I’m A Hypochondriac & You Should Be One Too!

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For years I’ve heard the word ‘hypochondriac’ flung around the place every time I voiced a suspicion regarding my health. It seems (and always has seemed) to me that the general population has the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ attitude when it comes to their bodies. In a world where people living past 100 becomes more and more commonplace, my peers seem to continually insist upon their own youth.

Unlike my peers, I am a pessimist when it comes to my health. They believe their bodies would never do anything to hurt them, where as I view my body like a snake in a cage: just one earthquake and inevitable power cut away from killing me in my sleep. They read stories about a woman drinking and smoking on her 105th birthday. I read stories about a thirty year old mother of two, dying of breast cancer a day before her thirty-first birthday.

I can thank my pessimistic attitude for keeping me sharp….and also, for keeping me alive.

If my body was a snake in the cage, I always considered my breasts to be the snake’s fangs. Perhaps because of their size and the general annoyance they’ve always been to me, I assumed my demise was going to be breast cancer. When Angelina Jolie took the pre-emptive strike a few years ago by undergoing a double mastectomy, I called my aunt who is a doctor (and also a breast cancer survivor), and asked if she thought I should get a double mastectomy too.

Her answer put me on the path that has led me to today. She said that I shouldn’t worry about breast cancer because the only two cases of breast cancer that she was aware of in our family history, occurred in her and my older cousin, who were both older and had never had children. What I should worry about, she told me, is Colon Cancer. The instances of colon cancer on both sides of my family were certainly cause for concern.

Still….I was young. Only 31! There was no need for me to worry about colon cancer at such a young age.

Well, being the ‘hypochondriac’ that I am, I worried about it for a few months, then I set up an appointment to do a colonoscopy. My parents rolled their eyes. My friends told me I was crazy. The world took a collective sigh and shook their heads at my neurosis. One friend actually told me to find a hobby!

Fortunately, I don’t give a rats ass about the world and where they sigh and what they do with their heads.

I went in yesterday for my colonoscopy at 31 years old, and after the sedative wore off, I was told that the doctor removed a pollup. For those unfamiliar with colon cancer, it is 100% preventable with regular colonoscopies. However, if the pollups grow unchecked, they can develop into colon cancer. My parents were shocked. They’d both had colonoscopies and never had a pollup. My friends were surprised. My husband barely slept at all last night, worried sick about what would’ve happened had I not been a hypochondriac.

The best thing that I could’ve ever done was ignore the entire world and insist at my ‘young’ age on getting a colonoscopy. I have potentially speared myself a very painful, young death.

So here is what I have to say to you: Your doctor does not know your body. They see you once every year or so, and they forget you as soon as you leave. Your health is YOUR responsibility. If you think you need to look out for certain things based on your family history, and your doctor gives you resistance, then go to another doctor. Do you have any idea how many doctors I have? As soon as one tries to dissuade me or dismiss me as a hypochondriac, I go to another. Who gives a crap about what they think? You are the one who is going to suffer, not them.

I am a hypochondriac and you should be one too. If not for yourself, then for your loved ones.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE, I ALSO WRITE SOME PRETTY FUNNY BOOKS: DATING FOR DINNER, THE NEW YORK CATCH, THE NEW YORK SOCIALITE, THE NEW NEW YORK, NEW YORK SERIES (3-IN-1), RED ROCK CAFE, MIDLIFE WIFE

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