Diagnosis: Hypochondria

November 19, 2004
Ok folks – don’t know if I’ve mentioned before that I have a bit of problem with hypochodria. Defined as: the persistent conviction that one is or is likely to become ill, often involving symptoms when illness is neither present nor likely, and persisting despite reassurance and medical evidence to the contrary. Also called hypochondriasis.

Now – I suppose the “illness is neither present nor likely” part is debatable – but being said hypochondriac – you would expect me to say something like that.

However – the worst (best?) thing that could EVER happen to a hypochondriac is to not only diagnose oneself with cancer, but then find out that the diagnosis is absolutely correct – down to the form of cancer. (Hodgkin’s Disease). Which is what happened nine years ago.

Hmmm – now that I think about it, I don’t really know if it’s hypochondria so much as a fear that illness will continue to visit me – as it has in the past – and the (almost) yearning for that sick little knock on my immune system door (Hello? Acute appendicitis calling? Anyone home?) See- to most people, acute appendicitis means pain and suffering and surgery and all sorts of things that they want to avoid – but for me it means – making friends with kindly hospital attendants, visitors, flowers, cards, sympathy, time off of work, painkillers, hours of daytime tv, possible extreme weight loss with little or no effort and – oh yeah, some pain and suffering. See – there’s something wrong with that.

I’m not going to go into the entire liturgy – because I’m saving it for my upcoming memoir “Ginger Ails: Bad Hair Year” so you’ll have to pay for it – but I will say that in the course of the last two hours, I just may have diagnosed myself with Angina Pectoris. Defined as: Severe constricting chest pain, often radiating from the precordium to the left shoulder and down the arm, due to insufficient blood supply to the heart that is usually caused by coronary disease. Also called stenocardia.

Or I could be having panic attacks. But I don’t think so. To further back up these claims, I did a little more online research on the effects of radiation on the heart and whaddya know – “angina pectoris (AP)” popped up more than once. In fact, I just read a case study about a 19 year old Hodgkin’s patient who developed AP 5 years after radiation to her chest. Interesting.

Why am I like this? Why?

Anyway – my other theory was adult onset asthma. Though I will admit that my allergy diagnosis last year definitely aided in me noticing my allergies a lot better. Power of suggestion. Yuck! I hate to admit how weak my mind is!

So – last night I cleaned like a madwoman – stirring up all manner of dust – which I’m allergic to. And so – these little particles could have very well situated themselves in my lungs – causing them to inflame and thus, that could have been the reason why every time I tried to breathe last night (only after Chad got home) I had intense pain in my chest and lungs. I thought maybe it was a panic attack – the excitement of seeing him – but I don’t know. It’s never happened before. He’s gone away and come home and I haven’t had gripping chest pain and the inability to take deep breaths without feeling like knives were in my lungs.

It was better this morning. Not totally, but a bit.

Of course then I have to read about the whole left shoulder pain thing – in association with the AP – and my shoulder has been hurting like HELL for months!!! Especially this week. I would like to find a diagram online where I can click on the part of my shoulder that hurts and have a little box pop up and tell me what could be causing the pain (in addition to the angina pectoris). I wonder if such a thing exists.

Anyway – so Chad is home!!! Hurrah!!! I’m so glad that he’s back. I really missed him. AND although my chest hurt after cleaning – my body felt rejuvenated just to be moving around so much again. Made me miss the gym.

Well – guess I will go for now. I’m trying to wait and allay all of these fears at the doctor next Wednesday. He’ll probably just think I’m crazy –which leads me to another interesting point. You know – wouldn’t the doctor that was responsible for “curing” you, naturally not want to find anything else wrong with you? Because wouldn’t that mean that he would have to admit failure to himself?

Hmmm . . . interesting.

11:06 a.m. ::
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