Monday, December 13, 2010

I Will Not Google My Symptoms. I Will Not Google My Symptoms. I Will Not...

I was in the shower a week or so ago, doing my breast exam like a good doobie (though apparently not like a perfect doobie because I understand from several well dressed ladies that the new protocol is to do this lying down) when I felt a bump in my armpitular region. Needless to say, I immediately decided I had cancer and was going to die, possibly before the end of the weekend. I got out of the shower and went to show Rich my Bump of Death and he said "looks like a spider bite." I decided that sounded better than instant cancer, so I rolled with that. My girl Joanne also suggested it was a swollen lymph node, which was even BETTER because I'd been sick and have chronic battles with my lymph nodes, so I was like "ha ha! Obviously!" I made an appointment with my doctor to check it out anyway.

Between making the appointment and actually going to the doctor, I got all curious (and procrastinatey) and did the worst thing you can possibly do: I Googled. OH my God you guys, never ever Google "bump in armpit" or even "swollen lymph node." I know that everyone knows that using the Internet for diagnoses is a terrible idea, but I also have yet to meet the person who can resist the siren call of WebMD. All the information! Is right there! On the Internet! Oh, except pretty much none of it applies to you, and all of it is horrifying. I am particularly awesome at Googling symptoms like "cough" and "chest congestion." This is demented for two reasons. First of all, I KNOW I just have my annual flu/cold/sinus thing, and Google is not going to change that. Second of all, even if it does say I have something different, I'm going to treat it the same way I treat it every year: with tissues, TheraFlu, cough drops and my neti pot. The bump thing, however, was a whole other ball of wax. I decided I had four different kinds of cancer AND bubonic plague.

I got to the doctor the next day, and she took one look at it and said "you have a little folliculitis," (WARNING: do not Google) which is doctor-speak for "you somehow managed to screw up shaving and get bacteria in one of your pores." High five, self. The prescription was "keep it clean and dry and get better at shaving." SO SAD.

Things I learned:
  1. Never Google symptoms, no matter how curious you are or how hard you're trying to avoid writing a paper.
  2. You can be bad at shaving.
  3. I am bad at shaving.
  4. The Internet cannot be trusted.
I am passing along this wisdom to you so you can avoid the same panic. As far as the shaving thing goes, I guess the best I can do is admit that I usually shave randomly and quickly, and that's probably the issue. Don't shave like a crazy person!