Jeff Pearlman

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Hypochondria

hypochondria

I am dying of colon cancer.

I know it, even though I haven’t been diagnosed as such. My doctor says I probably just have a muscle strain. But she’s wrong—I know she’s wrong.

This is how my brain works—and I loathe it. For the past several months I’ve been experiencing a dull pain in my left groin/stomach area. It occurs mainly when I do physical activity, but I’m aware of it many other times, too. I’ve been told it’s not a hernia or a strainer groin. So I have diagnosed myself—colon cancer.

Over the past, oh, 10 years, I’ve had them all: Colon cancer, testicular cancer, brain cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer. I’ve gone through numb extremities and trouble breathing (which I’ve been experiencing the past few weeks as well). I know I’m a hypochondriac, yet that knowledge in and off itself is not nearly enough. I still think about the latest disease, which is surely eating up my innards. Why, about two years ago I knew—knew—I was going through the early stages of Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

This obviously has nothing to do with sports, but it does have something to deal with my lifestyle/profession. Though being a sportswriter has allowed me the freedom and flexibility to watch my kids grow up, it also leads to much solo time, sitting before a computer, thinking lonely thoughts, plenty of time to google “stomach pain” and “numbness.” I also often think of the Kurt Cobain line, “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not after you.” (He didn’t originate the thought, but it was in a Nirvana tune). I think, “Just because you’re an insane hypo doesn’t mean you have a crippling illness.”

Anyhow, I hate this about myself. Really, really hate. I love life, but bring down so many wonderful, fleeting moments by focusing on my impending illness and death. I drive my poor wife crazy, and fear passing such thinking onto my children.

Advice?

  • Mike d

    just end it bro….whats really yhe point??

  • Phoenix JB

    Medication sounds like a good idea. Did u mean to say
    Just because you’re an insane hypo doesn’t mean you DON’T have a crippling illness.”

  • Jag Desai

    that sucks, but why dont you embrace it. Live life like you are gonna die tomorrow. Cherish the moments you have with your kids and wife. Instead of thinking of what disease you might get or have, pretend you have them already and live life to the fullest. I know its easier said than done.

  • Paul

    I just had the something very similar, thought pretty much the same thing, turns out I am lactose intolerant. Got a good laugh out of it.

  • Ben

    I’m a hypochondriac also. It sucks. Right now I’m just slightly convinced that I have brain cancer. I know i don’t, but what if i do?

    Although it was nice when I was RIGHT for once about it. Had some minor surgery for what was wrong and I’m good as new.

  • http://www.nyrnation.com Ranger Nation

    Xanax is the key to life, but than again, I told you that already. =)

  • AJ

    For someone with Hypochondriasis, there is no simple cure or solution. There are medications that are said to decrease anxiety, but that is not nearly enough. It is not that people who have this condition are imagining anything, it is just a misinterpretation of body symptoms.

    I say, live you life to the fullest. Those who tell you to focus on other things do not understand the complexity of the condition that you have. Work with a therapist (cognitive-behavioral) to help alleviate some of the anxieties and pressures. But try your hardest to stay positive and not let you down.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life