We tend to think of cancer as something so scary that it should be easy to know when something is wrong. We imagine lumps and bumps and growths - things we think we would notice as cancer right away. These Reddit users are showing the world why cancer goes undetected for so long so often.
One Reddit user asked: Cancer survivors of Reddit, when did you first notice something was wrong?
A lot of them seem so ... normal.
I was scratching my balls and felt a hard knot. Froze for like ten seconds, panicking internally, thinking it's definitely cancer then remembered that cancer is actually pretty rare and it's far more likely to just be a cyst or something. Went to the doctor anyway because I'm not an idiot.
It was cancer.
- I did not get to keep the ball. They have to look at it under a microscope to determine the specific type of cancer and for that they usually slice it up a bit so there wouldn't have been much to keep anyway.
- The knot was rock hard and attached to the testicle, inside the sack and maaaybe a tiny bit more sensitive than the testicle normally is, otherwise completely painless but your mileage may vary. In some cases the tumor will start growing inside the testicle causing it to swell, in others the testicle might even shrink. If it's soft and squishy it's probably not cancer but still have it checked if you're worried. A simple ultrasound can determine if it's a solid tumor and requires further attention.
- If it comes and goes it's also most likely not cancer. Cancer will generally only get bigger without treatment.
- They do offer you a prosthetic replacement, although I refused because I heard it can be uncomfortable in some situations and I don't notice a difference anyway.
- You can still have sex with one ball. The remaining testicle takes up the workload of the removed one. I'm not infertile and don't have testosterone problems but that can happen in some cases.
- I was 21 when first diagnosed and 22 when I relapsed.
- Treatment didn't cost me anything because I live in a country with universal healthcare.
- Checking regularly is good but don't overdo it. Generally once a month is enough.
- Testicular cancer is rare as it accounts for roughly 0.5-1% of male cancers.
A Second Opinion
Felt like sh!t all the time. Fatigued constantly and losing my physical strength. Finally went to my family doctor who said it was just aging. Went for a second opinion and they found high cancer markers in my blood test. Spent the next few months going back and forth to various specialist while they tried to pin point it. Finally turned out to be both lymphatic and testicular cancer. I was very lucky. I lost six lymph nodes and a treacherous left testicle and came out of it clean after having to do very little treatment. But with what I went through (and what I spent!) I have a new respect for people who survive more severe forms of cancer.
A Twinkle In Your Eye
For me it started with my eyes in my late 30's. Felt perfectly fine otherwise, but my eyes would have these weird all-over "flashes", kind of like what you see after you stare too long at the sun, especially when I was moving from dark to light places (like waking up in the morning, or turning on a light in a dark room at night). Got my eyes checked, doc said my retinas had some severe "high pressure areas" and it might be the start of macular degeneration. I got some new glasses and went on with life figuring this was just going to be my new normal.
Thank f*cking god I had a routine yearly doctor's exam scheduled about 2 months after that. I felt 100% fine other than this weird eye thing, but the routine blood work came back so bad my doctor actually threw the first results away, saying it had to be a lab error. Second results came back even worse, and they sent me to a cancer specialist. Rare type of bone marrow cancer.
They caught it early, and its highly treatable with a 95% chance of living a relatively normal life afterward. But if they hadn't, I'd have been in critical condition, maybe dead, within a couple of years. Turns out my system was so overloaded with cancerous white blood cells that my blood was thick like potato soup. It was blowing out the veins in my eyes, which resulted in those "flashes". They went away after about the first 2 weeks of treatment.
GO TO YOUR DOCTOR REGULARLY.
Randomly ended up so sick i was bed bound for a month. Got every test for the flu/cold/viruses they could think of. Ended up getting an ultrasound on my stomach; they saw a mass while doing so and also scanned my pelvic area. Turned out to be ovarian cancer but luckily for me it was contained in the football sized tumor attached to my right ovary, which i obviously didn't know was there. Month later i was cut open, had it removed. Minus one ovary and the constant fear it'll come back later and I'm cancer free. For now.
Ewing's sarcoma, diagnosed at age 12.
The first time I remember noticing it was during a volleyball game. I spiked and landed and felt a sharp pain in my left thigh.
I ignored it and it would bother me on and off for a few months. I was trying not to let my parents worry, because my older sister has CF and was going through a rough patch. I was limping most of the time, but occasionally it wouldn't hurt at all.
