Why Ignore the Symptoms?



Ignorance is bliss, supposedly, but that is not the answer. Nor is this a post about Writing. Health is today’s imperative – your health.

This is my contribution to the Survive and Thrive Bloghop! This blogfest, hosted by Stephen Tremp, Michael Di Gesu, L Diane Wolfe, and Alex J Cavanaugh, is “meant to bring awareness of disease prevention and early detection regarding medical conditions that may be averted or treated if caught in the early stages. Our desire is to motivate people to go in for early screening, and if a condition is caught early and treated, then our world just became a little better place to live.”

So why ignore your symptoms, because you are coping? They might go away – or they might get worse. I suspect that the doctor would prefer an early diagnosis than the complications of extended treatment.

Minor-seeming ailments could be the symptom of something worse. My earliest Multiple Sclerosis symptoms were subtle and could have been ignored. I went to my doctor and he diagnosed Repetitive Strain Injury, but, when the symptoms flared up again, I was sent for more extensive tests. These tests led, within three months, to the diagnosis that I had MS. I could have ignored the problems, continued driving – with extreme difficulty – and the consequences could have been far worse than early retirement, a wheelchair and a rebellious body.


I’m not suggesting that doctors will always get their diagnosis right. There have been some tragic cases of medical incompetence. I might have gained a daughter when I got re-married, but within four months of her birthday in December 2010, she had died of stage four stomach cancer. A tragedy as she was a wonderful person, but the doctor told her that the stomach cramps were just acid reflux.

That suggests that if the problem persists, you should seek a second, third, fourth opinion. Don’t ignore the symptoms because the first doctor says you have a mild cold.

Maybe there is great value in the Chinese philosophy that prevention is the best cure. Traditionally, Chinese doctors had failed when a patient fell ill. But that’s another post. Just eat healthy until then.


Chicken Soup ~ Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Chicken Soup ~ Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net




14 thoughts on “Why Ignore the Symptoms?

  1. Roland, you were lucky that your doctor persisted and sent you for further tests. My husband’s cousin’s MS was misdiagnosed for years. When you know something is wrong with your body, persist.


  2. How sad about your step-daughter. 😦 I have medical issues that took YEARS of going to doctors, insisting there was something wrong, to get diagnosed in the first place. Then years more of going to different doctors to find a good treatment. I learned a lot about how to deal with doctors from these experiences. I’m glad your diagnosis came in a timely manner.


  3. Hi Roland – how terrible about your step-daughter .. I feel for your wife .. and for your family as a whole.

    MS is so challenging .. but as you mention early detection can help that MS journey ..

    Thanks for posting both aspects … Hilary


    • Thanks for the thoughts, Hilary. My wife found it incredibly hard losing her daughter so soon after moving away from her family – still has days when it hurts a lot. Makes my MS challenge feel minor – except when I’m having spasms.


  4. Hi Roland.
    Sorry about your step-daughter…that’s really sad…especially the realisation that it could have been avoided…
    We all need to remember that routine check-ups = early detection…and I tend to be one of those ‘I-refuse-to-be-sick’ people…
    I’ve heard so much about MS…such a debilitating condition…I can’t even imagine what it must be like.
    Thanks for sharing and bringing further awareness to these subjects.


    • Thanks for your understanding comments, Michelle. MS is debilitating, but there are some more terrible conditions that people live with. In a way I am lucky. Routine check-ups can avoid so much grief. Just wish all doctors were on the ball.


  5. I’m so sorry about your stepdaughter. I can’t imagine what you and your wife have gone through. I really admire your positive attitude about MS. I hope this helps ease your burden, as much as it helps your loved ones. I’m glad Hilary sent me over. Take care of yourself, Roland!


    • Thanks Julie. My wife is very brave about the loss as every day is a reminder – and she has to cope with me. MS is a strange disease and being positive does work most of the time. But I have my moments/hours/days when I’m like a bear with a sore paw. Comments from people that care are a great boost so thank you.


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