3. Penguine Hug Me Good. Please?

I don’t have much time. In 20 minutes from now I have to leave to see my counselor. Which is a relief. Because, I’m currently quite preoccupied with the possibility of cancer.

tumblr_m755efgkv01qery84I saw my lovely lady doctor. She confirmed that there is a little something in one of my breasts, and now I need to schedule an ultrasound. She’s fairly certain it’s just coarse tissue, but who wants to be sorry, when they can be safe? I’m genuinely not that worried. Just this morning I was contemplating the advantage of a flat chest after these years at a DD. Think of the styles I could finally wear!

Whilst in her office, I mentioned my pin-prick-like rash. She thought it was strange and mentioned seeing a dermatologist. I then, of course joked about how one of the causes can be leukemia.

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She proceeded to be the wonderful and thorough doctor she is and asked about the weight loss I mentioned earlier to her.

Dr: Have you been dieting and exercising?
Me: No? I mean, I was unemployed and eating at very inconsistent times, then I started working and eat about every two hours, so I’m hoping I managed to jump-start my metabolism or something. (I forgot to mention that I cut out sugar and dairy, and have been off gluten for a long time before that…)
Dr: Have you seen your general doctor about this?
Me: Well, I’m a hypochondriac, so I really try to be selective in what concerns I take seriously…
Dr: (Polite laughter,) Uh-huh, and any night sweats?
Me: No, not night sweats, but chills?
Dr: Okay, well let’s run a CBC as a preliminary measure.

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Cut to me w/ that terrible rubber band around my arm, flinching as yet another needle goes into my arm to draw blood. Don’t my fears understand that there are consequences?

37990087So now, I wait out the 24hrs of a wild and dangerous imagination whilst my white-blood cell count is investigated. IF it comes back high, then I suppose that’ll be the rabbit hole to more tests.

2.19 – At least a cancer timeline would provide for ample farewell selfies…I mean, on the upside of things…

photoOf all health concerns, I feel rather insensitive fretting about leukemia, as my roommate’s sister (let’s call her Barbio,) has recently been undergoing tests to rule it out. (How insensitive, right?) I wish it could be helped. After all, it’s probably the ‘reality’ of a young woman having it that sparked the consideration on my end. That and the weird rash…meh. The GREAT news, is that Barbio seems to be on the side of some good news–specialists closer and closer to ruling out the big C. HUZZAH.

For all of my fellow worriers out there, facts and statistics never really matter, do they? I have no family history, I’m a non-smoker (except for those binge-packs of cloves in my early 20’s,) I’m young(mostly,) with no previous conditions or disorders…The lack of sleep tho…those accidental spray-paint fumes tho…those six-months of thinking it was great to drink only Distilled water tho (thanks Mom…) etc.
Serious SmokingOn a positive note, my work with my counselor (as of last week,) has seemed to put a little distance between me and the ledge of sheer panic. I’m still full of thoughts and fears about these horrible ‘what-if’ scenarios, but instead of panic and anxiety, I only feel dread and inevitability. So, progress? Yeah, I’ll take what I can get.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, I hope you are well, and feeling held by love today. By a warmth that speaks into those tired and hiding parts of yourself that feel too weak to fight. You are stronger than you know. (In contrast, that sounded entirely cheesy and even a little patronizing. Sincerity. Full stop.)

LisaFrankPenguin

Now, for some lightheartedness…take the Which House of Cards character are you?’ Quizz. *Spoiler alert* I got Zoe. That’s not a good omen for my kind…
House of Cards Quizz

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2nd Dose. Don’t Go Cryin’ To Your Mama. Or do.

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I’m listening to the “Catching Fire” soundtrack as I write this, so it seems only appropriate to post the classic JLaw meme. She gets it guys.

Since Saturday, I’ve had an ‘allergic reaction’ to almost everything. I’ve had ‘the flu,’ and there’s even been a slight possibility of stevens-johnson syndrome (don’t google it.)

In the physical world, (and not in the meri-go-round of crazy that is my head,) my left eye-lid is swollen and infected, and it’s taken me 4-days to get the eye drops I need. Given all of the scenarios that could arouse, I could care less.