One day I was walking downstairs at school and as I took a step I was blinded by pain, screamed and collapsed. By the time my mom got to school to pick me up it was barely a dull ache, but she said we should get x-rays just in case. This was around 5 months after the volleyball pain.
The results came back showing cancer. I started treatment immediately. 13 months of chemo, ~100 nights in hospital. Two years of physical therapy to lose my limp.
Pressure, Itching, Blood
August 1st, 2015. I woke up and felt a strange pressure in my chest. The night before I had picked something up and I figured I just strained myself. Didn't think much of it.
Until around November. I started getting itchy. Like, really itchy. Mostly on my legs, but pretty much everywhere. I always struggled with having itchy skin after a hot shower, so at first I didn't pay it too much attention, until it started getting annoying. I tried new shampoos and body wash, washed and changed my sheets, looked for bed bugs, lice, anything I could think of.
Finally, on March 31st 2016, a few weeks after my 21st birthday, I was just getting into bed when I coughed. Now, for context, I also suffer from frequent bloody noses. So I'm used to coughing and having a bloody nose.
But this time when I coughed, I felt blood coming from down inside of me, rather than up from my nose.
I immediately grabbed a cup and started coughing up blood into it, right next to my girlfriend in bed. I managed to tell her to call 911, and I threw myself into the bathroom.
And there I was, holding on to the sink for dear life, coughing up more and more blood. I couldn't stop, every time I tried to catch my breath I would feel a tickle and have to cough, sending more blood out. That bathroom looked like the elevator from the Shining by the end of it.
Finally, ten minutes goes by, and the ambulance arrives. I had basically made my peace with this world and was prepared to let go... but then the coughing finally subsided, and I could breathe again without coughing up blood.
Took a ride to the ER. They kept me for a week, poking and prodding me, doing tests. I almost got sent home with a diagnosis of tuberculosis. But finally they confirmed it was cancer. Stage four hodgkin's lymphoma to be exact.
Sounds bad and scary, but out of all the types of cancers known, this one is fairly easy to cure and has a high success rate of not reoccurring.
So, I did chemo for 6 months. That sucked. Finished in October 2016. I'm just about to go into my last post treatment check up tomorrow, and hopefully if everything is good I won't have to keep getting check ups every year.
Interestingly, however, I always had a feeling in my mind that one day I would get cancer. I can't exactly describe why I thought this, but I did. And it turned out to be true.
Everyone, go get yourself checked out. You do not want to wait to long and let things progress. Do what you can to have good health, because without it we are nothing.
Also, my girlfriend was such a fucking trooper. She handled herself and the situation incredibly well for how scary that must have been for her. Lord knows I would be terrified if our roles reversed and she was the one in trouble. I only pray I can handle things as good as her. If you're reading this, I love you and I am so proud you kept your cool!
Sense Of Impending DoomGiphy
I wish I had a better answer. I was pregnant for the first time and my gut was relentless, telling me something wasn't right. I didn't feel right. I brushed a lot of it off as pregnancy hormones but something just wasn't right. It caused sleep loss and anxiety, I went to ER at 9 weeks and was told i had a uti (now as a midwifery student my bacterial load was low enough that I know I didn't have a uti.) I went back around 10.5 weeks, again to my doctor at 12 and 14. I'd had a scan at 5 weeks and it was normal.
Finally at 18 weeks I went in to the emergency room again because I couldn't shake this feeling of impending doom. I got a resident for the first time and she just said that sometimes first time moms need to see their babies to shake worries. She sent me for an anatomy scan. Dead baby, mass of 'snowstorm' tissue. It was a molar pregnancy, placenta was massive and riddled with mutations. I was scheduled for a D&C. My follow up a month later was 5 mins with an ob who told me it "wasn't like the baby was term, you can have more babies. Wait a year."
Within days the sense of dread crept back. Three months later I joined an online support group for women who had molar pregnancies and found out I should have had twice weekly blood work and follow up scans to make sure there was no retained placenta tissue. By then the stuff missed in DC had taken over and metastasized. I'm lucky I found those women, they saved my life and my doctor filed a formal complaint against the incompetent ob that we trusted to do my care.
