Apr 27, 2011

Par.a.noia.

Okay, I have to interrupt the thirty day challenge to say something: I cannot wait to be done with pathophysiology.  My teacher is brilliant. The class is fascinating. I am stunned at how much I have learned in just one semester. But I have become the world's biggest hypochondriac.  Each week, as we move to a new organ system to learn the etiology of the associated diseases, I feel a sense of dread. I have to give myself a pep talk before we start the unit to restablish the fact that it isn't possible for me to have every single disease we study. When my mom was diagnosed, I had what I would like to think is a pretty common reaction in family members of people with cancer: a freak out. I announced that I would no longer be eating processed foods, or anything with sodium, and was going run at least eight miles every day. That lasted a few months. As my life got crazier and busier and all the other reasons (ahem, excuses, ahem) it is difficult for many Americans to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I went back to eating processed foods and quit running (although I plan to spend this summer breaking in my new asics). My paranoia, however, has been blown completely out of control. I have spent countless hours awake at night, convinced that I have (and I'm not exaggerating- I have friends who will testify): anemia, leukemia, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure AND low blood pressure, ulcers, thyroid disease, brain tumors, both types of diabetes, and every cancer under the sun. I contemplated purchasing a helmet because I felt like I may be susceptible to epilepsy. I just sent my brother a packet on prostate cancer. He's 21. The more I learn about the hundreds of things that can go wrong with each area of the body, I have become amazed that there are so many people walking around without any health problems at all. It's a real testimony builder to say the least.

Once I've taken the test over each unit, and am through with watching all the horrifying videos my teacher posts, reading about risk factors and doing all the self-diagnosis tests, I force myself  to block everything about those diseases out of my mind... so I don't think I have real hypochondria. The only thing that has really stuck with me is increased hand-washing and making sure I get my yearly check-up. Oh, and I take a million vitamins every morning.

 In case you're wondering: I really did have gout.

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