Who knows what life would be like today without the web?

by shiva

Your mother always tells you, “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.” While this may be good advice, there are countless credible resources on the web. This is where my story begins. April of 2007, I started to worry about some strange bumps on the side of my neck. Being a Communications senior in my last semester at California State University, Fullerton, I didn’t have a lot of time to wait around in doctor’s offices, and go through a myriad of procedures. I decided to be proactive and figure out what was wrong with me. Through great sites such as webMD and wikipedia to name a few, I came to the conclusion that I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Cancer.

Preparing for the worst and having told my mother my self-diagnosis (in horror she told me I was wrong), I went to the doctor to have my neck examined. They promised me it wasn’t cancer. The doctor sent me to a head and neck specialist just to be safe, and again I was sworn to that it wasn’t cancer. Feeling a little better, thinking that maybe it was a little rash, I made my biopsy appointment per the request of my doctor. Before I even woke up from the procedure, the surgeon told my mother that her only daughter had cancer. I was right. My research had been spot on. The Internet was the only one that had known the truth.

Later, looking for the right oncologist, I decided to turn to my tried and true friend: the web. Through the web I was able to find a large list of oncologists covered in my health plan. I found great second and third opinions through doctors I found on the web. During this time I was also told that I would need to have a bone marrow biopsy. Being the researcher that I am, I decided to search the Internet for information about bone marrow biopsies. What I found was very disconcerting. Everything that I read online said that it was going to be excruciatingly painful. So I prepared. The day of my bone marrow biopsy the doctor “reassured” me that the procedure wouldn’t be nearly as bad as I had read about. She said that the procedure would have minimal pain associated with it. Again, the web was the only one that told me the truth.

Ever since then I have turned to the web for medical information. I read medical journals, blogs, and cancer forums. These resources have aided me in every step of my cancer treatment; from learning about possible side effects, to finding a community of people that shared the same experiences that I had with lymphoma. Being able to research treatment and find information online about what was on the road ahead for me was vital to my sanity through everything. The more I read the more informed I felt, and the more informed I felt the more I was able to take the reigns in the fight of my disease. Who knows what life would be like today without the web. Who knows if I would have pressed so hard to find out what was wrong with my neck if I hadn’t done my homework and researched my symptoms. I say thank God for my continued health and strength, and thank God for the Internet, without which I would be in the dark.

Story by Kara Davis.

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