Just over a year ago, I had been increasingly tired and fatigued over a period of 6 months. I had also been dealing with lower leg swelling, to the point that I could barely wear shoes. I had been out with my mom and was so out of breath I couldn't walk the 100 yards or so into a grocery store.
I was admitted to the hospital with a hemoglobin of 4, and incredibly low thyroid levels. Fast forward a day or two and I start with what can only be described, without being gross, as an incredibly irregular period. I was scheduled for a uterine biopsy a few weeks after discharge and was found to have endometrial cancer.
We attempted the conservative course of treatment as I'm only 32 and have not had kids yet. This was all fine and well until January when 2 masses were found in my uterine wall. Fast forward two months and an MRI shows that even on hormone suppression therapy, the masses were growing. I had a complete hysterectomy on March 29 of this year. One of the masses was 70% through the uterine wall. Luckily my lymph nodes were clear and I didn't need chemo or radiation.
Walking To Class
When I was walking to class one day in high school (I'm now 23) and my legs just gave out and I collapsed to the floor. Had to have a random student walking by help me to my feet, and even then I wasn't stable. I had been having weird symptoms for the month prior, but that was the one thing that really made me think that something was wrong.
Turned out to be a rare type of bone marrow cancer called POEMS Syndrome that only few other adolescents have ever had. At least that's what my doctors have told me.
Unfortunately, I've relapsed, but recent blood work has been looking really good so hopefully I'm back in remission soon!
No Childlike Energy
I noticed something was wrong since I was in 5th grade. I was always so tired compared to other kids. I didn't have that boundless energy kids are supposed to have, or at least I didn't feel like I did. I always felt glum, or dull. It was hard to sleep. Sometimes I felt too hot or too cold. I had unhealthy amounts of anxiety - my heart was pounding over the most stupid stuff. That spiraled into paranoia, which is just terrible for a kid to have to go through. The worst of it all was the brain fog. I struggled to concentrate and just THINK. It pissed me off to no end - why couldn't I just think of 'A' when I wanted to? There was so much mental noise and fog - almost like your head and ears are stuffed with cotton. For some reason this completely killed my confidence in myself. I felt like I just wasn't as good as the other 'healthy' kids.
My dad doesn't deal with health stuff. So I'd bring it up to my mom. She told me I was exagerrating, That it was because I was on the computer too much, ate poorly, and didn't sleep enough.
This routine went on until I was 16 or so when I finally got sick of it and mentioned it to my primary doctor during a checkup - and here comes my mom chiming in x y z above for why I felt the way I did. Doctor touched my neck area and felt a lump. Got an ultrasound eventually and yup there it was!
My mom caved and said that nodules run in her family - she's got more than a dozen! Nice to know. Also why nobody did a full blood test to see my thyroid hormone levels is beyond me. Apparently my sister and grandma (dad's side) are hypothyroid.
They wanted to 'watch' it for a few years lmao to see if it got bigger.
Finally at 18 I got things moving.
I got two biopsies on my left side since there was an obvious nodule- the first one not going well and they decided they wanted to do another. Whoever said biopsies are painless is a huge liar. The results were what I hoped, because I knew something was wrong with me. My parents didn't want me to have any surgeries. I feel like they wanted to pretend that nothing was wrong.
Finally, at 19, I had two hemithyroidectomy operations for what they found were papillary carcinomas - one in a calcified nodule and little 'granules' in two of my lymph nodes and the other side of my thyroid. I may need radiation later, but right now I'm avoiding it. I'm taking meds for the rest of my life - that's fine with me!
The surgeries were a month apart from each other. I was 19 at the time and right in the middle of college. It was really hard for me, considering that my family and SO at the time were nay sayers or straight up indifferent to me while I finally pushed for treatment.
In hindsight, I should have had them both removed in one operation. They told me I had the option the first go around, but I wanted to keep function if I could. How could I do it if I had no idea what was going on with the other side? They refused to do a biopsy on the opposing side during surgery - lame. They also knicked the nerves for my vocal cord during the first surgery, so I couldn't speak properly for 6 months and had to see a specialist for an implant to restore function if it didn't heal. Thank goodness it did. I sounded absolutely terrible - like those folk that have those voiceboxes. It hurt, speaking was a struggle. I sound normal now, but it's hard to carry on talking with the risk of sounding out of breath lol.
