You've heard of FOMO, also known as the fear of missing out. Millennials everywhere use to the term to describe the fear that their friends will do something 'gram worthy without them.
Now meet the fear of finding out or FOFO. While it's definitely a less fun acronym, it's a potentially much bigger problem. People all over the world have a fear of finding out about their own health problems.
I am one of those people.
At 21 years old, I am terrified that I am infertile and I'm too afraid to ask my doctor.
In the spring of my freshman year of college, I had severe abdominal pain. After a few hours debating with friends, we went to the ER and would later have 2:00 A.M. surgery to remove one of my ovaries. It was the size of a grapefruit, full of cysts and rupturing. TLDR; it had to go.
Ovarian cysts are incredibly common in young women and typically disappear on their own without treatment. Fun fact: ovaries procedure cysts every month as a part of the healthy ovulation cycle.
My doctors assured me that my other ovary looked perfectly fine at the time. However, it's been almost two and a half years and I'm terrified that my other ovary will "go bad" too.
FOFO is only made worse by the fact that health problems are every changing and evolving. If I went to the doctor today and requested expensive tests to have my ovary checked, I would only know about its health at that moment.
I won't truly know if I'm fertile until I find out if I am able to conceive. But—isn't that the same for every woman?
The fear of finding out is something that 1 in 4 people in the UK has experienced. If you are currently experiencing FOFO, here are some steps I've taken to help overcome my fears:
1. Don't Google it.
My first instinct is to Google the health problem that I may be experiencing. This just leads to misinformation and misdiagnosing yourself. Every symptom you have could be applicable to a multitude of issues.
2. Share your fears with a trusted family member or friend.
Talking about your fears with someone you trust can help you acknowledge if the fear is rational or irrational.
3. Write your feelings down.
Maybe you're not in a place where you're comfortable sharing your private medical concerns. Writing down your fear will help you focus in on the problems that you are experiencing.
4. Keep a journal of all of your symptoms.
When you eventually get the courage to visit the doctor, it will be super helpful to have a record of your symptoms. The date, duration, and severity is all important information to keep track of.
5. Visit the doctor.
Talking to a medical professional WILL help you put your fears into perspective. Seeing a specialist in your area of concern will help you learn more about your medical fears. Professionals are the most qualified to help us. If you are able to afford it, they are worth visiting.
Living with fear isn't healthy. If you have the ability to find out about a health condition, do it. Find out and relieve the stress off of your mind and body. Take a deep breath and feel like you're on the same page with yourself. I wish that I had the ability to know.