I wondered what I could find
If I used Google instead of my mind
I might learn something helpful and true
About the struggles we were going through
There it whispered, “come and see”
"Pick some fruit from my knowledge tree”
Surely, the internet was made for this
For all that’s known to surface the abyss
So I took to the keyboard at night all alone
Hoping to shed some light on the unknown
It started out helpful but then turned dark
I wanted to stop but couldn’t disembark
One step, two steps I started to fall
And the wall that surrounded me rose too tall
Deep, deep, down below the elusive shallows
That's where curiosity had brought me to the gallows
When I finally emerged stained with stress and regret
The world around me looked more like a threat
I urge you, my friends, stop while you can
You were much better off before you began
Dramatic, I know… but Google… it has a way of enslaving its fragile users. Google searches can turn an unknown situation into foreboding despair. I think a lot of people can relate to riding the Google engine a little too far. Like that time you searched your cold symptoms and convinced yourself you had cancer. Unfortunately, when your kid has serious medical issues you are constantly coming across devastating possibilities.
Don't get me wrong, I do love Google. I love investigating. I am an American History major and research is basically my middle name. I love to know the who, what, where, when and why of everything (my family calls me nosey). So, when Myron began this journey I took to Dr. Google to learn anything I could. I have actually almost subscribed to some medical journals but stopped myself before I went down that rabbit hole(probably for the best). A lot of what I read was helpful. But, so much,so much, has permanently planted worry in my mind. More than once, I found that all of Myron's symptoms matched up to a terminal disease. Needless to say, there was also more than once that I cried myself to sleep over the places Google took me.
The thing is, these things weren't far fetched. I didn’t have to take my searches down a crazy path to end up there. When your two year old is going through so much testing, there is obviously some serious issues at play. And, it is so scary.
Over the past year, I have become very informed about some really terrible genetic diseases and neurodegenerative disorders. Early on, after doing some research, my husband and I had one of those discussions that never leave your memory. We had come across so many possibilities of diseases that lead to death or extreme disability. I will never forget the day we said to each other, “everything will be okay if he doesn’t die.” I think that is why, when Myron was diagnosed with autism, it didn’t immediately strike me as something that needed grieving. It was a more favorable diagnosis than the alternatives we were currently facing.
Thankfully, time and testing has resolved many of the concerns I had in the early days. There are still scary and devastating things on the table, but the range is not as wide as it once was. However, Myron’s constellation of issues and endless testing continues to bring me back to Google. I am, finally, at the point where I've realized much of the research that I am doing for the "benefit" of our family is actually causing more harm than good.
For example, I have come across this statistic many times- "People with epilepsy are more likely to die prematurely”. I am convinced that this type of information is not helpful for moms. Whether or not I knew this fact, I would still take Myron’s diagnosis seriously. He would still get his medicine and he would still get the care he deserves. But, now, I have to pray through my anxiety that Myron wouldn’t be one of the Ones that make this statistic true. I hate that the enjoyment of my precious toddler is stained with these fears,and even more so, I hate that, for many moms, some of these fears are realities.
I am currently on a Google hiatus. I need a break from adding extra anxiety to an already stressful situation. It is hard for me not to do my research. But, for now, I need to keep my focus on what is important for me as a wife and mom, loving my family. So, if you are on a searching binge or are finding yourself googling into despair, take a break from it. No harm is coming from us not knowing every single detail and potential outcome. It might actually be for the better.