Adventures in Hypochondria

It’s been said before that I’m a little strange. I can’t exactly deny it, but I prefer the term “quirky” because it makes me sound a little less commitable and a little more adorable. For some reason the quirky thing hasn’t caught on, even with my own Mother, who has called me “weird” on more than one occasion.

One of my many adorable little quirks (it is too adorable!) is that I am a little eensy tinsy bit of a hypochondriac. And by “eensy tinsy” I mean that you should never tell me about any malady you or anyone you know has or I might end up with it. In an adorable, definitely not crazy, way.

I realize on a logical level that it’s completely preposterous for me to think I have random exotic illnesses. But logic has never been my strong suit. At various points in my life, I have been so convinced that I had incurable diseases that I was writing very touching goodbye letters to my children in my head. I was also imagining how sad everyone would be when I was dead, and that maybe my family and friends were invited on Oprah to talk about my brave struggle and what an amazing person I was. I’m not really sure why Oprah would decide to take an interest in me after my death, but inside my brain that’s how it works. My funeral, of course, would be full of people dressed in black, weeping and rending their clothes in grief.

For the record, I am not one of those people that wants everyone to “party” at their funeral and have a great time. No, absolutely not. If you have a great time at my funeral, I will roll over in my grave. I will!!! You be sad at my funeral!!! Unbearably sad!!! Mourn me!!! I’ve actually been contemplating the solemn drama of a funeral pyre. But if any of you dares to turn it into some kind of bonfire funeral party, so help me…

Anyway, as a loving tribute to my hypochondria, I have assembled a list of my top ten absurd imagined ailments. Enjoy!

1. Rheumatoid arthritis. In my defense, the origins were legitimate… I woke up one day when I was pregnant with my youngest and every joint in my body was sore. I went to the doctor and got tested, and the tests came back negative. He was too nice to tell me that it was probably psychosomatic. That’s actually not so crazy… The crazy part of the story comes in where I still sort of believe that I might have rheumatoid arthritis. My next door neighbor told me it can sometimes show up negative on tests even if you have it, so of course that means that tiny rhuematoids are lurking around in my body just waiting for me to let my guard down so they can attack.

2. Brain aneurysm. Every time I get a bad headache I consider going to the ER because I could be having a brain aneurysm. I don’t want to be one of those people who thinks they’re fine and then ends up dead. Then again, I don’t really want to be the crazy lady who shows up at the ER once a week and is sent home with a $700 bill and some Advil either.

3. Heart failure. For a period of about 3 months I was completely convinced that I was in the early stages of heart failure. I would start having “chest pains” and my heart would beat all weird and fast. In fact, I had actually sort of pulled a muscle in my chest when I was sweeping and I was very out of shape at the time so my heart was beating fast. I’m very delicate, ya know.

4. My name is Mandy, and I have adult onset stuttering. Or so I thought. I felt like I was stumbling over my words a lot and, obviously, stuttering. I kept asking my husband and my Mom if I was stuttering and they always said no. I didn’t believe them, so I Googled “adult onset stuttering” every day for a week… As I was reading, it became pretty clear that I wasn’t actually ever stuttering. I came to the conclusion that I talk too much and I need to cut back on my caffeine.

5. Blood clots. Anytime I have a pang or sore spot in my leg I think I have a blood clot that is going to detach and float into my lungs.

6. Detached retina. One of my contacts was blurry the other day and I started freaking out a little bit thinking that my retina had decided to detach. My aunt just had a detached retina so I sort of thought I had caught it from her. I eventually calmed myself down by cleaning my contact and reminding myself that detached retinas are not contagious.

7. Cancer. I’ve been convinced many many times that I had various types of cancer. I know I don’t. However, I am now worried that I have worried about having cancer so much that “The Universe” is going to give me cancer. Thank you Oprah, for the gift of “The Secret.” You made it sound so nice, like if you just thought about the things you want they would land in your lap. I have somehow managed to warp that into a plot that The Universe has against me where if I think about cancer I get it. Stay away from my boobs, The Universe!!!

8. Deadly ticks. I know that ticks aren’t actually deadly, but I always worry that the one that lands on me will be a deadly mutant one. Every time we go up on the mountain, I obsessively check my head for ticks, and one time I found one. It turned out to be a zit, but it was an extremely upsetting five minutes before I figured that out.

9. Broken tailbone. Okay, this one does seem a little crazy, but my backside was super sore. Of course the conclusion I would jump to is broken tailbone and not sore from spin class. Perfectly reasonable. Also, I would like everyone to note my extremely demure use of the word “backside” instead of the other more crass words I actually wanted to use.

10. Ringworm. I was about to have a panic attack over this one, I really was. Is there anything more disgusting than something with the word “worm” in it??? When the puppy we brought home from the shelter started getting some weird skin thing, the vet told us she probably had ringworm. Being the level-headed person I am, I immediately started checking myself and my children for rings. And found one. Or at least, I thought I did. When I went screaming over to my husband and asked him if it looked like I had a ringworm he told me it looked like I had dry skin. So I put some lotion on and it turns out he was right. I have never had a more disgusting ten minutes in my life.

See what I mean? Adorable!!!

I’m sure none of my amazing blog friends (I know we’ve established on multiple occasions that I shouldn’t call you that, but it just feels so right) are hypochondriacs. However, I would like to leave you with this little bit of advice from a very experienced hypo: WebMD is the enemy of the hypochondriac. The end of every paragraph is “and then you die.” It’s better to just think you’re dying than to have it confirmed.

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