I read a post today at Sara's Organized Chaos about how she's sure she will die of a brain tumor, or breast cancer or an aneurysm. She has good reason for believing these are the things she will die from (Sorry for validating your fears, Sara) because she has family history and crazy headaches. She made me think about my crippling case of hypochondria and be thankful that I don't have any actual symptoms of dying of the things I'm so sure I'm dying of. The following is a list of things I am sure I've almost died from.
1. Cancer - When I was little I couldn't sleep because I was pretty sure I would die of a fast-acting cancer before the morning.
2. Teen pregnancy - I thought I was pregnant pretty much every month since I've first gotten my period when I was 11. Sure, I wasn't sexually active at all, but I thought since I physically had the ability to get pregnant, I probably would in some obscure way and then I'd die of embarrassment and humiliation. There's nothing sadder than a pregnant 13 year old who has never had sex.
3. AIDS - When I first heard about this in the 80's I immediately thought I had it. Again, without being sexually active, or an intravenous drug user (except for that one time I tried heroin behind Mr. Movies)(Just kidding, Mom and Dad!), or a promiscuous gay man. It was a crippling fear even though I knew it wasn't that contagious unless you swapped body fluids with someone. I bought the book The Coming Plague and read it religiously and marked passages and basically scared myself almost to death with AIDS and all the scary diseases around the world.
4. Ebola - I read about that in The Coming Plague too. Yikes.
5. Hanta Virus - Again, thank you The Coming Plague.
6. MRSA - Every time I get a cut I get MRSA (in my mind). I'm really good at fighting it off. (so far)
7. Trench foot - I think I broke my foot once because it hurt for a long time and I thought it was trench foot. It wasn't.
8. Rickets - I might have rickets right now.
9. Ovarian cancer - Because there is no reliable screening to catch this disease early, I'm pretty sure I have it.
10. E.coli - Got a stomach ache? OMG it's got to be E.coli!
11. Milk leg - My friend Pete told me about this disease. It's when a pregnant woman gets deep vein thrombosis in her legs. I didn't know about it when I was pregnant, or else I would have diagnosed myself with it. I think I had it when I was on the pill too.
12. The bends - In high school I once had a contest with a friend to see who could stay at the bottom of the ten-foot-deep pool the longest, just holding our breath. I won. But then I got the bends. I fought hard and beat it.
13. SARS - Our friend Tom bought a stuffed animal for our kids from Hong Kong. He said kiddingly, "Watch out, it has SARS on it!" It really did. I got a very mild-to-no case of it.
14. Ankle sprain - I fell down the last two steps at our house because I was concentrating very hard because I was holding a scissors and a needle and I didn't want to fall and hurt myself. So I fell and hurt myself. It was the worst ankle sprain in the history of ankle sprains.
15. Childbirth - Watching my stomach grow until it was the size of a beachball, knowing the whole time this huge thing had to somehow come out of my body. I was sure I would die. The babies were huge too, but I lived THANKS ONLY TO MODERN MEDICINE!
16. Wisdom tooth pain that really turned out to be abscessed tooth pain/suicide - The tooth wouldn't kill me but the infection probably would have. If I had to live with the pain for one more day I would have killed myself.
17. Bear attack...
This is getting tedious. Let's just sum up by saying I've dodged a LOT of bullets. The list would be shorter if I wrote about what I'm pretty sure I won't die of:
1. prostate cancer,
2. brain tumor.
I don't know why, I'm just not that afraid of brain tumors. I'll have to think about it some more and work myself up into a tizzy. What are you irrationally afraid you will die from?