Now that I'm on thyroid meds- I feel infinitely better compared to before. I have a lot more clarity than before. I still have anxiety which is strange, it's like a reaction to things at this point. I hear it's a side effect of the meds. I'm working on improving my mindset - it's getting better. I sleep better.
It's hard to get your dosage right, but when you do it's like you feel close to normal again. I get off days pretty often, and don't feel well if I'm off schedule. HOWEVER I'm a heck of a lot happier now!!!
Also, my sister and mom got biopsies afterwards for themselves for nodules they have - 'just in case'.
Y'all know that one Hannah Montana song? “Everybody makes mistakes! Everybody has those days!" That's the song I sing to myself every time I accidentally burn myself while making ramen. It comforts me to know, however, that there are a lot of worse mistakes out there than some spilled ramen. Who knew?
In fact, some mistakes are so astronomical that they're remembered for decades afterwards, leaving the one who made the mistake a legacy of being a dumba**. Here are a few of them!!!
Some may argue that the existence of the Universe was a mistake. I disagree. It was clearly Zayn leaving One Direction. But these next few were pretty bad too.
If you do the math, this is also the reason why Hentai exists.
I'll say the wrong turn Franz Ferdinand's driver made that went right in front of Gavrilo Princip.
EDIT: yes I'm aware war may still have broken out even if Franz Ferdinand wasn't assassinated
Imagine you're Gavrilo Princip. The assassination plot you and your friends had been cooking up for about the last year or so has been a complete and total disaster, just a monumental f*ck-up of the highest degree. You're staked out at this deli thinking maybe, just maybe the car will pass by, and by some stroke of sheer luck, it does.
If you're Princip, this is nothing short of serendipity.
Petition to return to the ocean.Ocean Surf GIFGiphy
"Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans."
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move." - Douglas Adams
This was, in fact, a monumental mistake.
Sears not beating Amazon to the punch.
Blockbuster not buying Netflix.
You thought THOSE were bad? Well gear up for their next few, because they are 100% accurate. Except the one about Cats, that movie slaps.
I don’t know sports, but sure.
Seahawks not running it.
I used to wear a Seahawks jersey whenever I took a test because I knew I would pass when I shouldn't.
CATS is great, y'all are just boring.Giphy
The Emoji Movie.
That live action movie about Cats is also up there.
Very fair point.
Humans are not wired to have that many social interactions and maintain that many relationships. Plus the echochambers it allows people to create for themselves, no matter how conspiratorial or vile their beliefs, means that stupid/evil people are no longer shunned into changing their mind.
Not sure it was worth being able to see what a celebrity had for lunch or what new "dance" your younger cousin and her tween friends are doing.
But in all seriousness, some horrible things may now have happened if the right thing was halted at the right time.
Washington called it.George Washington Disney GIF by Hamilton: An American MusicalGiphy
Voting for people based on what side of the political spectrum they're on. George Washington himself advised against political parties because he thought they would cause too much division in this country. Unfortunately for everyone, he was right.
Big oops on that one.
Barack Obama mocking Donald Trump at the Correspondents Dinner might have led directly to his 2016 run....
"Now, I know that he's taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald," Obama said. "And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter — like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?"
Then he turned serious: "But all kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example — no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of 'Celebrity Apprentice' — at the steakhouse, the men's cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn't blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled."
This is the best Star Wars and no one can change my mind.
I'll take 'Star Wars Christmas Special' for $100.
That atrocious pile of manure gave us Boba Fett, so without the Christmas Special there won't be The Mandalorian.
Wow, in this article, I openly admitted my love for Cats AND The Star Wars Holiday Special. So maybe my existence was the biggest mistake of all.
ANYWAY, I hope you enjoyed, and I hope you all feel a little bit better about yourself. Because when push comes to shove, at least you didn't accidentally start World War I
When I was younger, it seemed every adult believed that you couldn't swim for several hours after eating. Why did they all believe this? I fought them on this all the time, by the way. I shouldn't have had to, just because I'd eaten some barbecue during a pool party. Guess what, though? That belief is unfounded.
After Redditor MelonInACat asked the online community, "What is a common myth that has been debunked that too many people believe?" people told us about the myths that are still around despite credible evidence.
"Do you know how many wellness checks..."
You must wait 24 hours before reporting a missing person.
