It's a known fact that hypochondriacs don't actually get sick because diseases, like money, tend to stay away from people who want it. It's the irony of life. It's why the chain-smoking boozer gets nine lives transplanting his liver or heart before he finally dies of old age and why the Pastor I knew, who didn't smoke or drink, died before he was fifty from lung cancer.
To elude serious illness it seemed safe to be somewhere in the middle - between the McDonald's and soda aficionados and the dehydrated vegans who oddly suffer from ADHD. Clearly, a reasonable compromise is one that considers pizza a food that contains three of the four food groups; add Buffalo chicken topping and voila, you have all four.
Until recently, I treated my body more like a rented apartment than the temple they say it is. The main reason was because I never saw myself as a candidate for cancer. Stress, a prominent factor in developing cancer, is an intelligent person's trait. Smart people know what's going on, they understand the consequences of living recklessly and take their responsibilities to heart.
Me? I'm clueless. Too stupid to catch a cold, they would say in Japan.
But I got my wake up call in the form of an enlarged spleen. I didn't even know what a spleen was and now I was taking orders from it. Suddenly, all the joys of life: iced coffee, beer, steak and Buffalo wings became history. No more summer days lounging in the beer garden or weekend barbecues and cook outs. So long to raw foods which meant sayonara to sushi, salmon roe or a big Cobb salad for dinner.
This is like death row and I'm innocent.
I thought I was too young for this shit to be happening but apparently, I'm just about the right age. Mid-forties, baby. That's when the warranty expires. As if being a woman wasn't hard enough physically, I had to get a good scare to practically stop having fun altogether.
In the in end, I lucked out. My blood work and ultrasound results showed I was in good health. Just needed a kick in the butt and to get quality sleep.
Quality sleep. That's an oxymoron for any parent no matter what age their children are. The restrictive diet, I can handle but a good night's sleep in my household requires team work. Who'da thought?
If my dad were alive today, he'd be silently gloating on his day bed saying, I told you so. He was the Master of Moderation and he never missed a day of exercise. Of course, he had my mom and I paying his bills for him so he could spend two hours at the Y, but that's besides the point.
He had his rules to enjoy life within limits and he never wavered. Even if Satan or Robert DeNiro or Al Pacino tempted him with a luxurious open bar and a mile long buffet, he would find the strength to restrain if it was his "non-debauchery day" and my dad always tried to instill that in me.
"You're a Karate man, Dad. I'm a Rock n' Roll guitarist - there's a big difference." I'd reason.
It took an organ - a small, unsuspecting organ - to drive my dad's lesson home. I could picture him smiling now, where ever he is. The dandy dressed neat-nick with an iron discipline that could be mistaken for O.C.D. or hypochondria. Hope he's happy up there knowing his daughter's got a clean spleen.