Stop Self-diagnosing Yourself on WebMD

For the love of God, go see a real doctor.

Like many, I have resorted to the internet to find out what was wrong with me and, 99% of the time, I was dying of some form of cancer. Now, I don’t have cancer (or not that I am aware of) but trying to figure out what is wrong with yourself via the internet is a rather frightening process. 

Let me explain. 

I have been suffering from pelvic pain, maybe my ovaries… anyway, something in that area was causing me great discomfort. I was on the metro one evening after work and I was thinking to myself, “ugh, my belly hurts, AGAIN, what the fuck is wrong with me?” As soon as I thought about those words I pulled my handy-dandy iPhone out of my pocket and googled “constant pain in my ovaries.” Doing this was a TERRIBLE idea. I read the causes: 

  • Adenomyosis (Can’t even pronounce the first one, off to a great start!)
  • Ectopic pregnancy (Nah, can’t be prego, NEXT!)
  • Endometriosis (Great, another big word I can’t pronounce…)
  • Menstrual cramps (Just had my period, can’t be that…)
  • Miscarriage (Well, it would be possible if I was pregnant but, I’m not)
  • Mittelschmerz (ovulation pain, oh this could be possible…)
  • Ovarian cancer (How did we go from menstrual cramps to Ovarian cancer? 0-100 REAL QUICK!)
  • Ovarian cysts (This, now this is possible. I’ll bookmark this one)
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) (Hmm, I’ll have to google this one later)

So there it was, my 9 options as to what was going on and honestly, none of them seemed reassuring, especially not number 7. So, fear began to come over me and I panic a little, looking at my options I knew something was up but didn’t know what so I began to research the symptoms for each. 

The only options that made sense were numbers 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8. Panic mode activate!

None of these options seemed interesting but after self-evaluation and thinking about my symptoms carefully, I deduced that perhaps I had an ovarian cyst or worse, cysts. This could very well be. And then, it's like a thought from the bottom of my brain came rushing to the front of the thought line, out of breath, and said, “your mother had a tumour in her uterus.” Fuck, okay, something else to worry about, is it a cyst or a tumour? I’d much rather have a cyst than a tumour… What now? 

Call mom.

Ringing, ringing, ringing… no answer. Where is she?

Try the cell phone. Ringing, ringing, “Hello?” The little-worried voice in my head quiets down for a minute. “Mom, when you had your tumour in your uterus, what did it feel like?”

My mom told me all the symptoms I was having. Could it be? Could I have a tumour festering in there? I hope not. My mom’s a Registered Nurse but she’s not a Doctor and thus, couldn’t really help me further, the only thing left to do was to call the dreaded doctor’s office and make an appointment to get check out.

This would involve being probed and poked up my va-jay-jay (extremely uncomfortable and slightly humiliating) along with a series of questions you’re never really sure what the correct answer is and then, if you’re lucky, you get an answer to your problem. If you’re unlucky like me, you have to take more tests.

Ok, let me dial the number to the office… deep breath, 1- 519… *hangs up*

I can’t do this, what if something is REALLY wrong with me. Then what do I do? Oh man, what if… what if I have ovarian cancer? How do they operate that? Do they have to go through your… I don’t want to think about it.

I sat there, phone in hand, contemplating whether or not I should make an appointment. Obviously, I should, I know this but, I didn’t want to hear the answer. I know something is not right in my pelvic area but man oh man what if it’s something serious!

I woke up a week later with the same pain, again the following day and for the rest of the month, the pain would not subside. I still hadn’t called. I figured I was tough and this pain was all in my head so, I never called to make an appointment.

However, the idea of cancer still lingered in my head. What if this pain was cancer growing inside and beginning to cause me great pain? Or, what if I was just ovulating? I would feel so silly going to waste my doctor’s time if that was the case, but, what if it really was…cancer?

I called.

Got an appointment.

Got poked and probed.

Felt uncomfortable and humiliated, pants off, in front of my “family doctor” that I see once every 4 years, a stranger basically… awkward.

And, my pain was boiled down to ovarian cysts. Nothing overly major, however, the point of the story is, I got worried I had cancer and worst of all, I procrastinated going to get check up.

If something is not right, don’t listen to WebMD, chances are, it will tell you that you have cancer when in reality you have a simple cold. (Call a real doctor!)

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Stop Self-diagnosing Yourself on WebMD