Test Results

I think sometimes people think that getting test results back as anything but normal is a bad thing. Which, if you’re healthy, I suppose it is. But when you’re already feeling ill, it’s a relief to get ‘bad’ test results because it means that there’s actually a reason for you feeling so poorly, and that means there might be a treatment plan which can help.

When you go backwards and forwards, doing test after test and experiments and retests it’s really demoralising hearing ‘your tests came back fine‘. You start to think that you’re ‘making up’ the problem, like you’re not tying hard enough to ‘get on with it’ and you start to blame yourself, even if you’ve done everything right. 

So you feel disappointed when nothing shows up on a scan or a blood test. And then you catch yourself and think ‘what am I saying, I don’t actually want to have an illness, do I?’ No. Of course you don’t want to be sick. The fact is you’re sick already, you just don’t know why or how (yet). Which can be a lot more scary a prospect than seeing a bad test or scan result or being diagnosed with a ‘scary’ illness- something is slowly killing you, but no one knows why. This is exactly what was happening to me prior to my diagnosis of Adrenal Insufficiency. I felt relieved to actually have a diagnosis.

Test results mean you know what you’re dealing with. You know how many soldiers the other side are sending into battle, and you can work out how many of your own you need to get out of reserve. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t make the battle any easier, but knowing what you’ve got, even if it is horrible, means you know you’re at war in the first place. Otherwise you’re in a Battle of the Somme type tactics where you’re at risk of pushing all you’ve got energy wise in the first 30 seconds, and then not being able to sustain it for the months or even years you actually need to.

Test results also ‘legitimise’ your illness to other people. Not that you should feel like you need to, but it means other people should at least be able to acknowledge that it’s actually a battle and it’s not ‘all in your head’. Test results mean that something is at fault besides you yourself, and other people have an easier time accepting that. The problem is, not all illnesses have easy diagnostic tests. 

I haven’t had any new test results back. There’s stuff going on with my endocrine system that test results don’t or can’t show. I have had my repeat Synacthen tests back though. My cortisol production is ‘flat line’, to use the words my consultant used. You can’t survive without cortisol. This is not new news, but, 2 years since diagnosis, it’s now highly unlikely (less than 5% chance) that my adrenals will ‘wake up’ and start working again. Which means I’ve got a very tricky to manage, life-threatening condition for the rest of my life. 

It’s not nice getting bad test results. But the easiest part of that consultation was actually the bad test results. Test results you can work with. It’s the unknowns which are scary. 

4 thoughts on “Test Results

  1. CosmicGypsy says:

    Very well said!!! I’ve always wondered if it was just me who felt that way, I secretly thought “well maybe I want to be sick and just don’t know it!” Because seriously, who gets disappointed by a “looks normal” result! Thank you so much for posting this!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Donna Coughlin says:

    I am actually crying reading this… every word is as if it was plucked from my psyche. It is such a comfort to know that it is “normal” to feel this way. I had a synacthyn test today, I find out the results tomorrow and I’ve been feeling bad for actually hoping that they show something abnormal. I feel as if this invisible illness has robbed me of my previous life my job, my relationships and I just desperately want there to be a tangible reason why – something I can point a finger to and say, it’s because of this. Thank you for being able to capture my feelings in your words.


    • Ok Then, What's Next? says:

      I wrote that post because I felt the same as you but I was so worried about posting it for a while because it feels the exact opposite of what people expect you to feel! I’m glad it helped you and really hope you get some useful results from your synacthen test which help you get a treatment plan sorted


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