I hate being a hypochondriac. I HATE it. I try so hard…I really do. Every night I tell myself that tomorrow is going to be better and I’m not going to worry. And then…
So my day starts out with me immediately thinking that something is wrong when I wake up. I usually don’t know what it is…I just know that something is probably wrong. I pee and have to check the color to make sure that it’s not related to that. The same thing happens with #2, only I don’t worry about just the color I also look at the shape and every aspect of it. (I thank Dr. Oz for this fun daily ritual. He posted a poop chart on his website and explained all of the maladies that you can diagnose based on the color and consistency of your shit! Thanks Oz!) Then I sit and check my phone for a while and just listen to my body. I make sure that nothing hurts, nothing feels weird.
While I’m dressing I’m checking all of my parts by touch. I want to make sure there isn’t a lump somewhere that I haven’t noticed yet. I check the color of my skin, the size of my breasts, and make sure all my freckles and moles don’t look different than they did yesterday. If there’s anything that I’ve been worried about specifically I will spend minutes going over it again and again to make sure there aren’t any changes and that it still the same. More than once my husband has interpreted this little dance as an invitation for him to “check” my body too.
I don’t like watching certain television stations through out the day because they show too many cancer related commercials. I will mute the t.v. or change the channel if one comes on. I can’t watch anything with an actor that died from cancer. I stopped watching Jeopardy one day because Patrick Swayze was an answer to a question. This really sucks because I used to love watching Dirty Dancing…and who doesn’t want to pump themselves up on a Saturday with a viewing of Roadhouse, amiright? If I’m in a conversation with someone and they bring up a relative or someone they know with cancer I leave the conversation, or try to change the subject. If I’m checking Facebook and someone posts about cancer I unfollow them and hide the post. It’s not that I don’t care about other people’s issues or relatives or friends…it’s that if I stay and listen I’ll obsess endlessly over what they’ve told me and talk myself into having it.
If I begin to feel hot at all I take my temperature…and then do it again and again to make sure I don’t have a fever. If something hurts or feels weird or looks strange I will google it for hours sometimes to find out what I’m dying from, probably cancer. I’ve spent all day before googling symptoms to determine what something is only to leave myself in tears. I keep searching thinking that I’m going to find something comforting soon that tells me I’m fine, but the reality is that never happens. I begin to google and my chest starts tightening, my breathing becomes shallow, and sometimes I’ll break out in a cold sweat. Even writing this post right now is starting to trigger some fear and worry.
The worst part is being surrounded by people and having this internal panic going on all day. Everyone around you is going about their lives, and they seem happy, and they chat and are friendly…I’m over here secretly dying and I can’t say anything. I just have to fake smile, and nod, and say “mm-hm” every once in a while, all the time I’m only thinking about the thing that is killing me. I’ve canceled plans with friends because I couldn’t bear to be around them while they were chatting and laughing and I was struggling.
As I lay down to bed I pray and ask God to take away the awful thing in my body that is killing me. I beg him to let me live a long and happy life and to see my kids grow old. And then sometimes when I fall asleep I even dream about health issues and problems.
The next morning I wake up and start over.