In addition, it might surprise you, but it’s been a while since I’ve felt myself up. So, the other night in a leisurely bath (we’re in a drought CA, let’s try to save some water…) I was examining my two front friends, and discovered an unwelcome mass in the right one.

Chances are, it’s a harmless cyst, or a milk duct I’ve never felt before (who knows what’s really inside of those things!) The point is, I scheduled a check-up because I’m due for my annual trip to the box-doc, and now it’s out of my mind. C’MON, it’s like crack for a hypochondriac (of any gender,) yet I’m not stirred to plan for a double mastectomy just yet.

Imagined Threat > Real Threat. Every time.

ImageI’m twenty-six, rather independent and self-reliant (or at least I used to be,) but like clockwork, I called my mommy twice today. (I never call her that, it just seemed fitting.)

Yeah. Everyday. Almost everyday, I call my parents on the weaselly ledge of panic.

Image(This is EXACTLY how I don’t look during these phone calls.)

-1st call was during my afternoon break. I had eaten raw pumpkin seeds and then a Kind Bar (almonds, peanuts, sea salt, dark chocolate, YUM.) I was fine, but then I started feeling bumps in my mouth. I looked in the mirror and they looked like hives. WHAT? Over the phone, my dad tried to console me the best he knows how: By relaying information about the Olympic sporting event he was watching.

-2nd call was as I was leaving work and heading to Target to finally pick up my eye-drops. I was in the car, and a lump I’d felt in my throat earlier seemed to be ascending. Big deal! I was losing it. First I checked my purse to find my plexi-glass straw. Yeah.

You know those re-usable tumblers with the straws? Well, I nabbed a straw and keep it in my purse because in my mind, if my throat actually is closing, I could shove that down and preserve a tiny airway so I don’t go completely brain dead by the time I find myself at the ER. Brilliant, right? I’ll be that girl you read about on BuzzFeed who saved herself w/ a straw…

wrappedstrawsWell, like only a nice one can, good ol’ MomPants helped me rationalize that my throat strain was most likely a result of singing all day Sunday–something my frigid vocal chords aren’t quite used to just yet.

So, thoughts from what is pathetically a typical day.
-My job is getting in the way of being a hypochondriac.
-I feel really bad for people with food allergies–and even worse for people with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. (Still, don’t google it.)
-Who deserves death threats from their immune system anyway?

2.10.14 – Go nuts.
This is how I imagine a party girl would take a selfie if she was afraid of biting it in the club. (Add a low-cut shirt and red lips, and maybe some kids doing lines) Image

The first. Egged.

It’s 8:05 on a Saturday night. I’m listening to M.I.A. in an attempt to get in the ‘zone’ and reassure myself that this blog isn’t as trite as I think it is.

OH, PERFECT TIMING. I just ate a hard-boiled egg, (get over it,) and my throat feels a little funny. (Yeah, ’cause there’s egg residue in it, dummy.) ann-veal-e1347384073649WELL, like clockwork, my lips begin to itch, and I start paying extra close attention to the way my body feels–as if I were experiencing everything through a stethoscope–every unfamiliar sensation suddenly a cause for grave concern. (disclaimer: the tingling lips are more psychosomatic than anything else…panic is a slutty serpent.)

YOU SEE, I am a hypochondriac. And maybe a little OCD, but for now, my counselor (a new OCD specialist who I started w/ last week,) thinks my compulsions are pretty under control. YES. Doing something right. I don’t even like saying “doing something right” though, because it makes it seem as if it’s as easy as a choice, to act normal and feel healthy.

Since it’s my first post, let’s start this off right.

Hi, my name is Beth Fischer, and I used to be fearless.

