Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I'm wondering if I'm ever going to have confidence in my body again. I'm freaking out right now because my hair is falling out. It's a silly thing to be worried about: I feel fine, and if something were wrong, I'd have symptoms other than shedding. But I know that losing hair is a symptom of some autoimmune thingy, since my rheumatologist asks about it and goes through my hair looking for signs of thinning every time I go in, and I can't seem to let it go. I've never been a hypochondriac, but I find myself panicking at the smallest things, looking for signs that the other shoe is going to drop.

I wonder if maybe there's something particularly creepy about autoimmune disorders. It would be one thing if I'd had a virus or infection, if some outside entity had attacked my body. But my body attacked itself. I'm finding myself abstracting myself from my body, being angry at something that I should think of as part of me. It's sort of disconcerting to think that I am comprised of systems that I can't control, that I need to survive, and that at any moment might turn on me for no reason. It freaks me out that the thing that I fear most right now is not terrorism, not crime, not pollution or pesticides, not Bush and his minions, but my own body.

So anyway, I'm hoping that I'll get over this. It seems excessive, considering that I was never actually that sick and may never hear from the Very Rare Condition again. It would stink if I let this pretty minor episode turn me into a self-indulgent hypochondriac.

(This is Sofiya, by the way - too lazy to sign in.)

OK, for a start, you are NOT a self-indulgent hypochondriac. You have a rare medical condition with a scary treatment that you have dealt with FAR more bravely than I have ever dealt with mine. The only way I deal with my treacherous body is bursting into tears and going on three-week sulking binges. So I think the self-indulgent hypochondriac title should go to me. Secondly, being put on prednisone for months is NOT minor. It's a huge whack of steroids that do nasty things to your body, and you dealt with that extraordinarily calmly.

Furthermore, checking yourself for symptoms is actually very sensible, because it pays to look after yourself. You are doing a great job of that, so give yourself a break!!
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