Hello from an ex-Worried Well


Hello Dr. Frascino,

I just wanted to write in to add another voice to group of ex-WW. I know that you get a few of these, but I hope that you will appreciate another bit of fan mail.

I wont presume to understand what it is like to be diagnosed HIV+, but for a period of about a week (before finally seeing a doctor) I was completely convinced that I had acquired it. I certainly had a VERY poorly timed node-swelling (at least to my untrained perception), throat-soaring, fever-inducing illness that was most likely amplified by the anxiety I had created for myself. I wrote some terrible poetry. I had wicked dreams. Having just enough medical background to get me into trouble, I read about the pathology of the disease and imagined the processes occurring within me. Most importantly, I felt that everything that I wanted in my life was in jeopardy, specifically the chance to have a family.

Reading your humourous responses allowed me to put my situation in perspective and eventually begin to place myself within a group of essentially low-risk cases, with essentially irrational fears. Even though my risk was a higher than some of your readers (Im aware that everyone says that, but Ill spare you the details as you get more than your share of those). It also helped me become so much more familiar with HIV in general. Words like seroconversion, which once sounded so clinical and so sinister, became familiar to the point where I know that I would have been a little more prepared to deal with everything if my case had turned out differently. I had an 8 week test and then finally a 6 month test. Both negative giant woooohoooo!

I know the readers have heard it before, but Get Off The Internet and get tested! Aside from all of the misinformation, its like reading a horoscope youll pick and choose the symptoms that apply to you and ignore the rest. Hopping from site to site until you form the version of reality that best suits you. Personally, I was overseas at the time, literally self-diagnosing myself in the back corner of an Internet cafe.

I wish everyone the best of luck in getting through the dreaded window period. I hope that you will all come out with a better understanding of something that is a reality for SO many people worldwide. There are many HIV-related causes that could use your time, energy, and money.

Thanks a million Dr. F.

A Canadian Fan


Hello Canadian Fan,

Thanks for taking the time to write in and share your story and newfound insights! WOO-HOO! Welcome to our rapidly expanding X-Files (Ex-Worried Wells). As Mulder always said: "The truth is out there! All you need to do is get tested. (OK, I made that last part up.)

By the way, Canadian Fan, just how terrible was your poetry? "Moon-gloom-doom . . . etc.) Or perhaps a limerick starting with There Once Was a Skank from Nantucket . . .??

Stay well, Canadian Fan. I'm sure you will. You're welcome a million.

Dr. Bob