Something that is different in the past 25 or so years is the fact that when you feel unwell, you can easily do research to identify possible causes for your symptoms. There are all kinds of articles from both the perspectives of doctors and patients about the benefits and or dangers of doing such research.
I like to know what is going on to the greatest extent possible, so surfing for information has taken over from my medical encyclopedia which I bought when I moved out of my parents house where I had access to theirs. There is, if you are careful of your sources, excellent information available to explain the process of diagnoses and possible treatments which can help to prepare you for meetings with doctors etc. or provide you with answers to some of the questions you didn’t think to ask at the appointment.
If you go to credible sources, such as the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation or Canadian Cancer Society or their equivalents from your own country, you will find information, tips, and links to other reputable sources as well as support groups.
The most obvious of the curses is that there is all kinds of stuff posted by people with no medical qualifications. If I were to start with symptoms and diagnosis suggestions this would be just such a curse. Hopefully I have never seemed to be giving medical advice! These sources may give you false information, you may take the information to be true equally for all people, and they may increase your anxiety. I think most of us would agree that the last thing you need is more anxiety!
I ran into the opposite curse on my path. I have been going through perimenopause symptoms for some time and tend to look on sources about that when I have new symptoms. So, when I started to have nipple soreness and then later an area that felt thick I found all kinds of references to this in perimenopause references and just assumed that all was normal, annoying, but normal. As I continue to see changes in the breast now, I can’t help but blame myself for not going to the doctor when I first started to have issues. By late June, I had told Tom about the change and when he asked if he should be worried I said no. I might have been able to have surgery right away at that point and thus avoid chemo.
Since then I have looked for information on other topics which had a mixed result. I was interested in the idea of tattoos and so I searched images. For the most part, this was great. But amongst the pictures of beautiful tattoos there were many pictures representing the worst case scenario.
Internet research is a double edged sword and I think we need to remember that. I am trying to maintain a balance between wanting to know more and putting my faith in the sources I already have, and primarily my medical team. I have also decided not to do any Google searches after supper time from now on!