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.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Ingram Publishing.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Undiagnosed

female patient talking to doctor

Learning What It Means to Self-Advocate When Doctors Won't Listen

I know my body. I know my body better than anyone else. It’s the body I have been living in for 22 years, and the body I will continue to live in for the rest of my life, whether I like it or not. I know what my body likes, what it doesn’t like and what [...]
young woman talking to a nurse

5 Awesome Things My Nurse Practitioner Did for Me Today

Surprise! I’ve acquired another illness that sparked up around six months ago. This one causes shortness of breath, chest pain, low oxygenation and a whole other bag of tricks. Since then, I’ve seen a lot of cardiologists, pulmonologists, technicians, nurses and receptionists and they have all (well, mostly all) tried hard to help me feel [...]
photo of a woman looking at herself in a mirror

A Letter to My Body Fighting an Undiagnosed Condition

Dear friend, I am so sorry about everything you are going through. I know I cannot fully understand the daily battles you are fighting and the accommodations you have to make just to get through each day. But I understand you are hurting, and every single day I spend my energy wondering how I can [...]
woman standing on a cliff overlooking the ocean

Why I Cry When My Medical Tests Come Back Negative

For the average person, the time waiting for test results might be spent worrying they could have a serious disease. I spend this time holding my breath for any diagnosis to give me the answers I have been looking for. My journey began in 2015 when I started to struggle with digestion and pain while living [...]