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What is Wrong With Me?

I'm dying. We all are. Yes, we are living, breathing beings yet from the time of our birth into this world we are aging and moving decades, years, months, weeks, days and minutes toward our last day on earth.

Several years ago I started to have small panic attacks about dying. It happens at the most random moments, but most often while driving. I think it's because my mind wanders when I'm alone in the car and somehow settles on the fact that some day I'm not going to be doing this anymore. This life. I start to hyperventilate and sweat until I calm myself down by thinking about the fact that I didn't care what happened before June 26, 1978 and I'm not going to care about what happens after I die. I won't even know that I'm supposed to care, right? I hope my spirit carries on in some way but I figure it's most likely to be in the thoughts of others rather than some translucent version of myself that contacts my loved ones via Jennifer Love Hewitt.

I'm not sure if my concern about dying has turned me into a hypochondriac or if this is just my nature. The kid on the playground pretending to break bones was my brother not me. I may have put the Ace bandage on my ankle once or twice, but most of the time I wasn't too concerned with being ill because I was too busy having fun. As an adult, I'm much more frequently concerned with my health. First, it was the pebble size lump in my neck my mom spotted. I spent several weeks thinking it was lymphoma cancer before going to the doctor and finding out it was NOTHING. Then there was the weird mark on my face the doctor noticed that had to be biopsied. Yep, you guessed it, NOTHING.

In more recent times it was the numb arm that the doctor suggested was a mini-stroke. I almost had a mini stroke at the clinic when she asked me if I wanted a "call or a letter if it's bad news." No lady, why don't you just leave me a message on my wall on facebook because I check that every day plus, that way everyone will know and I won't have to tell them myself. I haven't even heard yet why my arm is going numb and now it's chest pains. It started under my left breast about a week ago. Now, it has radiated around to my cleavage and up to my breastbone, above my heart. It burns and aches all of the time.

I've felt for lumps so many times that my breast has gotten more action over the course of the week than it did my entire senior year when I dated an eager sophomore. It must be a heart attack then. Guess I'll take some aspirin and hope I don't keel over.

I'm fixated on these ailments. I think about them at least every five minutes if not more. The thought it followed by panic. Who will teach Caroline to use a tampon if I die? Will she get married? What will she look like as an adult? Will Andy get married (this is when the translucent version of myself will come in handy so I can haunt him and his new bride.) What song should they play at my funeral? What outfit would they put me in? Oh, that's right I want to be cremated. What if I'm not dead but I can't move and they burn me alive?

What is wrong with me? Then again, maybe I'm not so abnormal, it's just that I'm getting older and more aware of the cycle of life. Maybe it's because I thought my dog had strep throat and instead she had lymphoma cancer and died a month later. Maybe it's because two of my friends lost their parents to sudden death. Maybe it's because I had to read the caption four times in the class notes section of my (employer) school's alumni magazine, "So and so, class of 2005, celebrated her wedding last July. Her brave six-month battle with cancer took her life in December at the age of 25." Maybe it's because death is out of our control and all we can do is live our lives.

Maybe it's because I hate to miss a party and this party is just way too fun.


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