Vicki maintains that she's not obsessed with her health. "I believe I am vigilant about taking care of myself so I can be around to take care of my children," she says.
The major illnesses that Vicki thought she had are: breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, ovarian cancer, lymphoma, tetanus, and heart problems. "I spend about three hours a day online researching diseases," she reveals. "A few months ago, I was having some abdominal discomfort. I looked online and I saw that these were the symptoms of ovarian cancer. The ultrasound determined that I had a hemorrhagic cyst. So I felt vindicated."
Scott is unconvinced that his wife has a serious ailment. "It's hard for me to be supportive of something I don't believe to be normal," he says.
"Are you here to change this or defend it?" Dr. Phil asks Vicki.
She replies, "Defend it."
Pointing out that Vicki believed she had tetanus, immune deficiency, lung cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, lymphoma, liver disease, rectal cancer and a host of other diseases, Dr. Phil says, "You think all of those are reasonable concerns for you to have had?"
"That's not what you do," Dr. Phil interrupts. "You decide that you have it, you research it, you spend time on the Internet, and you go to the doctor once a week."
"Well, I go to the doctor to rule them out," Vicki clarifies.
"What's left?" Dr. Phil teases.
"I'm starting to feel better because I'm ruling them out. When I have a test and it comes back normal, then I know I have x-amount of time before I need to start thinking about that again," she explains.
"It's very abnormal. It's OK to have aches and pains, but to have a new symptom every day, that's not normal," Harvey says.
Dr. Phil turns to Kelly. "At some point, don't you say, â€˜I need to change what I'm saying to myself'?" he asks. "Let's assume that you really aren't dying of 40 terminal diseases, simultaneously. What's your payoff for focusing on this so much?"
"That gives you kind of a fix. That relieves some tension, right?" Dr. Phil inquires. "Has this become a definition of who you are?"
"Sometimes, to some people," Kelly answers.
"No, to you," Dr. Phil says. "This is what you do, right? This is what you think about; this is what you spend your time looking at on the computer. This is who you are and what you do."
"I don't think of myself like that," she says.
Dr. Phil explains that Vicki may have a disorder called somatization. "Sometimes, we have psychological discomfort. I think in your case, it's chronic anxiety. We don't know how to express things through psychological terms, so we convert it into physical: We can have headaches, backaches, imagined symptoms," he says. "We don't
Dr. Phil says that with some professional help, Vicki's condition can improve. "If we reduce your anxiety through psychological channels, you won't need this obsession with physical ailments. You love to go to doctors. Let me arrange for you to see a doctor," he tells her. "That will actually give you some anxiety management tools that will lessen your need to get a fix on the Internet, or a fix with the doctor."
Vicki agrees to accept the help.