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Author Topic: You don't have MS or a brain tumor  (Read 371 times)

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Offline Slangevar

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You don't have MS or a brain tumor
« on: February 23, 2014, 01:39:44 AM »
For over a decade, I was fairly sure I was on my way to coming down with MS or a brain tumor thanks to a variety of weird symptoms that would come and go (e.g. optic neuritis, numb patches, clumsiness, tingling/buzzing feet, pain in one foot, scattered thinking, dizziness, nausea, lightheadedness, forgetfulness, weird headaches, an ocular migraine, etc.).

Cut to the other day... I had to get an MRI for a neck issue (it seems to be fine) and they wound up scanning my entire head. You guessed it... no evidence of MS or brain tumors.

Just wanted to put that out there for anyone who might be worried about their symptoms. Anxiety is a powerful thing... it can cause all sorts of very real, but ultimately benign symptoms.

Btw - I've been off the forum for months now thanks to regular exercise and a few new cognitive tricks (see below). I just wanted to pass this along to anyone who's concerned.

Cognitive tricks:
1) When a symptom pops up, force yourself to come up with three benign causes of the symptoms. (I go so far as to research the benign causes on Google - they're as easy to find as "cancer.") 

2) If the symptom still worries you, make a note on your calendar to call the doctor in 2 weeks. Most symptoms disappear within 2 weeks, so you just disregard the note.

3) Make a good To Do list. Every time you start to feel panicky and want to go online, look at the list and force yourself to finish one thing first. Generally the anxiety gets lost in the action.

4) (This is going to sound weird, but) assume the worst - you're going to die - and make a bucket list. Then start actually DOING the things on the list. That was a big turning point for me. It's surprising how much relief you feel when you think, "Right... if it's going to happen, let's go out with a bang."

5) Exercise, spend time with friends and family, stop using the Internet and force yourself to smile at everyone you pass.
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Offline anagargano

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Re: You don't have MS or a brain tumor
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2014, 01:49:38 AM »
great post thnx
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Offline greend

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Re: You don't have MS or a brain tumor
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2014, 09:48:58 AM »
Nice Slangevar!
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Offline reece

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Re: You don't have MS or a brain tumor
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2014, 10:01:38 AM »
i think this deserves a sticky post.
those are great coping skills.
i love the bucket list idea. 

once, (here at crazytown..lol)there was a wasp in my kitchen. i had just made a sandwich which was on the counter.  i moved the sandwich, covered it with a paper towel, then sprayed the wasp with bug spray.  he died. i cleaned him up and then washed my hands. got my sandwich and sat down to eat.  i took a bite then got panicked. what if some of the bug spray got on my sandwich? i told myself, NO, you moved it and covered it for this very reason. it's fine to eat it.  so, i took a few more bites. i ate more than half before my mind just ran away with me. i spent the next 2 hours worried because i had probably eaten poison.  so, after a couple of hours, i thought screw that. Maybe i am going to die from bug spray, but if i am, do i really want to spend my last few hours worrying about it? or do i want to enjoy my son and go do something fun!  it worked. so, that bucket list thing is the same idea.
why are we spending what time we have left worrying about something we can do very little about?  it would be heaven to think this way all the time.

thanks slang for this post. very very helpful. one of the best posts i've ever seen on this forum. keep 'em comin'
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Offline Slangevar

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Re: You don't have MS or a brain tumor
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2014, 08:01:14 PM »
What a great story about your sandwich, Reece.  Exactly... if we had to face bad news, our actual reaction (after the initial panic) would be all about enjoying the time we have left. So we should do it! 
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Offline Hypo84

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Re: You don't have MS or a brain tumor
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2014, 08:19:18 PM »
Great post!

I would like to propose little different type of searching for 3 benign things. Instead of just Googling your symptoms which can bring all sort of deadly diseases on first page, add word anxiety to your search, i.e. Nausea and bloating anxiety, or tingling feet anxiety, or lump on neck anxiety. This type of search will bring anxiety related sites on first page where people are suggesting more realistic reasons for your problems. Also, even better would be not to use Google at all but to use search button on this forum. Just type tingling, lump, nausea...whatever...and you will find many topics where ppl had similar symptoms to yours, and you will see what it actually was the problem in their case. Most often it was something benign of course.
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Offline greend

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Re: You don't have MS or a brain tumor
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2014, 08:24:47 PM »
I agree with Hypo84.  Googling always brings up the nastiest causes for symptoms.  I thinking HA people, including myself should stay clear of googling symptoms.
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Offline aec711

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Re: You don't have MS or a brain tumor
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2014, 08:24:58 PM »
Just had a terrible panic attack while giving my kids a bath - those things are sneaky - always at the worst times lol.  And of course I get them to bed and come on here as it can help me calm down.  And then I see this post and immediately felt better.  Thank you so much!!! 
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Offline Slangevar

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Re: You don't have MS or a brain tumor
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2014, 04:35:25 PM »
Interesting twist, Hypo84!  I'll have to try that, too.

greend - You're right in that "Benign Googling" is best for people who have a reasonable knowledge of health issues so you know which benign conditions to look for and how to look for them. For example, pre-MRI when I would get a numb patch, I would search for "pinched nerve symptoms" and I could always find my symptoms. Then the trick is to leave it at that. :-)
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