Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Dangers of the WWW


For those of you who read yesterday’s blog, I thought that I would let you know that Willow has been booked in for surgery this coming Friday, the 11th May.  For those of you who didn’t read my blog, perhaps now would be a good time.

The vet was very reassuring, though concerned about what they might find once the removed tumour has been analysed.  I won’t go on about this today, I am worried enough as it is, but I want to briefly touch upon the dangers of the web.

Shock horror…surely there are no dangers related to the World Wide Web? Realistically that is a silly question; we all know that there are dangers out there.  The one I am concerned about today relates to Willow, her condition and all other illnesses and diseases for humans and animals alike, because too much information in untrained hands is dangerous and in most cases unnecessarily distressing.

As I began to research Willow’s tumour the words ‘Spindle Cel’ and ‘Cancer’ are seen side by side in almost every sentence on a variety of sites.   I then looked at the treatment, the first course of action in every case is the removal of the tumour and surrounding skin, both of which are to be analysed.  If no cells have been left behind we can go home and celebrate, however, if some cells are perceived to be sill in the body, the next course of action is chemotherapy and if that fails… nothing. 

All true, all well written and explained and all utterly horrifying.   

The thing is, I am not a qualified veterinary surgeon, I am not even close, and by researching Willows condition I couldn’t help but think the very worse. So within the course of twenty minutes I morphed from being concerned and worried about trying to explain to Willow what was happening to her and why, to Oh My God, we could lose her!

My stomach knotted, I felt sick and I had to fight back my tears.  How could things go so wrong so fast?

I will conclude my blog by offering this piece of advice.  Do NOT self diagnose by using the web.  It is a wonderful resource, it offers a myriad of information, not all correct I might add, and it connects us to the world, but… and this is a big BUT… it can trigger emotions and warp our understanding of things beyond our ken, so be sensible about it.  Keep in mind that there are experts out there who know a hell of a lot more than you or I in their chosen fields and remember that there are times when ignorance is indeed bliss.

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