I suffered from terrible anxiety when I was younger and had a few bouts with hypochondria (getting a endoscopy and head MRI for stomach and brain cancers) but I got put on some meds (paroxtine) and eventually got over it 90% and lived a good few years off the meds without worry, even got married.
But a few weeks ago my wife gave birth to my daughter and sustained many internal tears while delivering. She started to bleed pretty bad and a team of doctors rushed in the delivery room and shuffled me to the corner with my new bub and I could hear them talking about how they needed to get to theater but it was full and various other things while I could see streams of blood rushing out of her.
In those few moments the idea that my wife would die and I would be left alone to raise this child shocked me more than anything else in the world ever has. She was eventually all right but about 2 weeks later at home she started to bleed heavily again and we rushed to hospital. The doctor told me they were going to check for pieces of the placenta still in the uterus which I foolishly looked up on Google and found the term secondary postpartum hemorrhage sprinkled in a few articles that contained the words 'high mortality rate.' They kept her overnight on antibiotics before they did an ultra sound and all I could think of at home alone was that she could bleed out while we were separated. Again death was at my door and I don't think I slept that night.
Good news is that she was eventually fine and the baby has been strong and healthy all the way.
But the experience had a strange effect on me, even though I had this beautiful new baby all I could think of was sad nostalgic thoughts, like all the good times from my child hood were over and there was no getting those feelings back. Then I started to notice that I felt sick and had the odd stomach pain every now and again. I started to google symptoms and came to bowel cancer, looking through the other tell tale signs of this disease I found changed bowel movements and suddenly all I could think about was that my stool had been rather sloppy for a good while. That was it, I had bowel cancer and I was going to die without seeing my little girl grow up.
The thought of having cancer consumed me, I started to think about it constantly and started to Google symptoms over and over. My anxiety grew and I found I couldn't sleep well and lost all my appetite, this made my sicker and started to reinforce my belief I was dieing. After a few days of not eating I step on the scales and find I've lost 5 kilos, rapid weight loss is again another cancer sign.
I was meant to have my gallbladder removed so I had a pre admission appointment and some blood taken, my nerves were still on edge when I got a phone call from the hospital letting me know I had to come in because one of my blood tests was abnormal. Of course it was, I had cancer after all. The abnormality was in my blood clotting, a value off by 1 point that probably would be ignored if not for the fact they have to be ultra careful in surgeries. Of course I googled what would cause clotting problems and landed on liver problems including liver cancer. Liver cancer is fairly rare but it is one of the most common places cancer spreads to. Great, my bowel cancer has already spread to my liver. All of the sudden I can feel discomfort in the area my liver is. My surgery was later postponed a month (nothing to do with my clotting) so I'm still waiting for that.
To make matters worse I notice I needed to pee frequently and sometimes it looks rather dark. One morning I woke up and went to the bathroom and notice there seems to be some dark sediment in the stream, I could see it very distinctly from the urine sitting in the toilet bowel. Of course, Google to the rescue and dark urine is a sign of liver failure. I could now feel a a constant sensation under my right side rib. I know that if cancer has spread to the liver then the chances of surviving are getting much, much slimmer. Constantly I push and pull the area hoping to somehow convince myself its just a muscle twinge.
I finally see a doctor who I lay all my experiences and concerns out to. He feels my stomach and says he can't feel any masses or swelling. He feels my liver area and says that its not inflamed and there is no tenderness in the area. He tells me that since I can remember having loose stool for a while (maybe 3 years) and if it was a sign on later stage bowel cancer and had spread to my liver then I probably would be a lot sicker than I was (and certainly on the lighter side). He says that when the symptoms read stomach pains they mean mind bending pain that wont go away, not just the occasional discomfort. He brings up an ultra sound of my abdomen I had about a year ago and says that all my organs looks fine except the liver having fat deposits. He brings up some blood work I had very recently that has all my liver and other organ functions as normal. But every terribly sick person shows healthy results at some stage before their illness, so the doctor organises a urine test, a Faecal Occult Blood Test, another abdominal ultra sound and some new bloods. Luckily this doctor understand what the mental illness will do and is being thorough for my benefit.
I am currently waiting to get the results of the tests to see why I now always feel thirsty and feel a need to pee often even though there isn't much urine there and it always seems a dark yellow (luckily I have come to realise how deadly Dr Google is so have not searched those things) and if any of these things have merit or is all in my head. I have a bunch of pain around the area my liver is but I'm not sure if its from constantly rubbing my muscles and rib cage to see if I can feel anything.
I ended up telling my wife of my health concerns as she noticed how sad I seemed. She understood and reassured me that everything was OK and for a while I felt better before the worries returned. I find myself daily telling her about my old and new health concerns and how the constant worry was starting to drive me insane. She read up on what hypochondria was and has been understanding and helps me bare the burden.
So that is my story, I originally was just going to say a quick hello so I could access the chat app but it seems to have gotten away from me.