Why post blood test results on the Internet?
I thought long and hard about whether or not to post blood test results on the Internet. What if someone I work with sees them? What if someone manages to diagnose some horrible disease from them? I ultimately chose to post them here (and a few other places) because I need a place to think things out, a way to solicit help, and because I want to set an example.
I’m at a point where I have very little confidence left in western medicine, approaching total paranoia. This is the system that has had no answer for why I’ve been overweight since I was very young. I’m still not quite comfortable enough with the reasons why to defend myself though. When I went in to the dentist with tooth pain, I couldn’t even bring myself to tell her about all the “Root Canal Cover-up” tales that I had heard and read. Instead, I took the antibiotic and the referral to the specialist and went on my way. When I took the time to explain myself in our next conversation, she admitted that she was so uncomfortable with the idea of root canals that she did not even practice them! As my own best health advocate, having a public place to express my thoughts and allow others to critique them is going to be valuable. It also makes me accountable. I cannot sue myself for malpractice but I can at least embarrass myself here if there are no results.
I expect I may get a little help from others as well. There’s an interesting way that the Internet has of turning professionals into amateurs and amateurs into professionals. Someone who charges $150/hour for their time during the day can be convinced to hunt around for hours for a deal to save $5 off a new tool. Someone who spends 15 hours a week reading and discussing hormone replacement on a forum may actually be more educated on the subject than an actual doctor. I think that both of these effects can help me – both professionals who may comment here in their spare time and amateurs who may know more than the professionals I have the chance to encounter.
Finally, I want to set an example. One of the first medical problems I had as a self-sufficient adult was an ingrown toenail. I had no idea what to do. As far as I could tell, I was the first person to ever get an ingrown toenail. The Internet was little help. WebMD just did not have a personal enough touch. Perhaps I was over sharing, but as I talked to more and more people about this problem I realized it was quite common. So, I hope that by sharing here I can help others and also make others feel more comfortable with sharing their own stories.
I stuck one toe in the water by starting this blog. When I first signed up for the WellnessFX test, I was a little concerned that my Gravatron avatar was showing up on my tests results page. “Does this mean the practitioner can see my face?” I wondered to myself. I moved pretty far past that privacy question and on to many others when I posted lab results here. The WellnessFX team may have shoved me into the deep-end by sharing my story and results on their blog. Ironically, I’m still uncomfortable posting my name or pictures though. Maybe the 50 lbs. I’ve already lost should be enough to post a success story but I’m not done yet.