Welcome to, Tales of a Hypochondriac with a Terminal Disease
by Heather Moana
I have been a hypochondriac for as long as I can remember. THAT is why I was incredibly pissed that I actually missed my own cancer diagnosis until it was stage IV and now terminal. Seriously? Apparently I was a shitty hypochondriac.
Remember the movie “My Girl” where tomboy Vada Sultenfuss (played by Anna Chlumsky) made her friends take her to the doctor all the time. Well I wasn’t that cute of a tomboy and I didn’t make people take me to the doctor ALL the time, and my best friend wasn’t killed by bees, but we had A LOT in common I thought. I very much identified with her.
My mom used to have these two huge medical diagnosis books. The WebMD of the times. I used to go through those books all the time. I had all the symptoms SO I MUST HAVE PROSTATE CANCER! Glad I didn’t go to the parents with that one. I did have another time when I was 12 and we were visiting my aunt and uncle in Riverside, CA so I didn’t have my books with me. I had taken a shower and I can’t remember what prompted the big cancer scare, but for some reason I was convinced I had it. I was shampooing my hair bawling my eyes out because I was going to die. Of course by the time I toweled off and blew my hair dry everything had passed. I actually kept my diagnosis suffering mostly to myself. On some level I did know I was being a little crazy and of course if I just wait it out, the symptoms almost always went away
Now here we are and I have it. The big C. So you’d think I could just relax now, right? I mean, I have it, it’s terminal, there’s really nothing more I could get that should cause me any more anxiety, right?
So now I have symptoms ALL THE TIME. I mostly try to blow it off and wait for it to pass because most of them do, but some don’t. Some take me to the ER. So how do I not feel like I’m 3 sneezes away from Hospice all the time? ARGHHHH! It can drive one totally mad sometimes.
Every time I start to have a new pain, fever or pretty much anything out of the ordinary, I start to panic and wonder if this is the start of the end. Do you know what that does to me? And again, I keep that part of my hypocondriacness to myself.
I’m writing this because tonight I’ve had a fever most of the night of 102. Not good for me. Technically I’m supposed to go to the ER when it’s that high for a period of time. So now I feel like the doctors themselves, while trying to be cautious, are exacerbating my hypochondriac ways.
I’m also writing this tonight to finally put it out there. To admit my tendency to not just overthink things, but mentally send myself to an early grave regularly. I do see the humor in it so it’s OK to have a laugh with me. Or perhaps you suffer from this too. Give me a shout and we can chat about it.