- 24 hours from when? The time you realized they were missing? The time you estimate they went missing? The time of the initial report to police?
- Who is the legal timekeeper? If this is a law, it must have a designated timekeeper for official records. City police? County sheriff? Do I hire a private attorney to file a time-keeping motion in court?
- If the most likely time to find a missing person is the first 24 hours, why would you wait 24 hours?
- If the person dies or is severely injured because the county/state refused to initiate a search, doesn't that put some liability on their office? It seems like that would've been tested in court by now.
There's no law governing how long you have to wait before notifying the police of a missing person. It's nonsense. File a report as soon as you suspect the person is missing or in danger.
Do you know how many wellness checks officers go on in a day? Call it in, man...
CALL IT IN!
Why would you wait so long? It's absurd and wastes valuable time. And in the event something has happened, you could very well be saving someone's life.
"Popping your knuckles..."
Popping your knuckles is actually harmless and the "study" that claimed it caused arthritis was heavily flawed. Studies now show that it has nothing to do with causing arthritis.
I heard this one all the time.
I didn't crack my knuckles anyway because I didn't understand the appeal. Why were all the first-graders so fascinated by this?
"That if you get too close..."
That if you get too close to a baby bird, the mother will smell human on the baby and abandon the nest.
You probably should still avoid touching baby birds for other reasons like disease or risking injury to the animal though.
"That waking a sleepwalker..."
That waking a sleepwalker is dangerous for them. They might wake up confused, but they'll be fine unless you scream at them or something.
"That your hair and fingernails..."
That your hair and fingernails still grow after you die. It's mainly an optical illusion. Your skin decays and shrinks, causing hair and fingernails to look like they've grown.
I grew up hearing this.
There are entire generations of people who believe this.
"We all know the story."
The War of The Worlds broadcast in 1938. We all know the story: Orson Welle's broadcast War of The Worlds over the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). But people only tuned in partway through and heard the radio announcing that machines were landing in the country and were advancing and attacking. People panicked in the streets and thought aliens really were invading. There was hysteria on the streets, people were looting and traffic jams backed up as people tried to escape.
But it turns out, that isn't really true. It turns out barely anyone actually listened to the broadcast, and the few that were listening knew it was Orson Welles and knew it was just a broadcast of War of the Worlds. If there was anyone that did tune in and mishear it and panicked, it was nowhere near the hundreds and thousands that have been reported in this myth.
This one is definitely a popular urban myth by this point.
Cool story, but nowhere near as exciting as you might have heard. If anything, that mythos probably helped Welles get full artistic control of the projects, like Ciitizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, that made him a star.
"You don't have to wait..."
You don't have to wait 3 hours after eating to swim. Every summer I have to fight my in-laws about it.
"Do you really think..."
That not turning your airplane mode on (smartphone) can interfere/jam communications.
Do you really think if a smartphone might endanger a whole plane with passengers they would let it fly?
"No amount of reasoning..."
That cats kill babies.
I've run into this so many times since having kids. And it's not the older grandmas making these statements. I've had 20-year-olds tell me that you can't have cats if you plan to have babies because "they'll steal their breath" or some other variation. No amount of reasoning or rationale will dissuade them of this belief.
"Maybe it's just one of those things..."
YOUR. BLOOD. IS. NOT. BLUE! Seriously tho, I was told that everyone's blood was blue on the inside when I was younger, and I honestly don't know why my Mom thought that. Maybe it's just one of those things that you only believe because your family has been saying it since your Grandma's Grandpa's Grandma's Grandma's Grandpa or something like that.
Here's some valuable advice, guys:
Google is your friend. It's very easy to debunk this stuff. I remember being taught that the tongue had taste zones––we even had to fill out a worksheet labeling the tongue's different zones. That's totally wrong, in case you haven't figured it out.
Have some myths you've heard you'd like more people to know have already been debunked? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below!
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As much as we're not supposed to feel satisfaction upon observing the struggles of other people, it can be hard to resist a silent, internal fist pump when some blunder occurs immediately after we tried to help the person prevent it.
It is all a result of stubbornness.
The person we're trying to help is stubborn. They think they know the best way to do something, or the exact information required for a given moment.
And, on top of that, they think we're being stubborn when we try to intervene.
So all of our attempts to help fall on deaf ears. And the results can be as calamitous as they are satisfying.
