My Hypochondria Is Acting Up Again

February 20, 2006 psipsina

I’ve been suffering from heartburn lately; it’s been getting a little worse, so I have been experimenting with OTC meds to see which works best.  Finally I got out the big guns and tried Prilosec.  Prilosec, however, takes several days to kick in.  It’s Day 2.  I think it’s helping, but I’m getting impatient.

I made the mistake of going to WebMD, which no hypochondriac should ever do, and looking up Heartburn.  WebMD has this nifty little feature where they ask you questions about your symptoms.  One of the questions was:

  • Do you have heartburn and a weight loss that you cannot explain? Yes/No

Cannot explain?  What does that mean?  What if I’ve been trying to lose weight, and it’s gone really slowly, and then suddenly, whoosh, it’s gone?  Is that unexplained?  What if I’ve just been eating less because everything I eat gives me heartburn?  What if I’m a little dehydrated because drinking too much water at once seems to cause a little reflux?  Is that unexplained?

So of course, I clicked on Yes.  WebMD helpfully clarified the question:

  • Have you lost more than 5 lb(2.3 kg) over the last 3 to 6 months for no reason? Yes/No

Again, I say, please define No reason.  Everything happens for a reason.  I’ve been going to the gym religiously 3 times a week and losing, like, 4 ounces a week until last week.  Should my loss of 4 lbs last week be defined as for no reason?  Would someone please answer this question for me??

So, of course, I clicked on Yes again.

WebMD helpfully informed me I have esophageal cancer.

No, I’m exaggerating.  WebMD helpfully informed me I should see a doctor, who would then diagnose me with esophageal cancer.

No, no, no!  I’m letting my imagination run away with me again.  WebMD informed me I should see a doctor.  I probably should.  I just don’t like mine very much, and finding a new one is a big project which is unlikely to result in my finding one who is any better than my current doc.

I think I’ll follow the directions on the Prilosec package, which say that relief will come in 1 to 4 days and that I should take the drug for exactly 14 days.  If things aren’t better then, I’ll call for an appointment.

WebMD also helpfully informed me that lifestyle changes can help, including this gem:  “Lose weight if you are overweight. Being overweight puts added pressure on the stomach and increases the chance of stomach acid backing up into the esophagus (reflux). Even losing a few pounds (kg) can decrease the chance of developing heartburn or reduce your symptoms.”

Jesus!  Am I supposed to lose weight or not?

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