Saturday, April 30, 2011

When is it ok to panic???

Since October, I have struggled with understanding Crohn's disease. The information is overwhelming. Sometimes I think I know the appropriate amount of information to live wisely with this disease. Then I panic about a new symptom and jump on Google. All previous knowledge fails me. I know the internet is filled with nonsense, but still, I need some relief. I know it's a 50/50 coin toss. When I Google, I may see the most terrifying information pop up. OR maybe it will be no big deal - stop stressing Carly! I'd like to constantly think that it's all in my head. After all, I have been told for years that my symptoms are because I'm depressed, anxiety-driven, and just suffering from irritable bowel. How could I not wonder?

There are so many things to take into consideration when having Crohn's. The list is extensive when you look up "chronic diarrhea." Same applies to all medications. I read the side effects list and see myself having ALL of them. So here is my confusion:

1. I live with Crohn's which means: daily diarrhea (for most).
2. Symptoms for Crohn's alone can also be symptoms from medication.
3. Symptoms for Crohn's can also be similar to dehydration from chronic diarrhea.
4. Simple body malfunctions can be similar to serious complications with Crohn's.

My problem: how do you differentiate all of these symptoms? How do you know when to be concerned, or when to think you're okay?
It's no fun feeling like you're a hypochondriac. Currently I have this soreness near my left ankle. The tenderness and pain shoots up near the left portion of my chin. Now, I've had a blood clot before, so I'm aware of the feeling. I did nothing physically to pull a muscle or bruise my muscle. This is where the panic sets in quickly. Diarrhea can cause joint pain or tenderness from dehydration...check, I do have chronic diarrhea. Crohn's as a disease can cause joint pain...check, I have Crohn's! Dehydration can cause tenderness in the muscles or extreme joint/leg fatigue...check, I'm probably still dehydrated from chronic diarrhea! Crohn's disease can cause a person to be susceptible to blood clots, same with medication...check, I've had deep vein thrombosis AND I'm taking plenty of meds.
Wow, I think I've stressed myself out enough for today. This debate is enough to drive anyone crazy.

Of course the simplest thing to do is call your doctor and hope he's available for a response. I'm sure we've all experienced going into the ER or an urgent care of some sort and getting a dense doctor. Most general doctors don't specialize with the digestive system. This makes it so difficult for an IBD patient at times. It's never fun having to explain your disease to a doctor - let alone anyone!

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