TenaciousBrit asked, "What's your 'I told you so' moment?"
Many people chose to talk about the times their friends or family ended up producing some truly entertaining physical comedy.
And the laughter was only enhanced with the knowledge that they'd just predicted the whole thing.
"Was picking beans with my sister and mom. To this day I still don't know why the fence was electric but it was. I touched it and I got zapped. It wasn't too bad but it hurt. I jumped away and my sister saw me, I said that it was an electric fence."
"Of course she just thought I was pranking her. I was trying to tell her the whole time we picked beans but she didn't believe me. Right at the end she touched the fence and she didn't see it coming at all... Her face was just like, 'Oh shi-' "
"Loved the car ride home, 'I told you... Idiot.' "
No Babies, Two Hurt Backs
"My sister and I were out sledding when we were kids at this place with a really steep hill. I had unknowingly gone down a sled path that had a jump in it, and when I landed it really hurt my back."
"So when I got back up to the top of the hill I told my sister 'don't go that way, the jump really hurts.' She called me a baby and didn't believe me that it really hurt so she decided she would go down that path on her sled."
"Well, she hit the jump and didn't get back up, turns out she fell so hard she had broken her leg. When we finally got her back up the hill and to the car, I got to tell her 'I told you so.' "
"This dumb a**hole woman wouldn't leave the llamas at our petting zoo alone, even after I warned her."
"Eventually they had enough and spit alllll over her. Green goopy spit from head to torso."
"She threw up a bunch and I laughed. Until I smelled it and then I was retching too."
Others recalled the times they trusted their instincts, only to be gaslighted by medical professionals.
But they did, eventually, get the help they needed. And the mixture of pride and frustration toward the other doctor was palpable.
"Had a weirdly dark freckle. The color of chocolate. I showed spouse and he called me a hypochondriac and if I go to a doctor, I'd be wasting their time."
"I went to the dermatologist. It was melanoma."
Years of Itchy Apples
"Since I was 14, my throat got itchy when I ate apples. I told my mom but she thought I just didn't want to eat apples and forced me to eat them."
"Went to the doctor's office and got a test for allergies."
"Turns out, I'm allergic to apples, peaches, and many other fruits."
This Was a Baby We're Talking About Here!
"My newborn baby was projectile vomiting after every feeding. I took her to the doctor several times, always ended up being sent away with suggestions to try a different formula. I tried like 4 different ones, no change."
"The 4th or 5th visit, they sent me away again with the same recommendation even though I pleaded with them to figure out what was wrong with my baby. I left the office and drove to the ER instead. She ended up having emergency surgery that day."
"The surgeon said she would have starved to death (or maybe dehydrated?) had she gone much longer without the surgery. I gave the doctors in that office a piece of my mind."
Dirt: Not Always the Answer
"Went to the doctor on and off for breathing problems to no avail. A lot of 'rub some dirt on it' mentality. Wound up in the ER as a result of an asthma attack. Kept the bracelet on and everything when I went back the next week to see him."
"Not as satisfying as I would've hoped."
And some people discussed the times they knew or predicted a piece of information, but couldn't seem to persuade someone else through dialogue or conversation.
But, of course, the truth always comes out.
Chose the Wrong Partner
"Lawyer here. Fired a partner who I found some real irregularities in their spending habits vs. what they were making after he couldn't provide a good answer to where it came from. Other partner left and started a new firm with them because they disagreed with my decision and refused to look at the evidence."
"Turns out he stole 500k of a clients money, got disbarred, and is now facing prison time. I told her to look at the evidence and she didn't listen. 🤷🏼♂️"
"Someone started talking about a bottle of Newman's Own salad dressing while at dinner with my family and I said something like 'I'm pretty sure that was started by the Actor/Race car driver Paul Newman.' to which one of my siblings replied 'No it was someone else.' "
"I grabbed the bottle and turned it around and started reading the label out loud. The first sentence was 'Paul Newman's career was acting, but his passion was auto racing.' I stopped reading after that."
He Knew Immediately
"Bed frame wasn't properly lashed down while moving, partner insisted the weight of the frame would keep it in place."
"Flew into the middle of a major intersection on a left turn. We dodged four lanes of oncoming traffic to collect the pieces."
