The Hypo Within

Have had a very rough few days, being a hypochondriac and all.

For about a month I’ve been suffering left-side headaches, coupled with some recent nausea (just a little; no vomiting). Last night, for the first time in forever, I couldn’t sleep. Head hurt but, mostly, my thoughts were running crazy. I have a brain tumor. I’m going to die. My kids won’t remember their father. They’ll have to visit me in the hospital to say goodbye. Over and over and over—thoughts, thoughts, thoughts. I tried thinking positively; tried using imagery—a lake, a basketball court, my childhood street. Nothing worked. Death, death, demise, demise. Finally I got up, walked downstairs and, around 3:50 am, turned on the TV and watched some Real Sports on HBO. Went back to bed a half hour later … probably got three hours of sleep.

This is not how I want to be, or who I want to be. Even if I do have a tumor … even if I am dying—I don’t want to cower; don’t want to waste my days under the covers, wishing away my inevitable demise. I’ve gone through this drill so many times, and it sickens me. Even worse, it sickens my family. Stress. Annoyance. Whatever.

Anyhow, this is why I have a blog—to vent.

I’m venting.

The thing that kills me is this—I’m blessed. Beyond blessed. Amazing family, so much love, living the life I dreamed of; doing the job I absolutely cherish. And yet, this one thing—this one seemingly inescapable thing—haunts me. It’s not death … it’s the hypthetical looming of death. Which, ironically, will cease when I die.

Fuck.

8 thoughts on “The Hypo Within”

  1. Have you experimented with different OTC meds? Ice packs? Alternating cold and hot packs — on your head AND your neck? Chiropractic?

    With the one-sidedness and the nausea, I still bet on migraine. If it’s migraine, tylenol or advil won’t do you much good. Three aspirin washed down with caffeine may help, since migraine is a function of blood vessels.

    I’m sorry you’re stressing.

  2. That’s so miserable. I know you’ve talked about therapy in the past…what’s your take on medication for the issue? Not that I know anything about anything, but it sounds like low-to-moderate-level OCD. You rationally know, or suppose, that the symptoms aren’t cancer, but you can’t get the obsession out of your head. A low dose Rx isn’t going to “cure” the obsession, but it at least will give you a fighting chance to put it away.

  3. I just love your style of writing..and you’re right, you are blessed and you’re alive..and if you were dying of a brain tumor, would you want your kids/wife to see you wallow under the covers for your last days? Go get some meds, see a shrink..but get it, you AIN’T dying..YET..I mean sure, one day, we all will but when that day comes, guess what? We won’t have time to have it “loom” b/c we’ll be DEAD!! So don’t let the thought of being dead consume the living part of you. Go to the Doc, get a brain scan, get a fucking body scan, do something so that you’re not chasing your own tail at 3:50am..Shit man, GO LIVE!

  4. Jeff,

    I understand your health anxiety. I’ve been dealing with mine since I was in my early twenties. It’s a disorder that comes and goes as you already know. I heard of two doctors who study and treat hypochondria at Columbia hospital named Arthur Barsky M.D. and Brian Fallon M.D. Both had written helpful books. If you live near that area, it would be a good step forward if you are able to contact them.
    I noticed that reassurances are short lived and being scolded to have a life and go live, is pretty useless to a hypo and makes them feel more isolated. The only people who understand are other suffers.

    Good Luck and I know everything will work out.

  5. I would agree with the migraine suggestion.
    My sister lost her sight. Went to the Dr. he said migraine. She told him her head didn’t hurt. He said migraines don’t always cause a headache.
    My ex had migraines with a headache a lot. She stressed about everything.
    I really think you need to let your book critics go. You stress way to much about what you can’t control.
    I went to a seminar about 30 years ago. The guy had a good point:
    Who Owns the Problem?
    A jerk is going to be a jerk when he is done with you. He will be a jerk with many people. It is his problem, not yours. All you can do is be the best you can be, and learn to let the hate roll off your back. You will not change these guys.

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