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An Offer of Inspiration
Apr 25, 2004

OK. I must say WooHoo, for the results came back negative. But after the months of despair trapped as a prisoner of my own mind, I have now been emancipated and can appreciate the fact that what I was looking at before were mere shadows. Let me explain.

Perspective gets skewed in a negative way--so I offer the following approach to the mental anguish occasioned by a fear of this unfortunate affliction.

As an initial matter--the test itself doesn't give you the disease. Obviously, you either have it or you do not. Now, I had thoughts that I am certain are not unique during my difficult struggle to the doctor. I realized that the test doesn't give you the disease. Yet, I thought that if I didn't actually confirm my suspicions via testing, then those fears wouldn't be real. And even if they were, I would at least be able to live a few more years in blissful ignorance.

Now I realize that even that blissful ignorance was not the Valhalla that one might presume. For I would still periodically have a sleepless night or two, and the insidious fear was gaining a foothold on my mind. Clearly, the costs of such suffering were not worth the benefits. And you may be thinking that it is quite smug of me to say such a thing after finding out Negative results. Yet, I haven't fully explicated the true costs.

The thought that got me into the doctor's office for my test was this: As precious as life is, you are guaranteed no other. And while the blissful ignorance that you may experience while avoiding the doctor is certainly less painful than the idea of a fundamental change in the world as you now perceive it, (which doesn't even seem to be the case according to the testimonials on this site), such thoughts won't ring true in the end. Rather, I imagined myself, years down and the line and now actually dying of this disease, bitter and disgusted with myself that I didn't seek treatment sooner.

For as bad as the thought of dealing with a positive result may be, I am certain that the life you lead after finding out the bad news would nonetheless be jealously guarded and savored by you. And without finding out your status for certain, you may be sacrificing valuable life-prolonging treatment that will successfully ward off the onset of the ailment. Not to mention the sexual awkwardness of either recklessly endangering your partners or avoiding sex altogether. But in the worst case scenario, I realized that I would still prefer to salvage as many precious years on this Earth as I could. That is why you should go and get tested. It is tough, and I know it. But it is absolutely essential for your mental health and the safety of yourself and those around you. Free yourself from the shackles of ignorance and step into the light.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Thank you for your eloquent comments. I absolutely agree. "Blissful ignorance" is a misnomer for everything from "missed opportunity for life-extending treatment" to "a living hell of needless worry." In either case, I agree it's "ignorance," and anything but "blissful!"

Congratulations. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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