Nosophobia is a mew word for me. I stumbled on nosophobia while aimlessly trolling around the Internet.   Nosophobia is the irrational fear of contracting a disease. It applies to specific illnesses but can be used more broadly. I like exploring the world of words. This word gave me pause.

I have no particular fear of collecting diseases, though I think I have more than my share. Nophobia seems to be interchangeable with hypochondria. We all know those people. I find it interesting that we get used to what we’ve got. Futures are uncertain, but we know what we are up against. Certainly, we do not know what lays in wait for us around the bend, but our tolerance for ambiguity ripens.

I just do not have the time to obsess on what might happen. Do you? We have what we have. Nothing is going to change that.  Human beings do have the marvelous ability to adapt and adjust. Maybe that is Darwinian. Whatever. There are enough real challenges to keep us busy.

I better not get another disease.


26 Responses to Nosophobia

  1. rosanne August 2, 2016 at 8:05 pm #

    I love the way you ended this post. My Grandson asked me if I wanted to go see the newest Star Trek movie and I replied: “No, I don’t want all those people breathing on me”… that I think about it, it was a stupid comment and I should have gone and had some popcorn!!

    • Deb August 9, 2016 at 11:54 am #

      I am newly diagnosed and thus just found this blog and now you say it may end? Nooooooooo!!! This is the first really compelling info about our friend that I have come across. Suffice to say I shall be purchasing every and all books by Mr. Cohen immediately.

  2. Pat H August 3, 2016 at 6:54 am #

    Part of that, for me, is the feeling that I’m diminished by the disease. Vulnerability was never part of my personal concept of myself. Don’t like it one bit. Yeah, I know…get over yourself, you were never invincible, this is part of having a realistic self-image, blah, blah, blah… Still don’t like having my face rubbed in irrefutable evidence of it.

  3. Jeff August 3, 2016 at 11:01 am #

    I find my phobia is not of getting a new disease, but of my MS worsening. Every time I wake up with a new ache, pain, tingle, weakness, my subconscious mind instantly starts ruminating – is this the new normal? will this ever go away? I am eventually able to (mostly) remind (convince) myself that I have been here before and I can get through whatever is put in front of me, but way deep down, that uncertainty always lurks, waiting for the next symptom to pop up and give me a scare.

  4. Jack August 3, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

    I have had it with worrying about what might happen. After 27 years with ppms (and dealing with an unrelated brain tumor that was successfully removed) I have just recently realized that I spend less time thinking about disease than I used to. For many years, I would read every research article I could find and I would obsess over what would happen to me if a cure were not found soon enough. Now, I focus more on developing strategies to improve my current day-to-day quality of life. I don’t wear blinders; I know about reality and what might be in store for me. I guess my defense mechanism, which I did not consciously choose, is simply to worry about today. When a cure is found, I have confidence that someone will let me know

  5. Louisa August 3, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

    Interesting. I’m not talking about today or anytime soon because I am doing really well, but eventually I’m hoping to die of something other than MS. It seems just about the most agonizing path out.

  6. Yvonne August 3, 2016 at 8:38 pm #

    I probably am more worried about my MS progressing than another disease coming my way. Being a woman I do worry about every lump or soreness being a sign of impending breast cancer or the fact that I can not remember where the hell I put my keys,that freakin pen or my damn glasses makes me think of Alzheimer’s for a minute. Maybe I have a mild case of Nosophobia. Does that make me a hypochondriac? 😉

    • Jan August 8, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

      Well, Yvonne, could be so.

      Just kidding, actually, as I think you can take it. And I myself lose my glasses around the house a few times a month; truth he known.

      • Jan August 8, 2016 at 5:05 pm #

        And probably should not be typing on a small keyboard from my phone, as you can see.

        But at least I am putting my feet up for a while!

  7. Andrew August 4, 2016 at 2:00 am #

    Wasn’t it Oscar Wilde that referenced a person who “enjoys poor health?” When a doctor first said to me that “people with autoimmune disorders often have more than one” it was a punch in the gut I never saw coming. As if adjusting to life with MS wasn’t enough, add Crohn’s disease and I was able to experience an entirely different form of pain that can make spasms take a break from the annoyance list. If I must acquire anymore, could they please have nothing to do with “bathroom” issues?

  8. Barb Oconnell August 4, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

    I say Amen to everyone who responded to everything you said regarding nosophobia. I am hoping your blog will not be abandoned as I truly enjoy all that you have shared with this exclusive club that we did not choose to belong to, rather it chose us. As a dearly departed Aunt of mine used to say “this too shall pass” I find myself saying this when I’m having a bad day whether I’m exhausted from having too much company
    (this happens when you live in the beautiful state of Maine in the summer) or you’re just exhausted from doing nothing. Thinking is exhausting as well which leads to realizing I’m totally screwed. The whole thing sucks! That being said, take care Richard & I hope you don’t abandon ship, ever!

