How I Balance Advocating For Myself as a Patient with Avoiding Hypochondria

(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and none of this is meant to provide medical advice. This is just my personal experience.)

I struggle with being my own patient advocate and not being a hypochondriac. I know that having OCD means that I have a tendency to catastrophize and this includes imagining worst-case possible illnesses or medical situations. I know when I’m at my most mentally ill that I can see an aneurysm instead of a migraine or some other catastrophic illness in a simple flu or cold.

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When Everything Feels Exhausting

Lately, I’ve been beyond exhausted. Fatigue, exhaustion, and tired: nothing seems to cover how worn out I actually feel. I’ve had almost all of my IV iron treatments and I still feel wrung out like an old washcloth. I know it is normal for some people not to feel better until all of the treatments are finished. But it’s hard to know that intellectually and emotionally. Emotionally I’m impatient and frustrated.

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How I’m Listening to My Body and Making Progress to Get Medical Answers

For months I’ve been dealing with what the doctor referred to as vague symptoms, fatigue, sweats, headaches, numbness, and so forth. In a puzzle working backward from the symptoms, first, my doctor’s figured out that I have consistently really high platelet counts. This could signify any number of things. To figure out what was causing it, they then continued to test and discovered I have a really low iron count.

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Waiting for a Diagnosis

This is not the first time I’ve said it and it probably won’t be the last. I am tired of being tired, especially now that I know that there is a physical reason that I feel tired and headachey all the time, but not the underlying cause. Now that I know this much, I want to know what’s causing it. I’m waiting for my specialist appointment. As anyone who’s ever had more than the flu knows, it takes a while to see a specialist and get answers to what’s going on and how to treat it. Instead, I just have to wait and wait and wait. And try not to worry at the same time.

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