I have an abnormal pain in my right arm.  It feels bruised on the inside of my elbow, but it doesn’t look bruised.  And when I straighten my arm, it feels like the tendons are stretching.   Today, my hand has started to get the tingles.   After a lot of thought, worry and internet searching, I have come to only one, logical conclusion: my arm is going to have to be amputated.

In college, I discovered a small, pea-sized lump on my neck.  I had never seen anything like it.  I called my Mom immediately in tears to get her diagnosis.  She told me it was most likely a swollen lymph node.  I had seen my swollen lymph nodes before when I had a sore throat, and they never looked like a pea.  They were much bigger.  My mom was wrong.  I needed expert advice so naturally I turned to Google.

SEARCH:  pea-sized lump on neck

A single tear rolled down my cheek as I inhaled sharply.  I knew it.  I have cancer, I told myself.  I stared at the computer mentally preparing for the next search.

SEARCH:  symptoms of lymphoma

Oh god.  Oh god.  I have every symptom.  I panicked.  I started pacing the room, turning in circles in confusion waiting for my roommate to get home so I could collapse in tears.

The problem with a diagnosis on the internet is that it’s like a horoscope.  It is so vague that it can be applied to anyone’s life.  It’s very disconcerting.

While I was at work today, I searched for phrases that describe my current ailment.  I also called my parents on my way home to get their thoughts (pinched nerve).   And while, I can’t find anything or anyone that thinks this is something I am going to die from or lose my arm from, I just can’t believe them yet.  It’s too soon.  How do they know for sure that it isn’t a tumor or a hidden flesh eating bacteria?  That’s right, they don’t.

So I have started to mentally prepare for life with one arm.

I made a list of all of the things I will miss about having two arms.  Some of them include the small joys of life like opening a can with a traditional crank can opener, holding a beer in my hand while using my other hand to throw bags into a hole, typing real fast and tying my shoes.  But of all of the things I thought of, I kept coming back to one; it’s one of my favorite things in this world – a big, two armed hug.  I will miss it tremendously.

So as I prepare for this impending life change that will most likely never happen, I can’t help but steal glances at Tom.  He’s going to get one hell of a hug tonight and tomorrow and the next day and the next day because I have no idea how much longer I’ll have my right arm.  And life is too short to live like I only have one.


2 thoughts on “Paranoia

  1. I can totally get this 🙂 I had a chest pain the other day, decided to check symptons online and after answering a few questions, I was told to call an ambulance immediately 🙂 They thought I was having a heart attack 🙂 Went to the doctors the next day, after panicking for the rest of the night, but it turned out it was a chest infection 🙂 Sometimes google is not very helpful 🙂

  2. This is a common occurrence of healthcare workers too, knowing and seeing too much, and thinking that every ailment is something much worse than it is. I have diagnosed myself with cancer more times than I can count, and yet I am still alive 🙂

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