You and Your Damned Hypochondria

Hey. Well, just went from a virus to bronchitis. But I’m good! I promise you. The title isn’t about me either.

***

Some time back, when I first was diagnosed with acid reflux, Bryon has some pains in his guts. I thought he was being empathetic, which was a nice gesture, but hardly necessary. Well, Bryon wanted to go to the doctor. I honestly felt he was being a hypochondriac. Bryon has always been very cautious about his health. He is, in general, healthy like an ox is healthy. He has bonus points on his constitution rolls. But you know, sometimes good wives do good wife things.

Turns out he went, he had two precancerous polyps revealed by a colonoscopy, and he got frequent colonoscopy miles for a while because we were keeping up with monitoring. He’s back on a regular schedule now. Nothing to be worried about there.

After that, I told him that hypochondria had my blessing. Any peace of mind visiting the doctor gives is awesome, and you never know when something like this will happen.

***

So. There was last year. This time last year, Bryon and I were fighting a lot. His family needed him to soothe feathers and help in ways he never had before. He was brilliant…and stressed. I had some adjustment issues as well, given my craptastic background, and between pressure with the fam, with the wife, and the usual business of our life, well, let’s just say when the pain started in his stomach this year, our first thought was ulcer. Summer exacerbated the pain because his SiL had a stroke and was in the hospital six weeks. Happily, I went into the crazy person shop last year, and David helped me make some adjustments, so I am no longer part of the problem.

Bryon had a gastroscopy two weeks ago today. He had some biopsies done, because that’s standard procedure. Here’s where life gets a little ironic. Which person do you think would have an abnormal gastroscopy? The spouse who’s been on acid reducers for 13 years combating acid? Or the spouse who just recently had some tummy pain?

Yes, this is the ironic twist. My husband has intestinal cells in his stomach that look…suspicious. Actually, one in four adults do. This could be you, and you don’t know. I mean, I know, because I had another gastroscopy this year. We’re looking for my esophagus and tummy to start missing. That’s called Barret’s Esophagus. He has essentially Barret’s Esophagus, the intestine version.

Well. That was scary at first, because our gastroenterologist’s nurse didn’t do a good job of delivering a message of minimalization and no cause for concern. Life is pretty good, however, when the maid of honor at your wedding went to med school, and I’d really like to thank our friend Diana for talking us down from the ledge. The reality of our situation is this: nothing is new except that we have some interesting cells. This is as far as it could go. OR it could become something else. Genetics, stuff like that, it’s all beyond our control.

It is very unlikely this will become something else. It could be an interesting story. It could be more. It is scary until we get used to it. The current strategy is not to worry until it is something, because right now it is nothing.

Priorities can shift in a heartbeat. Not that I am morbid, but I realize that what you take for granted, what you assume might be there forever, might not be there in a moment. It’s the cliche, live like you might not have tomorrow. But hey, I’m a believer. Bryon and the times we have together has always been number one on my list, but now it’s number one in a way that makes everything else look kind of silly and immaterial.

The take home message? Find what really counts for you, and enjoy it. Go to the doctor, and never talk yourself out of going to the doctor. Always let the people you care about know how much you care about them. If you’re thinking blah, blah, blah, you’re just not listening. You need to listen.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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