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First Step Toward a Diagnosis - Updated: Diagnosed!

Posted Sep 26 2012 4:00am
I held off going to therapy for my mental illness for a long time. 

I had OCD for many, many years before I was ever officially diagnosed. One of the problems with OCD is that it constantly undermines what your brain tells you is logic.

So when I would say, "I should go to the doctor and get diagnosed so I can start the process of healing/dealing," my OCD would respond, "What if you go to the doctor and she tells you that you're faking it?"

One of the hardest things to deal with when you have an invisible illness is having people think that you're faking it or exaggerating. And even if people don't actually think that, YOU think that they are thinking it. Because you don't have physical proof of your pain and your symptoms.

Unfortunately I HAVE had people tell me that they don't believe me. That it's all in my head and if I just stopped being lazy/exaggerating/negative, I could be healthy and normal.

And it's one thing to have regular people - family or friends - tell me these things, but if a professional were to say that to me, I just don't think I could handle it. Which is why I've been putting off going to the doctor for months now.

I've been dealing with my self diagnosis for months now. Researching and documenting and looking for patterns. Looking for ways to cope, and when flare ups happen putting those ways to use when I need to cope, rest and recover from whatever it is that ails me. I believe it to be fibromyalgia, but it could truly be a number of other things ranging from Lupus to Chronic Fatigue to Rheumatoid Arthritis. It could even be a mixture of some.

I have a doctors appointment today with a Rheumatologist - finally. And this is the first step toward a diagnosis. A week ago I was feeling semi-okay (a rare good day) and I thought, "Oh no, what if I look like I'm fine and the doctor doesn't believe me?!" Then I spent the next four hours in a full blown panic attack which eventually triggered insomnia, which then triggered pain, which then triggered fatigue, and the cycle repeated itself all week.

I remember going to see the therapist for the first time and I said, "I'm not going to tell her anything about my OCD, in fact, I'm going to actively try to not do any of my compulsions." And I did just that. I waited for the moment when she would look at me and say, "Well I just don't see anything wrong with you," but instead she said, "So how long have you had OCD?" Blown away, I asked how she knew and she just looked at me like, "You're kidding me right? You clearly have OCD." And suddenly I was diagnosed and moving forward.

I know it's not that easy when it comes to diseases and chronic physical illnesses, but a part of me hopes that when I walk into that office today, the doctor will say, "So, how long have you had ______? Because clearly, you have it." And then I can move forward.

But I know the drill. Blood tests, X-rays, MRI's, and a number of tests, trials and hoops to jump through are ahead of me before I'll be anywhere closer to the truth.

All I can hope for today, is that someone believes.


Update: I was believed.

Rheumatologist put me through a number of tests and asked me about 101 different questions and made it official. I have fibromyalgia.

Then they took 12 viles of blood to test me for everything else because often you can have fibromyalgia AND something else like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

I should mention I have tiny veins and it takes a seasoned pro (or an uneven sidewalk) to get blood out of me. After the second stab I jokingly told the nurse that we should make a bet on how many bandages I would walk out of the hospital with. I said three.

I should have said four.

Then they gave me orange juice.

Worth it.

Love me some juice.
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