Confessions of a Semi-Hypochondriac

For the past couple of months, I have been feeling a discomfort in my right chest cavity. I can’t pin-point the exact location but I feel something like pressure on my ribs. It has troubled me because I haven’t been able to isolate the cause.

Last year, when I felt the same sort of sensation near my sternum, I had my heart checked and there were no significant findings. I did the 2-D echo thing and saw my heart for the first time. I thought to myself, That’s it?! That’s what sustains all the organs in my body? That’s sobering! I also had to do a stress-test which I passed. Yeah! So I ruled out heart problems.

When I began feeling a similar discomfort again and being the slight hypochondriac that I am, I started researching on-line about symptoms and how to detect tumors. I thought, maybe I have a tumor!

This fear was heightened when I found out that a friend of ours discovered she had breast cancer. Then one of my househelp had to go to the province because she had a very hard mass under her armpit.

I expressed to my doctor my concern and when she examined me, she found some nodules. So it was off to ultrasound and mammography for me. Years ago I had both procedures done because I was also worried about nodules. Nothing significant was found. But I thought, I am older now. My body is more weather-worn so it won’t hurt to be sure. 

I value peace of mind. I am the type of person who wants to know what is wrong or what is going on. Understanding only bits and pieces of a problem or issue can make me crazy.

So how did the procedures go? The ultrasound was sticky, cold, and long (well, 20 to 30 minutes). But it was and is a safe procedure for the body, according to the radiologist. An ultrasound looks for cysts which will appear different than breast tissue because cysts appear as dark and round spots on the screen. A sonologist will glide an instrument across the skin (just like when you get a pregnancy ultrasound). Then a radiologist will come in to check and explain what is seen on the screen.  Praise God there were no significant findings! Results were given right away, too.

The mammogram, on the other hand, was very painful. The technician who operated the machine said that women cry when they get this procedure done because of the pain. But if you have felt full blown labor pains, you will do just fine. The procedure is quick, awkward, and strange. They smash you! Let’s put it this way, it is not something I would ever ever want Edric to see me doing. He would be disturbed for life. There were a total of 4 images taken and I got the results a few days after.

Once again, nothing significant was found. Praise God again!

So what is wrong with me? I don’t know. AGE?! Phantom pains due to imagined diseases?

God is teaching me not to worry. I may not be a full-blown hypochondriac. But, I can be a little bit too preoccupied with physical health.  And I think this has transferred to my eldest son, Elijah. I’ve noticed that he has gotten more and more paranoid about his health. He doesn’t hear me talking about ultrasounds, mammograms and breastcancer. But he does hear me say things like, “Did you brush your teeth? If you don’t brush your teeth, you will get cavities. You need to brush your teeth after every meal.” “Did you wash your hands? Your hands are the dirtiest part of your body.” “Did you drink water today? Your body is 70% water. You need to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.” “We shouldn’t eat too many fried things because eating too much oil is bad for our hearts.” “You need to get enough sleep because your body releases growth hormones when you sleep.”  “Did you go outside today? Your body needs sunlight. Without Vitamin D, you can’t absorb calcium.” (I don’t even know if half this stuff is true and why I have to nag my kids about these things. But I must be programming some form of paranoia in Elijah!)

Now, he is the one that says things like… “Mom, my mole is growing, I think it needs to be removed.” “Mom, we ran out of oxygen in the airplane. I had a hard time breathing.” “Do you think I ate too much cholesterol at McDonalds? I had fries, fried chicken, and a burger.” “My gum line is receding and there is plaque stuck inside my gums. I can’t get it out.” “Is this pork? I’m not eating pork.” “There is a pain that radiates from my kidneys to my stomach. Maybe I have UTI.” “Splinter!!! Aaah!!! Splinter!!!”

Whenever he gets this way, I want to tell him, “Relax! Don’t worry!” But wait a second. I am just the same!

So what’s the remedy for semi-hypochondriacs like me (and Elijah)? Philippians 4:6-7.

 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

What a comfort this verse is! It is a promise of peace to all those who surrender their troubles to the Lord. But it also says that this peace of God is found in Jesus. When I was nine years old I made Jesus the Lord and Savior of my life. I entrusted my eternal destiny to him in faith. Because of this, I wasn’t afraid to die. I had a peace the surpassed understanding.

God promises eternal life to all those who have his son, Jesus.

1 John 5:11-12 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.


So do I know what is causing my chest discomfort? Nope. Is that okay? Yes. I’m doing my part to stay healthy and fit and consulting the people I need to find out what’s wrong. But I may not figure out what’s going on with my body. But that doesn’t have to rob me of my peace. Peace is knowing that if something should happen to my physical body, my eternity is secure. And that is what guards my heart and my mind. This is the peace that comes from God, in Christ Jesus! And it is a peace that he offers to everyone…


5 thoughts on “Confessions of a Semi-Hypochondriac

  1. Hi Joy! I can relate with you. Jesus is indeed in control. I experienced that kind of pain before too. And my doctor said it is costochondritis- inflamation of the costal cartilages. He just gave me anti inflammatory and pain meds. After a few days it was relieved. : )

  2. Hi Joy. Ging (Carag) is an “expert” on mammograms. She has undergone the squash things a couple of time but the latest one she underwent wasn’t so bad daw. They didn’t squash as much but got the job done just the same. It was a slightly different procedure. She had it sa medical city.

  3. oh my, so sorry to read about this joy. i pray the Lord will give you wisdom and lead you to a pathway of healing. experienced this many many years back, and turned chronic because i was not addressing it. i neglected my body, and suffered for it. i learned a hard lesson and i am so so glad to know you are taking an active role to identify it, arrest it to cast it out, with the knowledge given to your doctors by the Lord. try to go see a physiatrist, and try to avoid lifting for the moment. eat a lot of anti-inflammatory food… the best natural healing helper from nature. find one that you would like to eat daily… and find the best for you which you can eat daily for now. mine was pineapple and tumeric powder on any meal. i am not a doctor, so go do some research work and discuss with your doctor. you are right… abandon worry to the Lord, for He is teaching you to care for your temple. grace be with you dear, and thanks for sharing your burden. love love love

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