Memoirs of a Medical Mystery Volume 1: The Troubling Tales of a Mild Hypochondriac


So I have a mysterious swollen lump on my neck. I don't know what it is, I've been to both an urgent care and a dermatologist who don't know what it is, and I look like a hunchback. See below: IMG_1254

Here's what I do know: it's swollen, it's roughly 5cm x 6 cm big, there's a 99% chance it's benign, and I've now had 1 too many steroid shots to the hip and 3 too many anti-inflammatory shots to the neck than I'd ever liked to have. Also, I'm mildly a hypochondriac.

I'm not a hypochondriac in the sense that a missed high-five to the face gets me screaming irreversible brain damage; I'm a hypochondriac in that I don't understand medicine whatsoever, so when I do get unfamiliarly sick, significantly injured, or develop mysterious swollen bumps in places, I absolutely freak. the fuck. out. Not out loud, but in my mind. Since I got the bump about 3 weeks ago, I've spent pretty much all of my conscious time stressed and anxious about said bump, which typically doesn't bode well for a person's health. So, since I got the bump 3 weeks ago, I also got a cold, which has since gone away, and acid reflux, which has not.

The logical explanation for all of this? At some point in the past month, I hit the back of neck, forgot about it (something I actually do to all my other extremities a lot), and then got really stressed out by not knowing what it was (despite being told it was benign multiple times) causing stress-induced acid reflux (which I've had multiple times before, not the stress induced-part, but the acid reflux part).

What did I actually assume happened to me? All of these.

Bug bite

This was the first logical assumption--deathly cancer came in first overall. I assumed it after my friend and the person at urgent care told me to.


I didn't know what an abscess was until my friend who noticed the bump explained one to me. Then I assumed it was an abscess until the woman at urgent care told me it wasn't. I went out on a limb and trusted her opinion more.


Another one of the things my friend listed off as a possibility so I would stop assuming it was deathly cancer.


Those bumps under the swelling (my spine) can't possibly be my spine (they are), so they have to be tumors right? Not at all.


I'm fully aware that cancer is a tumor, and yet this thought still popped into my mind. I've also been told numerous times (by both medical professionals and farthest-thing-from-professionals) that anything malignant wouldn't just pop up out of the blue that fast and with no other symptoms, but we're still here aren't we.

Multiple cancerous tumors

I've watched too much House in my lifetime.

Some sort of something that requires surgery on my neck, which would be botched, leaving me paralyzed for the rest of my life

This one came right after deathly cancer while waiting in line at Disneyland for Tower of Terror, my absolute most hated ride of all time.


For all you plebes out there, a lipoma is a benign tumor made of fat. Sexy, I know. My friend's friend's mom diagnosed me via text.


Heart attack

Every time I get a cold, my heart beats a little faster than usual to fight le virus. Since I had le neck bump I forgot all about le virus, and assumed le accelerated heart rate was le death of me. It only took me about a day to figure that one out. Then I got acid reflux. Again, I didn't make the connection that I had acid reflux, so I assumed the nausea, heartburn, and chest discomfort were a heart attack. And then a day later I also figured that one out.


My only reference point for what happens during a stroke is what I saw on an episode of Family Guy. Since Peter got his from eating too many cheeseburgers, I'm assuming it has something to do with your heart. Somehow I made a leap from that to heartburn, which I'm fully aware doesn't actually have anything to do with your heart.

Blood clot

Something has to cause the heart attack.

Deathly air bubble in my esophagus

Part of the sex appeal of acid reflux is a combination of excess stomach gas that needs to be burped out, and an uncooperative esophagus that refuses to burp--hence perpetual air bubble. I once saw an episode of CSI where a guy killed another guy by injecting an air bubble into his eye, which is basically the same thing, right? This is why I can't have nice things.

Deadly ulcer in my esophagus

Once I recognized the acid reflux, I remembered that acid from your stomach isn't supposed to hang out outside your stomach. I'm assuming it takes more than a few days for an ulcer to form, but I don't really know ulcers work.

Deadly ulcer in my stomach

I seriously don't know how ulcers work.

Dry drowning

I've been swimming once in the last 3 months.

Heart murmur

I heard a contestant on Big Brother say they had one and automatically assumed it would be life threatening if I got one. I still don't know what it is.

In my defense, I got the flu freshman year and was the only one that didn't freak out when I had symptoms mirroring bacterial meningitis. Those fucking hypochondriacs...