"I fixed my partner with a look that could peel paint, and he said 'I know, I know, you told me so and you're right. I'm sorry.' "
"I still give him sh** for it every time we move something. It's funny now, but god damn was I pissed at the time."
We can draw a couple of lessons from this list.
First, know that, at the end of the day, you can only do your best to share your opinion. You need to accept that they're going to do what they're going to do.
Second, when someone tries to give you advice, maybe take a moment to listen.
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One of the most upsetting aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic––which is saying a lot, frankly––is the number of people who have been so affected by misinformation and disinformation. You know the ones to which I refer: These are the people who are convinced the virus is a hoax despite the lives it's claimed and the devastation it has wrought on society at large. Disinformation kills––there are stories of people who remained convinced that Covid-19 is a hoax even while intubated in the ICU, even up to their last breath.
After Redditor asked the online community, "Doctors of Reddit, what happened when you diagnosed a Covid-19 denier with Covid-19?" doctors and other medical professionals shared these rather unsettling stories.
"The one that sticks out in my mind..."
I'm a doctor working in acute internal medicine. I've seen lots of COVID over the last 12 months, probably 300+ cases. The one that sticks out in my mind the most was a 70-year-old lady with COPD. She refused to have a vaccine because she didn't trust it despite the fact she was eligible for one for weeks beforehand (in the UK). Subsequently caught COVID and was admitted to hospital. She repeatedly doubted this was the diagnosis. She refused to go to our COVID High Dependency Unit despite quite significant respiratory failure. Of course, she deteriorated over a number of days to the point where she was on maximal oxygen on the ward and at that point finally accepted treatment in HDU with high flow oxygen, although continued to doubt she had COVID. Died within 24 hours of her HDU admission having refused to go to ICU.
And of course, what did her family say? They were convinced she never had COVID and even went as far as accusing us of withholding life-saving treatment from her. Unfortunately, there's no treatment for stupidity.
Indeed there isn't.
A completely avoidable tragedy.
"My worst experience..."
My worst experience was when a 2-year-old kid got diagnosed with COVID. His mother had brought him with c/o fever and diarrhea. The child was severely dehydrated and so we had to do a mandatory swab test since we planned to admit him. It came positive and the mother refused to admit it. We were ready to perform a repeat test and we even advised the parents to get tested. Her defense was "The child never left the house. It's just me and the father who go to work daily. The grandmother babysits while we are away. How can he even get COVID without leaving the house." She had called her husband, he came with 10-15 relatives in a car, they broke a few chairs and then left with the baby. We just informed about the case to the COVID control centre.
"Only one patient ever accused me..."
Infectious disease doctor here. Seen about 450-500 COVID patients in the hospital since it all started. Only one patient ever accused me of using the nasal swab to give him COVID (along with a microchip). A handful have ranted nonstop about China. Everyone else has been sick enough to accept it, but lots still refuse the idea of vaccination even after being in the ICU.
"I had a lady who was maxed out..."
I had a lady who was maxed out on high flow (the next step is breathing tube) who still refused to believe she had Covid and was holding a negative test in her hand that she had taken a week prior.
The denial is so strong here.
It would be sad if it wasn't so horrifying.
"I'm an attending physician..."
I'm an attending physician at our Triage Unit. On a Friday, an older gentleman (60 + years) came in with his entire family (wife, sister, BIL, 2 nephews, and 3 children), none of them with a face mask. All had mild COVID symptoms except him, he was saturating 80% with evident shortness of breath. We insisted on doing PCR and a chest CAT scan looking for COVID but he and his wife refused, saying that COVID wasn't real and it was just a bacterial infection. The more we talked with him the more agitated he got to the point that his face was red. We suggested hospitalizing him to stabilize him and start treatment, but they accused us of exaggerating his symptoms and that we only wanted to hospitalize him so we could steal the liquid in his knees (a stupid rumor that was going around when this whole thing started).
They both cursed at us and said they were going to a better hospital to get antibiotics. Fast forward 24 hours later on Saturday, I get a call from the hospital next county over telling us that they intubated one of our patients because he went into respiratory failure when he arrived and they had to transfer him here because they don't have the appropriate equipment. We transfer the patient on Sunday only to find out on the CAT scan he had 90% of lung damage. He passed away on Monday morning.
