Monday, 16 July 2012


 (sorry, had to put the title here ^  because my post title isn't appearing for some reason)

A number of people handle their health problems differently and there are often external factors that weigh on us when we make the decision to see a doctor.  I have been reticent in the past to visit the doctors office for a number of reasons.

 First off, I grew up in a family where my mother impressed upon her children that you didn't visit the doctor willy-nilly.  She certainly didn't raise any hypochondriacs.  It's not that we were ever scolded for complaining about an illness or injury, or simply told to "tough it out".  My parents were good about taking us for our regular checkups, but generally speaking when we visited the doctors for something other than the yearly check-up, we were genuinely sick or hurt. 

The second event that really effected my decisions on seeing a doctor these past 10-12 years happened during my senior year of college.  I had an event where I thought I had had a heart attack.  I experienced an incident one night where my heart was racing and there were shooting pains up the left side of my arm.  I also had the sense or feeling that I was about to pass out, even though I did not.  I was athletic, active and in peak physical condition at the time and ran 6-7 miles almost daily, so I was very perplexed.  I went to see the doctors and had a heart monitor placed on me.  Everything checked out fine with my health, but I continued to have shooting pains, muscle spasms and heart palpatations on and off for the next three to four years.  I saw several doctors and never got a proper diagnosis, even when I came to suspect that what I had suffered was a herniated disk.  Especially after experiencing certain nights where my neck was in excruiting pain.  Tomorrow is the 23 year anniversary of when I was hit by a car (or in Australia where Carlyn lives it would be today).  The neck pain that I felt when I would have my incidents was 10 times worse then the pain I felt when I was hit by the car and broke my leg at 13 years old.  My neck pain would literally have me in tears.  Whenever I suggested to my doctors that I might have a herniated disk, nothing was ever done to check and see if that was in fact the problem.  It was often dismissed when I described my symptoms.  Maybe I didn't describe my symptoms well, but what ever the case I was extremely disheartened.  Not only that, but at the time I was graduating college and it was before I had a job so I could not really afford medical care.  I felt a great deal of additional stress from the medical bills. 

The combination of my perceptions of when you should see a doctor along with the frustrations of having an in properly diagnosed health issue (which eventually went away other than some small incidents after about 4 and a half years) and the medical bills I had piling up really gave me a negative view of going to the doctor's office. 

I've had some health issues over the course of the last 10-12 years, and inspite paying for health insurance for most of that time, other than a routine physical I got 4 years I had not so much as visited the local health office over that period.  I had a jaded view of the medical profession and any time I would consider seeing the doctor it would bring on additional anxieties.... like "what if they can't figure out what's wrong?" and "can I afford to throw away money on my co-pay for no resolution?"

These last 5 months I have had some issues with pains in my legs and I know that my father and grand father both had poor circulation in their legs and issues with blood clots in the past.
I have been worried about the consistant pain I have felt, even though it is not extreme pain by any means.  Finally I made the decision to see a doctor again.  It's a bit of a leap of faith for me, and perhaps I do not get a definitive answer, but I just wanted to tell everyone who may have similar fears that I have had over the years that I think if you are worried about your health in any way, shape or form that you should get it checked.  I know from personal experience that it does not guarentee peace of mind.  And yet, even if I do not have any major problem ( I DID get checked today and the doctor does not think I have blood clots, diabetes, gout or anything I postulated on) at least there is a CHANCE I might get peace of mind, something I have no chance at if the issues continue without me getting it checked.  Tomorrow I will be going to get an ultra-sound on my left leg to make sure that I do not have any blood clots, and if I in fact do, then at least I will be able to treat the problem now.  If I do not have blood clots than I will have the peace of mind that I am not suffering from something that can be instantly dangerous and at least I would have affectively ruled something out.  At that point it would be up to me to decide if I needed to do anything else to pursue discovering the source of these pains.

No matter what.  As one of my goals this year was to lose 50 pounds ( I have essentially only lost about 5 thus far) I know that there is a lot more I can do towards that goal that could definitely help the condition and comfort of my legs.   This is something I am going to focus on the second half of this year no matter what the diagnosis.  I simply wish to encourage others who have had similar concerns or issues with trust when it comes to the medical profession to get it checked out.  Your physical health is one of the most important apects of your life and effects so much more than just your physical condition.  Mentally and emotionally you shoulder a burden when you do not feel right physically.  So wish me luck and I wish the same to any and all of you who are either suffereing with a physical ailment or have concerns about your health that you may be reticent to get checked. 

- Jon Bear =) *hugs* (sorry for such a long post)


  1. Well Jon, I had no idea you experienced such distressing medical problems. It is very frustrating to go about undiagnosed. It reminds me when parents have something wrong with their children, they know something is wrong yet they keep getting different answers and the relief they get when they finally know what is wrong.

  2. Yes I imagine that must even be more frustrating as a parent because there is nothing you wish for more than for your children to be happy and healthy. Turns out that I did not have any blood clots, which is good news. I will concentrate on losing weight and hope that I notice a difference with the comfort of my legs. - Jon

  3. Loving your story! Inspirational I should say!

    anyway, just found your blog and never stop writing! believe in yourself you gonna be a big writer in the future!


  4. Thank you Gilbert. I appreciate the compliment! This blog continues to be a learning experience for myself and Carlyn as we move along with it. It has been a lot of fun and hopefully we are able to inspire others as we have been inspired by reading the many blogs we (mostly Carlyn) have discovered. =)


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