I grew up in Alaska as a wild tomboy. I played aggressive sports, went hunting, camping, fishing, you name it. I was sick a fair amount as a kid, but never anything that got the best of me. Just a little snip snip to the tonsils and a few ulcers at eight. (Stress-related. First warning sign???) I would tear across frozen lakes on four-wheelers, snowboard, be the first to investigate any creepy sound at a sleepover, and kick it with the best of my fellow adventure-mongers.

tumblr_lj15ypbCHB1qcxxyoo1_250When I was older, I went overseas. I’m not talking docile school trips to Pear-eeeee, but rather months at a time in places like Cairo, Marrakech, Istanbul, etc. My trips overseas brought a lot of challenges, from nearly every man assuming me and my fellow travelers were American-Girls-DTF (thanks TV, you represent women so accurately…) to being led into distressing ‘give me all your money or die in the desert’ situations w/ ‘tour-guides’ and the like, (that’s an exaggeration, but similar scenarios ensued.)

iamlostinthedesertofyourminWas I ever scared? No. Nervous? Not really–maybe planning exit-strategies, but otherwise, I knew how to hold my $h!t together. As well, a lot of my early-twenties (I’m 26, jackass,) included flying ALL the time for work, and now I can’t survive a flight w/out my best gal-pal Vodka. (I tried Xanex for a while, but after I had to start upping the dose, coming off felt like a trip to a theme park–if the park was full of wilder beast emotions.)

Bridesmaid-plane-sceneSO WHY NOW DO I LIVE WITH FEAR?

That’s a really good question.

I’m not going to drown you in my back-story–in my million considerations of why I am the way I am. That’s what I pay a counselor (a surprisingly HIGH amount) for. So then what is the point of this (non-trite…yes, M.I.A. is feeding me purpose-driven-assassin-like-beats,) blog?

During one of the peaks of my panic attacks, (there have been plenty,) I found myself miraculously resisting the urge to look up what HORRIFIC RARE medical condition I was dying from, and instead took to YouTube. There are some terrif, I repeat, TERRIF vlogs out there from fellow PANICKERS.

When you go through something as alienating as this can feel, it can be incredibly relieving to hear it from somebody else. It’s like speaking a language nobody understands, to suddenly stumbling across people of your same dialect. I remember watching this poor girl who was maybe 15. She was in her x hour of her panic attack, had already puked a few times, (what?) and was explaining the way she felt: “You just want to escape from your body, but you can’t.” Seems obvious, but for me, it really helped me verbalize some of the things I’d been experiencing.

Hit it!

So, I’m going to start writing about all of the crazy $h!t I experience whilst in the throes of major hypochondriasis. I mean after all, I’ve pretty much survived everything guys, from multiple blood clots, to brain tumors, to brain aneurisms, to an every day dose of anaphylactic shock, (OH. Just had to skip M.I.A.’s “BAD GIRLS,” my kind doesn’t need to hear “die young” in any context…) to every kind of cancer imaginable, to kidney stones, to new ulcers, to appendicitis, to black widow bites, to radiation poisoning, to TSS, to hypothyroidism, to MS, to….I MEAN give me a break! IT’S SO EXHAUSTING! In case you didn’t realize, those are all of the imagined conditions I’ve been afflicted with in this past year alone. And even though I’m a rather logical person, the threat of my imminent demise from some missed medical crisis overrides any amount of reasoning I might try with myself. SO…

402eaf184fed1516c1e9465fb1cbf31dA while back, when I started experiencing these moments of panic–namely at night–I started taking selfies. Why? Because it seems only appropriate that if every moment of our life is going to be documented, than I sure as hell better have a photo to go out on.

…hence THE LAST SELFIE.

2.8.14 – Let’s hope this spiteful egg doesn’t get me.
For my own anonymity, I’ve barred my eyes out, because no one will EVER be able to recognize me w/out meee eyes!

I hope to write nightly. A little snippet of the many unfortunate episodes of my day. AND if you’re here because you’re going through similar BS, I’m really sorry. It sorta blows, huh? I hear that saying “it gets better” usually makes people feel, well, better…so hang in there pal, ’cause it most likely (like I’m 99.99% sure,) gets better. No, it really does. Or, it can. And I’m here to try to figure that out.

So buckle up (about 4 times,) bring your Purell, an EpiPen (if you have an extra, hook a girl up,) and ride this $h!t show with me. My chain hits my chest when I’m bangin’ on the dashboard. (last M.I.A. reference of the night. But MOSTLIKELY not of my life…if you know what I mean.)

Love,
B.F.