  9. Brian L. August 6, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

    Nosophobia? I’m tired of learning big new words. Exacerbation, intramuscular injection, yada yada yada. Not to mention all the new doctors that go by this-ologist or that-ologist. How bout CURE? Now that’s a nice short word that I can get on board with!

    • Jan August 7, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

      That made me smile.

  10. MvB August 6, 2016 at 7:32 pm #

    Just subscribed. My wife is in the final stages of MS, paralyzed from the neck down. She can still use a computer, with a “mouth mouse”. On the side of the mouth mouse I put a water tube so she can stay hydrated. There are good days and bad days. Taking care of her is now my full-time job. Her neurologist just approved for me a prescription for high-dose Clemastine Fumarate. It’s an experiment with one subject. I hope it works. It would be nice if she could move one of her arms again.

    • Linda Lazarus August 12, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

      What dosage of Celestine Fumarate did the doc prescribe? Just this morning I started asking for more information on it as an aid for optic neuritis problems.


  11. Joan L August 10, 2016 at 12:43 am #

    I often think about a friend of mine who was hit in a car accident and became a quadriplegic. I think about how in an instant her life changed so drastically . When I think about her I realize since the late eighties I have been on this journey and come quite far down on it. But unlike her circumstance, I’ve gotten used to things over the years as they’ve happened slowly and only looking back realized where I am now. So I bury my head in the sand and don’t think about the future Just Keep On Truckin!

  12. Jan August 10, 2016 at 7:38 am #


  13. Dale August 14, 2016 at 4:32 am #

    Richard won’t abandon us. I’m pretty sure about that. He knows we’re waiting on the book. And happy for whatever thought provoking tidbit he gets a chance to through out.

    Meanwhile the heat has me more than grumpy. I used to be so nice. Now I’m just grumpy, it’s wrecking my image. And sad no one gets that hot weather really does make me ill, so not having air conditioning or windows that open in this old house really does create problems.

    And makes me grumpy.

  14. Anne August 14, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

    I agree with you Dale, Richard will still be around. He knows how much we appreciate his blog.

    I’m sorry you are suffering through this dreadful heat. It is the humidity that leaves me with no function . Luckily I have air conditioning , but find myself housebound until things cool off outside. I totally understand what the weather is doing to you. I hope you get some relief soon.


  15. Dale August 16, 2016 at 12:14 am #

    Aww thanks. Nothing worse than living with someone that says ‘Well, I’m not hot’ and assumes nobody else should be. But he finally succumbed yesterday. I want to say the same thing back but won’t. That would be mean.
    Same here though, the humidity has done me in. We live in a revolutionary war house, mostly crappy windows and no air conditioning. For the life of me I’ll never know how those women survived. Guess it could be worse.

  16. Diane August 22, 2016 at 4:29 pm #

    I just discovered this blog today and I am sad to read that it may end! Please Richard, continue this! I have been living with MS for over 15 years and I want to share your blog with all my friends, so please keep writing!

  17. Jan August 22, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

    I do not think it will end: just be delayed because of his book, is my guess.

  18. MJ August 23, 2016 at 10:26 am #

    Richard, we’re still here. We continue to check in. May not post, but are always reading and waiting for your posts!

  19. Dale August 24, 2016 at 12:29 am #

    I honestly don’t ever remember any hint of Richard giving up this blog. Just a bit of ebb and flow in the groupies. Besides I don’t think Meridith would let him. She’s put a lot of time and energy into helping the cause and I’m sure knows how many of us look to this blog for support and camaraderie. I’d actually like to hear some of her views on all this from time to time.

  20. Ann August 25, 2016 at 11:48 am #

    Dale, What a good idea. It might be helpful for those of us with MS to hear from someone who has to interact with us all the time. She might open our eyes to how we can assist our caregivers making their lives easier and more pleasant by which we may make our lives easier and more pleasant.

  21. Sue August 25, 2016 at 8:34 pm #

    I hear you Richard. Yes, please. No more diseases.

    Your post reminds me of the saying from Steve Gleason (former professional NFL player who has ALS),

    “Nothing is stronger than the human spirit”.

    Gotta love Steve. And that saying resonates with me. Have you seen his movie “Gleason”?

    Side note. I love your writing style and topics Richard. Thanks for sharing the “ride” with us.