How About Some Sympathy?

lonely man at beach

Weight loss is a serious concern for millions of people all over the world, as you know only too well, but what you don’t know is that weight loss is becoming a serious problem for me as well, not because I am plump, portly, chubby, blubbery, pinguid, elephantine, or fat, no, I have never been so, but because my clothes have all become too large for me – they flutter about me like flags on a windy day – and where is all that rice and pasta going (?) I wonder because I eat well, at least three times a day, plenty of calories and proteins and fruit and vegetables too, and I lead a mostly domestic existence, that is to say, my fundament is good friends with chairs, and I don’t exert my body beyond agreeable daily walks around the neighborhood and trips to the supermarket to purchase food, and the worst part is that now that spring has settled in my little town and country and that a flood of sunlight has washed away winter’s cold and the flowers are blooming and the women start leaving more and more of their clothes at home I can no longer hide behind my padded winter jacket and so I cannot help but feel self-conscious and a little distressed, especially when it comes to being around people, and I am not panicking, no, I am calm, I breathe in and breathe out, I know I am not trapped in my body, I am life without boundaries, I am a beautiful mind, I am the adjective free, but it’s as if my metabolism has lost its logic and imagine how it must feel to want to go out and meet people and make friends and be around certain people and your clothes to refuse to accompany you and your mirror to throw you a depressing reflection, and so to sigh and lock the door and draw the curtains and hide in your room, where you are safe from other people’s eyes, from curiosity and pity, where you can write and write and write and forget your body and your own existence…

I have been losing weight unintentionally for many months now. There are many, many possible diseases that can cause weight loss, some physical and others psychological, but when there are tiny swollen lymph nodes in the neck as well and no infection, it may well be cancer, and no, I am not being dramatic. I suggested this to the doctors I saw last year, and some thought I was exaggerating, while the others looked uncertain and uneasy at the prospect of discussing such a matter with a twenty-three year-old. The results were inconclusive: blood tests were quite normal, nothing pained me, and whatever symptoms I had were quite vague. I suggested a lymph node biopsy but was told that was not the case. I myself did not know what to think anymore. I went home waiting for something (bad) to happen, resolved to enjoy the benefit of the doubt.

During the winter months I was able to pretend nothing was wrong and function normally, be quite active outdoors, take photographs, even meet some interesting people. But now spring is here and the winter clothes are in the wardrobe and I don’t think I can pretend anymore, not unless I completely isolate myself from the world and stop leaving my room, which is a tempting idea, but which I fear would only delay the inevitable. Something is wrong with my body, but I am not quite sure what. Could it be lymphoma? Hodgkin’s? Non-Hodgkin’s? Some insidious type of neck cancer? A tricky brain tumor? Bone marrow cancer? I shall visit doctors next week and insist on doing some scans and then, if necessary, a biopsy as well, and I’ll let you know whether I am, theoretically speaking at least, dying at a faster rate than you, for I must remind you that we were all diagnosed with death when we were born into this giddy world.

I am afraid of pain and of hospitals, like all of us are, and especially of becoming a cancer patient, but such a possibility has been at the back of my mind for quite some time now and in a way, I feel I have gotten used to it. Why me? Why not? After all, both my father and my grandmother died from cancer, and if I look back at my life, I have certainly not have had the healthiest of lifestyles, not that such a disease is necessarily explainable.

Nothing sobers a man and clears his mind and helps him review his life better than the prospect of facing a serious disease that threatens his own existence. Oh, imagine the literary inspiration that such a situation would give rise to! Not to mention that perhaps nothing can benefit a young writer’s career better than an untimely death, though of course I have no intention of meeting Lady Death anytime soon.

A great curiosity overwhelms me. I am eager to get to the bottom of my medical mystery. If you are curious to learn what befalls me, please do return here for updates.

31 thoughts on “How About Some Sympathy?

  1. Stress, depression, anxiety and poverty bring on mass weight issues. I wouldn’t be so hard on a weightless need to begin with.

