OK...so here's a list of all the things I thought I was afflicted with over the last five-ish years (and why) and all of the pretty minor things I've been told I have instead (well, except for the MAJOR anxiety!)
HIV (We've been through this one. But I took three tests up to EIGHTEEN months past my first worry. Three negative tests. The last nurse actually told me she'd better not see me back again)
Some sort of autoimmune disease - symptoms: widespread muscle pain for more than a month, fatigue, insomnia ( I insisted on seeing the doctor for this one and insisted on blood work for Lyme Disease -which I actually did have briefly as a child, Rheumatoid Arthritis, a complete blood count, etc. - all normal)
ALS (Lou Gehrig's) - The way this one came about is ridiculous, looking back, but it has reappeared a major fear approximately four times (including now!)
Background: I tried out for a game show, yes despite my anxiousness and shyness I was able to take this chance, and I made it! I was at home being quizzed on trivia questions by my mom when we came across a question about Gehrig. I asked what disease he had, again and decided to look it up, and look it up and look it up. Suddenly the "dents" in my wrists, how often my legs fell asleep, etc had become "signs". Because of a trivia card!!!! (This one went away on its own for a while and returned when - on separate occasions, I noticed that my right foot rolled in when I walked, that I couldn't balance on my toes on one side, that my knees sometimes felt like they locked up, that my toes twitched and - more recently - that my tongue twitched when I stuck it out, that my tongue sometimes felt heavy and words seemed hard to pronounce -happening right now - and that the muscles behind my toes on one side were less developed than on the other) Yeah, this one's a bad one.
Esophageal (and/or stomach) cancer - This one came after I read in an article we produced that people with GERD long-term were more likely to develeop EC. Well, candidly, I had struggled with some form of bulimia for a couple of years in college so I thought that must be WORSE. Then, the heartburn came after every meal. Then the pains in my upper left quadrant (medical web terminologies have become an integral part of my vocabulary haha). I was FREAKED and actually visited a gastroenterologist for this one. Also had a lump in the throat sensation during this time that returned during other high-anxiety periods.
Brain tumor - I'm pretty sure every single person that suffers with health anxiety has thought about this one (probably more than once). A friend of mine who deals with it has several times. My symptoms: headaches pretty constantly, sharp pains in temple (when I didn't eat or had too much caffeine...hmmm), occasional dizziness, fatigue, eye floaters (yeah - you know what those are? little spots that float in front of your eyes when you look at the sky or a white wall), nausea, a drooping eyelid (so I detected), and I'm sure there was more. This one got me two or three times.
Eventual tests: CT scan - clear; spine and brain MRI -clear
Pancreatic cancer - this one was big in the news, a coworker of mine lost his poor dad to this and it was on my mind. Suddenly I was getting major fatigue after eating and I thought it was a sign of my pancreas failing. I also thought the bottoms of my eyes looked yellow.
Carcinoid syndrome (yeah you probably never even heard of this one). It's a type of tumor in your intestinal tract that, if it causes the syndrome, is often bad news. My cheeks were getting red and warm after eating - I thought I was done for.
Skin cancer - I've had several tiny moles removed that I thought looked "suspicious" - all fine. I have had some bad sunburns in my life though so I guess this isn't a terrible one to be diligent about.
A heart attack or some heart problem - Sharp pains in chest, fast heartbeat, trouble taking deep breaths.
Tests: EKG, chest x-ray, blood tests for pulmonary embolism
Ovarian cancer - crampiness in the abdomen.
Adult-onset cystic fibrosis (Of course I didn't know this existed until I found it online and OF COURSE it's very rare - but it was a combo of several things - my aunt tested positive as a CF carrier when she was pregnant, I felt like my breathing was shallow and "catching" and -after my internet research - I decided my sweat was too salty)
Tests: stethoscope listening, chest X-ray
Scleroderma - symptoms: freezing cold hands, pale fingers, purplish nails ( a nurse practitioner told me I might have Raynaud's one time which I researched and found could be a symptom of scleroderma, also thought skin on fingers was tight and noticed tiny broken blood vessels on face)
Tests: bloodwork for ANA - came back negative
I'm sure there are more - I just can't think of anything else at the moment. The sheer amount of diseases is mind-boggling, no? I should've been dead several times over by now, right? To someone with a "normal" rationality, this would seem unbelievable and exaggerated but I can assure you they were all very real to me.
Minor things I have been diagnosed with:
-Chronic muscle tension in the neck and upper back (seeing a chiropractor-helping!)
-Jaw clenching (not true TMJ)
-GERD (Acid reflux - treated with Nexium)
-Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction and fallen arches - accounts for my foot issue, might be due to extra bones the podiatrist discovered in my feet (what?) - can be treated by wearing orthotic inserts - waiting to have them re-fitted
-A pulled/strained muscle in the chest (my "heart attack" - treated with ibuprofen and rest)
-This weird thing where my cheeks turn pink and warm from the action of chewing (straaaaange)
-A deviated septum
-Mild IBS (often stress-related)
-ANXIETY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Likely the root of SO MANY of my "symptoms")