptoms I am having might mean something REALLY bad.
I know I have serious issues because I have also suffered from aerophobia for over a decade and it has only gotten worse as the years went by, especially after the birth of my children. I am basically out of control with fear and panic when I am in a plane and I tense so badly that I think I probably caused my chronic back pain this way.
I never smoked, I don't drink ( never did, maybe less than half a glass of wine on very rare occasions); I do like fruits and vegetables (especially in raw salads) which I eat a lot, not out of "health duty", but simply because I love them.
On top of that, pretty much all people in my family, on both sides, have lived long lives and all seem to have iron genes.
And yet, despite all these, I live in constant fear, maybe with a few more relaxed periods between "health episodes" triggered by some kind of symptom. As soon as I get something that COULD also mean something serious (even if very rarely), I think of the worst.
The worst part is waiting for test results (MRI-s, ultra-sounds, etc) - I become a complete basket case.
Right now I am so depressed and low energy because of the upcoming endoscopy...I keep praying that 2014 will be different.
I am trying to find a way to not to get sick at all anymore, not even with the slightest illness - but with 2 kids bringing all sorts of viruses at home, it seems to be impossible.
I feel like I am wasting away good years of my life because of this constant fear of potentially bad illness....not to mention my husand is starting to be terribly frustrated with my panic attacks.
I am not even sure where a hypochondriac should begin to address this situation...I am literally at the end of my wits....and so, so tired and devitalized.
Thank you so much for listening...