      1. I once met a mother, doing my job as a health visitor, who lost a lot of kilos as we say without doing anything for that. It showed up she had trouble with metabolism and got good help

  2. My prayers, as always, my hopes and good wishes are with you – boy with a hat.
    I feel your worry, distress, and am distressed along with you.
    I hope it is nothing, but more so that the doctors, this time,. are with you in determining a diagnosis and help. Randy

  3. I’m really sorry your worries of last year have returned in full force Vincent. I followed that journey with you with all my fingers crossed and thought we’d cleared the last hurdle. I agree weight loss is a problem to worry about but would stress, try not to look at the worst scenario first. There are other causes for weight loss. I now it’s really difficult to keep ones thoughts in check at this time so I hope the hours fly by until your doctor’s appointment.
    I will be with you on this journey too and as always my fingers will remain crossed for a simple explanation which is easily treatable.

  4. I am anxious to know what befalls you. The hypochondriac dwelling inside me was so tempted to ask Old Man Google about your symptoms but I slapped it’s nasty little claw away because I don’t know you and you live across oceans and mountains and it is just as unlikely as it is likely that you do have cancer. Hopefully it won’t be anything malignant. It is so easy to worry about such things, but I do hope that you do stay happy and hearty. Sending warm wishes over to you.

    1. I think that the good thing about being a hypochrondriac is that you’re not likely to be surprised whatever the doctor tells you. 🙂 Actually, even if it’s malignant, I could get away relatively easy with a lymphoma of some kind or another, preferably Hodgkin’s. (No, don’t search!) Many forms of cancer, especially in a young person, can be considered chronic diseases. One can live with them.

  5. Maybe you burn through calories with your brain… 🙂

    On the more serious side; I think I have a very high metabolism because I literally eat packets of biscuits and chocolate and junk food and yet I’ve only put on about 2 stone in the last few years. I can’t seem to put on much weight either…

    I hope you’re like me and just happen to have a high metabolism. If it is something more serious, I wish you all the best in curing it.

      1. While I encourage others to be healthy, to be honest, I am a hypocrite.

        My personal philosophy is to focus on staying alive rather than healthy. My reasons being that I knew someone who tried to do everything healthy – they ended up dying of cancer aged only around 40. Meanwhile there are people in the world who smoke and drink and live past 100 years.

        That being said, a certain degree of health is necessary. My reckless diet will probably come back to haunt me when I’m older. 🙂

  6. I too hope it is nothing serious, but you are right to insist on scans and a biopsy. You need to get to the bottom of this, to set your mind at ease (if it isn’t serious) or to get treatment (if it is). Good luck, Vincent.

  7. At least you are smart enough to go find out if there is anything wrong, most people would prefer to ignore any symptoms or physical changes.

  8. I am a new visitor, Vincent, so I am not familiar with your health trials of before as some of your readers are. Two things: first, I am so moved by your writing. If I were a better writer, I’d find better ways to tell you how wonderful I think you are. Secondly, get off Google! If you can stop your mind from running away with you while you read about what might be wrong with your body, you can hear what the doctors find without convincing yourself you are dying. Sure, you have some symptoms but they could be something benign, too. Lots of non life-threatening ailments produce your symptoms, as do lots of nothing at all. Thyroid stuff, even allergies can cause some of what ails you. Stress can too, as in the stress of worrying about what might be lurking within. My daughter is 30. She’s had swollen lymph nodes for about 15 years and no doctor can explain it but she’s not sick and has just had to stop trying to figure it out. And, even scary diagnoses like the lymphoma you mention often don’t have unhappy endings. I realize it’s easier said than done, but try not to wallow in worst case scenarios. While you have life and talent and good days, wallow in those things that bring you joy. Worrying is rarely helpful and the truth is most of the stuff we worry about never happens. And if it does, the worrying can’t stop it. You have literally thousands of people following you, pulling for you and hoping for goodness in your life. That has to buy you a great deal of good karma. 🙂

    1. Thank you for you thoughtful comment, Debbie. You are right. I am indeed somewhat distressed at this point, but overall I am hopeful and not so wallowing in self-pity as I may sound. Only that it is quite frustrating not to know what is wrong with you. I mean, I’d much prefer to have a diagnosis, which would allow me to search for ways to fix the problem; if the problem is not identified or ignored or neglected it’s not going to get solved by itself.

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