Tuesday, September 22, 2015

4 Reasons I Waited So Long To Get Help With New Symptoms

First some background
I've been pretty silent on social media for the past week. I've had a tough time recovering from the severe abdominal pain that landed me in the ER the other weekend. The abdominal pain, while still present, hasn't been as bad since about last Tuesday but I've had a tough time managing household tasks and an even tougher time coping with the additional symptoms. Life is complicated and challenging enough between the chronic migraines and fibromyalgia. I guess I wasn't prepared for this complication.

These new symptoms have proven to be a challenge to label. I'm seeing both a GI doc and my OB/GYN. Both docs believe my symptoms MIGHT be explainable within their specialty. I'm quite certain my endometriosis, which hasn't been a problem for many years, is definitely causing more problems now. My GYN doc and I have come up with a plan to eliminate my periods in hopes of cutting way back on the pain. Fingers crossed.

Still, I'm not convinced that the endometriosis is the cause of all the symptoms I'm having. It might be but it might not be. Seems the only prudent thing to do is continue to explore other causes with my GI doc.

Honestly, I waited far too to start seeking help and I'm paying the price for it now.

So I started asking why
I've been asking myself why I waited so long to reach out for help and why I didn't move with more urgency once I did. I think it comes down to 4 basic reasons.

  1. I'm quick to write off pain and other symptoms as part of either my fibromyalgia or chronic migraines. For several months all of my symptoms were vague and not severe enough to be considered abnormal for someone with these conditions. 
  2. I have a fair amount of doctor fatigue and fear about my symptoms not being taken seriously because of my existing chronic pain. The thought of more appointments was daunting. I'm so sick of the paperwork, waiting rooms, not being heard during appointments and having drugs pushed on me. I just didn't want to start going down that road. Plus, these appointments take up so much of my precious time and energy. 
  3. Part of me just didn't want to face more medical issues. I've been dealing with the chronic migraines and fibromyalgia for many years. I know how to do it. Adding an additional condition or two that requires constant attention is going to be very difficult. Doable but difficult. I feel like I'm losing even more of myself.
  4. Since the early years of my chronic life, I've worried that I wouldn't know if something was seriously wrong with me beyond my fibromyalgia and chronic migraines because I have so much wide-spread pain and other symptoms. I was afraid I would either turn into a hypochondriac, running to the doctor with worry every time my symptoms would shift, or I wouldn't take my symptoms seriously enough because I'm just always dealing with pain and other symptoms and then things would get out of hand. Fearing becoming a hypochondriac I guess I swung to the side of overlooking my symptoms. 
I don't know how to strike a balance between giving new or changing symptoms attention and giving them too much attention. I want to learn from this unfortunate incident but I'm not entirely sure that I know how to correct myself.

The only idea I've had is to keep more records. Perhaps if I tracked all my symptoms, all the time I could better identify patterns that are changing and patterns that are new or different. The down side - doing so would eat up some precious time and energy. Plus, it would require me to spend more time focused on my symptoms when I want to focus more on normal life stuff in order to feel more normal.

1 comment:

  1. All of this resonates with me. I wish I knew the way to balance new or changing symptoms, as well.