Tuesday, August 10, 2010

hy·po·chon·dri·ac /ˌhaɪpəˈkɒndriˌæk/

Hypochondriasis, hypochondria (sometimes referred to as health phobia or health anxiety) refers to excessive preoccupation or worry about having a serious illness.[1] An individual suffering from hypochondriasis is known as a hypochondriac. Often, hypochondria persists even after a physician has evaluated a person and reassured them that their concerns about symptoms do not have an underlying medical basis or, if there is a medical illness, the concerns are far in excess of what is appropriate for the level of disease.


It seems that a good friend and confidant of mine, and fellow cyclist, thinks that I am one of these.  Personally, I can't imagine having the gall to even say that in jest to someone who, in the past several years, suffered a torn a hamstring racing mountain bikes (proven by an MRI); broke a collarbone riding a mountainbike (proven by multiple x-rays, and with the Accuser riding along with me no less); developed a very rare heart arrythymia which required pacemaker implantation; was found to have pre-cancerous cells on her cervix that were removed by slicing the top of the cervix off with a loop of wire with electical current running through it;  had a saddle sore surgically removed; suffered from hormonal imbalances creating terrible mood swings (proven by blood tests--17 vials in one sitting) which required hormone supplementation to correct; had her leg run over, twice (forwards and backwards) while riding her bike to work by an asshole professional driver who ran a stop sign; had shoulder reconstructive surgery relating to this accident and coded during surgery;  finally got back on a bike and was having a pretty good racing season when she got a rare perineal nodular induration which requires, by one doctors advice, an extended period off the bike. 

I am not sure where, in that litany of bad luck, there was room for interpretation.  What a skilled liar am I, a woman who was able to convince 7 cardiologists, 2 sports med docs, 4 gynecologosts, several surgeons, including one I almost married, and a whole host of physical therapists, chiropractors, and God knows who else that I was making it all up?  How were they able to stick that catheter up through my groin while I lay there awake, stubbornly refusing anesthesia, the tube sliding through my vein like a serpent, flinching when it hit a nerve, and give a diagnosis of second degree heart block?  Had I really fooled them all?

I never allowed myself to feel sorry for myself, never spent too much time wondering why it was happening to me. Shit just happens, I learned.  And I chose, instead of crying about it, to find the irony and humor in it all, and to write about it.  Partly to hone my own craft since I would like to start a novel someday, and partly because I think it might inform others as it took me a year to find out what was wrong, and partly because sometimes it is so bizarre that I, and I think some others, might find it amusing. 

The problem is it seems that by doing this I have confused my friend into thinking that somehow I enjoy all of the attention. That I would not change it if I tried, or at least not until I had milked it as much as I could.  He made a comment a few weeks back that he was afraid I would give up cycling if I no longer had a coach.  My response was that there was a better chance of his Cat Oneness giving up cycling than for me to.  I have struggled to get back on my bike any chance I could get, but that did not stop him from warning me today to make sure I periodically got back in the saddle so I could make sure this induration was really a problem, as if I would just accept the death sentence of six months to a year off my bike without questioning it.  I guess I should have wondered, at the time, why he told me that, me of all people.

Right now I am running, weight training, and soon will be swimming, because I don't wallow in pity, I adapt.  I know I must keep my body in motion to stay well, and I do it.  I laugh about my misfortunes, and I have become a damn good storyteller, but that does not mean I did not cry this saturday morning when we got a beautiful sunny, breezy day with low humidity and TSV was riding to Doylestown and I had to run for an hour on Forbidden Drive instead.

So for those of you who think I am a hypochondriac, I hope you don't get hit by a car while riding, or struck with a strange disease brought on by a common cold virus, but if you do, I promise I will be compassionate and not rub salt in your wound.   Because it happens to the best of us, and those who survive these things are the strong ones who have learned not to take an ignorant comment from a loose lip too seriously.

2 comments:

Captain Insano said...

Geez, over-react much?

andrea walheim said...

put yourself in my shoes for one little millisecond....just one