What if this symptom is different?

How am I supposed to answer the question, “What causes X symptom?” The thing about the kinds of autoimmune illnesses I have is that the symptoms can vary a lot. My Hashimoto’s leads to fatigue and difficulty adjusting to temperature changes. Someone else with Hashi’s might not have those symptoms and might instead be overweight and have no eyebrows. And I have multiple illnesses like that.

Even better, some of the illnesses have overlapping symptoms. The pain could be from Hashimoto’s, Celiac, or connective tissue disease. So when the doctor asks, “What’s causing the pain?” I just shrug. Sometimes I can tell. Sometimes I can’t. So be it.

But this also means that when there’s some new symptoms, I just assume it’s because of these illnesses. I make that assumption even when I probably shouldn’t.

Blood when I poop? That’s probably the Celiac. Pain in a new place? That’s probably the connective tissue disease. Except I could be wrong.

I often have new symptoms that are strange enough or severe enough that most people would see a doctor. Sometimes it’s clear what the cause is, but sometimes it isn’t. And I don’t want to be rushing to the doctor every time. It’s tiring, it takes time, and my doctor is too likely to stop taking me seriously.

The thing is, what if it’s serious? I wonder about this sometimes. A friend had symptoms that her doctors attributed to her chronic illness. She pestered them to run more tests. It turned out to be cancer. A friend without chronic illnesses recently had severe pain out of the blue. He went to the emergency room and had all sorts of tests done. It turned out to be nothing much. It could have also been nothing important. When is it worth running the extra tests? When isn’t it?

I wonder if other people with chronic illnesses have these concerns? I’m I being to cavalier? Should I take certain symptoms more seriously? If so, which ones? And would my doctors also overlook my symptoms and automatically attribute them to my chronic illnesses?

What do you think? Do you ever wonder about this? How do you handle it? Please comment and let me know what you do.

6 Responses to What if this symptom is different?

  1. calicoghost says:

    I don’t have any good answers but I totally understand the problem. I recently found out I was severely hypothyroid, I had no idea. I have ulcerative colitis and my GI caught the thyroid problem during routine tests for the medication I’m on. Yeah, I was pretty tired, but I figured that was just because of the UC or the UC meds. I hadn’t lost all the prednisone weight I gained but I figured that was because I wasn’t very active. Yeah I had a lot of headaches, but I’ve had migraines since forever, so…yeah. When you’ve been sick for years you forget what normal feels like.

    • chronicrants says:

      Ack! I’m so glad they caught it! I hope they also tested for the autoimmune thyroid diseases like Hashimoto’s. I have hypothyroidism and it took way too long to get diagnosed. The good thing is that now you can get on the meds and hopefully you’ll feel a bit better soon. If you want any resources (blogs, books, Facebook groups, etc.) just let me know.

      • calicoghost says:

        Thanks! The first thing I did when I found out was read everything on the internet about it LOL.

      • chronicrants says:

        Excellent! Of course, not everything on the web can be trusted, but I’m guessing as someone with chronic illness, you already know that all too well 😉 I’m a fan of NDT personally. I hope you find what works best for you!

  2. crazyauntcyn says:

    I have a variety of autoimmune DX’s and tend to ignore new pains or symptoms. The only time i ignored pain that turned out to be really serious was pain that mimicked the pain i get periodically from bulging discs in my neck, which goes down my shoulder around into my rib cage. The pain went away but when my breathing started getting really bad after 3 days a friend insisted i see my dr. I wound up in an ambulance taking me to the ER. Turns out i threw 3 clots that landed in both lungs, one of which caused an infarct in the right lung. The dr’s kept asking about chest pain which i didn’t have and got a lecture about ignoring pain, which i still do most of the time.

    • chronicrants says:

      Wow, that’s scary! I’m glad you’re ok. I understand why the doctors tell us not to ignore the pain, but really, do they expect us to come in to get checked out every day?

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