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When 'Bad News' From the Doctor Means Testing Negative for an Illness

The doctor walked in with my file in one hand as he gently closed the door with the other and nodded to a passing nurse. He didn’t waste my time with the typical pleasantries: how are you, have you still been hurting, how’s the pain, where’s the pain, etc. He simply said, “I have good news! Or bad news, probably, for you.”

All of my tests were normal. The lupus he was so sure I had was proven negative, and everything else he tested for was ruled out.

He is the first doctor I’ve seen to understand that “good” news most certainly never means good news to me. It’s always bad news: I still have no idea why I hurt so much all the time. I have no idea what is wrong with me.

Negative tests make me look like a faker – they make me feel like a faker. I know so certainly there is something wrong with my body, but when I hear everything is “normal,” I question whether or not I actually am “normal” or if I’m just “too weak” to handle what everyone else can deal with just swell.

Doctors always say that everything is normal – everything in those particular tests they took that week. But I promise not everything is normal. Something is there, lurking inside my body and killing my spirit slowly.

He started to ask all the questions that usually come at the beginning. I told him my knees were better, but now it’s moved to my back and hips. My feet hurt sometimes, but that comes and goes with each day. He said it doesn’t sound like the typical fibromyalgia and I don’t really fit the usual characteristics, but that’s the only thing that was coming to mind.


“How do you feel about medicine?”

“I will have it! Anything that might help me, I will have it.”

“OK, I’m going to treat you as if you have fibromyalgia, and if it does help, then that’s probably what it is.”

The medicine he prescribed had to be cleared with my psychiatrist first because it could send my bipolar brain into a dangerous mania. The next day, he cleared me but gave me a backup plan, just in case.

So now, here I am, on a pill that doesn’t help – a pill that has brought yet another dose of bad news: it’s not fibromyalgia.

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Thinkstock photo via Ingram Publishing.