Just before the family took the body away, I gave the widow the death certificate (that I filled out) and before walking away, she turns around and waves the certificate yelling "See! I told you it wasn't COVID! It says here: "Death due to pulmonary pneumonia due to SARS-CoV-2! I knew it was a bacteria!" I told her: "SARS-CoV-2 is COVID-19, ma'am."
The lengths people are willing to go to stay in denial astound me.
Basic critical thinking appears to have gone out the window here.
I'm a family doc who mostly does outpatient.
I live in a pretty conservative area with a good proportion of COVID deniers, so I've been seeing COVID deniers since this mess became politicized (I've lost a few patients over the mask mandate).
Anyway, I'm pretty pleased to say that several of my COVID denying patients have completely turned their attitude around when they (or a close family member) contracted COVID. Even if their case wasn't severe, the sudden terror that they could wind up on a ventilator overnight really puts the fear of God into people.
Unfortunately, I still have some patients who are still pretty obnoxious despite their covid diagnosis. They mostly dig deeper into paranoia. If not about the virus itself, then about the circumstances surrounding them contracting it.
"If Fauci had done his job from the beginning, it never would've hit this town."
"It's the entire fault of Obamacare that I can't get the experimental immunoglobulin treatment!" (It's not, your eligibility for the infusion is dependent on a list of risk factors).
And, probably my favorite...
"So I have COVID and it's completely your responsibility to fix it. I need you to send Hydroxychloroquine, Zinc, Vit D, Lisinopril, and azithromycin to the pharmacy..." Then they proceed to get pissed at me when I don't.
"During our peak time..."
I'm an emergency department physician in the US. I work in an area that had the highest death rate for a solid couple of weeks in the country.
During our peak time when we had national news crews here covering how we were a s***show, saw numerous people screaming their Covid disease wasn't real despite being hypoxic and on large amounts of oxygen due to Covid. That was an unpleasant time as this was still early (May/June) and it was extremely political like people apparently plotting to kidnap our state governor due to lockdowns.
Saw a lot of people refusing Covid testing who needed admission for non-covid purposes because the swabs would give them covid or put some sort of tracking device. They weren't pleased when they then had to be admitted to our full-blown Covid floors. Our Covid floors resembled a warzone because they were understaffed and relative s***hole conditions as we basically converted hallways into covid floors.
Also saw a lot of people young people who weren't exactly deniers but thought you basically couldn't sick if you were young. Lots of people with their lungs permanently scarred or at a minimum a couple of weeks of misery and/or spread it to their loved ones who got extremely ill.
"The willful cognitive dissonance..."
Physician here. The willful cognitive dissonance is real. It never ceases to amaze me how many patients will refuse assistance from me to register to get vaccinated, make claims that vaccines are harmful, but then accept my medical care on anything else that suits their whim. Patients absolutely have the autonomy to refuse care, but why would you continue to see a physician and accept their medical advice and care if you think they would simultaneously recommend something to you that would be harmful?
I've posed this question to patients who are vaccine-hesitant: "Why would you let me manage your diabetes and hypertension if you think I would harm you by recommending vaccinations?" You cannot get any kind of thoughtful response aside from, "I just don't want to be vaccinated."
"Some denier patients lived..."
RN here with most of 2020 spent in COVID land. I never had anyone refuse treatment when things got serious. I know some of the MDs I worked with got yelled at, like the rest of us...but honestly, that happens frequently anyway.
Some denier patients lived, many of which had accepted reality by the end of their stay after seeing what we all were going through to treat them.
Some died telling me I was a sheep or an idiot or a liar between gasps of air.
COVID didn't care.
This comment is strangely poetic.
Covid definitely doesn't care. The virus lays waste to people and... that's it. Good luck with your games of Russian roulette.
"People are crazy."
I work on a COVID unit and I ran into a patient like this. They'd tell me over and over again about how they weren't really sick and about how I didn't need to be gowned up in PPE. They even tried to take my face shield off. If you test positive for COVID two times then you have COVID! People are crazy.
Covid disinformation is a very serious problem and it's costing people their lives.
What can be done about it?
News literacy matters: It's important to get information from verifiable sources. Scientists and medical professionals are trustworthy. Those with backgrounds in public health know what they're talking about. Some conspiracy theory you received from your distant cousin on WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger is not worth your time or consideration.
Have some of your own Covid denial stories to share? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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