Monday, April 11, 2011

Learned and relearned

Sometimes it takes learning something again and again and again. Let's hope the lesson sinks in this time.

About two weeks ago I noticed that my left outer thigh felt numb while also producing occasional pain. Of course, the first thing I did was jump to some wild conclusions. Since the area was approximately where my cell phone rests against when in my pocket, the obvious answer was that the radiation from the phone had deadened this part of my leg and possibly made it cancerous. I wish I was joking, but seriously, that was the first thing that crossed my mind.

I stopped carrying the phone in my pants pocket to see if a little time without it there would make a difference. It didn't. The problems persisted. Hmm.

Naturally, the obvious thing to do is jump to a conclusion that may be even more outrageous. This must be the first sign of ALS. Never mind that I don't really know much about it. My maternal grandfather died from it--not that I knew him or ever witnessed the effects of the disease--so clearly I must have inherited it.

In my feeble defense, I can't say that I dwelled on these ridiculous assumptions, but not knowing what was wrong and not doing much about it let me worry like a champion. I tried applying Sportscreme and taking a week off from exercising. Neither seemed to have any appreciable effect.

At the very least I could have looked up the symptoms to get some possible answers. Or I could have gone to the doctor. But no, let's worry about this and make myself miserable. Obviously that's the best solution.

I ended up plugging information into Google and finding what seemed like a reasonable diagnosis. Granted, the first place I think I found this was in an old discussion forum with people who had given some worst case scenario answers to those inquiring about their symptoms. I poked around a little more looking for info about this condition and decided that this is probably what I'm experiencing. That in and of itself let me ease up on the worrying.

I called the doctor's office this morning and surprisingly was able to get in today. The doctor agreed that my self-diagnosis sounded correct, handed me some anti-inflammatory medication, and told me to let him know if I don't notice any improvement in a few weeks. (It could still be a pinched/compressed nerve. It just might need to be treated with something else.)

The lesson, again, is that when it comes to medical concerns, it's better to address them head on. Concocting wild ideas about what might be wrong isn't productive. If anything, they make me feel less like checking with a doctor. What if the doctor confirms my worst fears? What if it's expensive? The question that's not going through my mind often enough--but should be-- is what if you're not helping yourself in any way by handing the issue in such a manner? (I should mention that I've not had any impairment or loss of function, which was the main consoling factor in all this.)

I worked out tonight and didn't notice any issues. I then went to see The Mountain Goats in concert, which required being on my feet for three hours straight. That was probably not the best decision--I was feeling the pain early on--but hey, I bought the ticket awhile back. As if not going was an option.

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