Surviving The Highs And Lows Of Being A Hypochondriac

Surviving The Highs And Lows Of Being A Hypochondriac

Yes, I'm the kid that cried wolf...56 times to be exact.
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"Mom, I took my contacts out today because they were bugging me and now they're all swollen and red. Can I go to the eye doctor? What if when I get there they tell me it's an overgrowth of bacteria from my contacts. WHAT IF THIS BACTERIA IS THE ONE THAT MAKES YOU GO BLIND. I need to see a doctor, my eyes are itching now too! It's possible I may be blind when I wake up tomorrow."

These are the exact words that came flying out of my mouth the other night to my parents. My father just stared at me in confusion as I was interrupting his new favorite show and my mother simply looked at me and said one word... "hypochondriac."

My names Joelle and I am a hypochondriac (well, an undiagnosed hypochondriac). I am the friend who will constantly call you to tell you she's dying. I'm also the girl who has a thermometer on her nightstand because she has to check her temperature every night before bed. These are thoughts that pop into my head about every 10-20 minutes *no this is not an exaggeration.* I am in the constant belief that I have a slight fever and it will turn into a plague the following morning.

I have an anxious mind when it comes to my health. I have lost a significant amount of family members to cancer as well as other diseases so it's no surprise I am a health freak. Almost two years ago I was diagnosed with a stomach disorder that when left untreated, can lead to esophageal cancer. Knowing me, you could understand that the second the doctors told me this I was ready to eat protein shakes for the rest of my life.

My everyday life is a constant job in itself. I am either researching newly found outbreaks or insisting that the birthmark on my cheek is growing. It is not a typical day for me unless I'm calling my mom telling her I'm dying of a new bacteria they found eating people's organs. Yes, I am the child that gives my mother multiple heart attacks a day... P.S. I'm sorry mom.

My mother hears it about as much as my boyfriend does. I'm pretty sure he loses his mind daily over how often I tell him I'm dying. He is a slight hypochondriac as well, he just won't admit it. I told him about my recent encounter with my eyes, and he is more persistent on me seeing a doctor than my parents. This could also be due to the fact that I drive my parents up a wall 145 times a day with this.

Being a hypochondriac is exciting and exhausting. I'm constantly learning about new medicine in the works; however, I have made myself physically ill from worrying about a disease I thought I had. On the bright side, turns out I don't actually have Ebola.

This is my way of slightly apologizing to all my friends and family for the constant text and calls about my near death encounters. On the upside, I have kept all of you on your toes and alert of new diseases! You're all welcome.

I guess it's no surprise I'm entering into the medical field as well. Future MD in the making. I promise I won't overthink your symptoms, but I will never under play them as well.

Cover Image Credit: Joelle Giudice

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I Drank Lemon Water For A Week And Here's What Happened

It has already changed my life.

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There are so many health crazes out there now, it's hard to tell what actually works and what doesn't; or more importantly what is healthy and what is making your body worse. I read about simply drinking lemon water and I figured that didn't sound gross or bad for me so I figured I would give it a try. I've been drinking it consistently for a week and a half and I already notice some results.

I've never been a fan of lemon in my water, I always refuse it at restaurants. You definitely have to find your sweet spot in lemon to water ratio, in what tastes good to you. I personally cut the lemon into quarters and use on quarter per day. I put the lemon quarter in the bottle and then continuously fill with water throughout the day. I still get the yummy lemon flavor all day because I do not squeeze the lemon. It took about a bottle or two to get used to the lemon flavor, and now I just crave it.

Lemon water is supposed to speed up your metabolism. Obviously, a week is not long enough to tell if this is fact or fiction but I have noticed a change in appetite. I feel like I do not get hungry as often as I did before. I saw this effect within 24-48 hours of starting the experiment. This seems opposite to a fast metabolism but we'll see.

I definitely feel more hydrated with lemon water. I drink a lot of water anyways, about 80 oz a day but for some reason with the lemon, it makes me feel better. I don't feel as sluggish, I'm not getting hot as easily, and my skin feels amazing. I am slightly skeptical though because the lemon almost makes my tongue dry requiring me to drink more water, so I have upped my intake by about 20oz. I'm unsure if the hydration is due to the extra water, the lemon, or both!

My face is clearing up and feels so much softer too, in only a week! I have not gotten a new pimple since I have started my lemon water kick, may be coincidence but I'm not going to argue with it.

I also feel skinnier as I feel like I'm not holding as much water weight. I only exercise lightly, for the most part, walking around a mile or two a day so we can eliminate exercise factor to the slender feeling.

I have a messy stomach. Everything upsets it, and even though lemons are very acidic, they have not affected me in a negative way at all. It almost seems like the lemon water is helping me digest the difficult foods that my stomach doesn't like. I'm nowhere near a doctor so don't trust my word but it seems to be working for me.

From the effects I've felt so far, it also seems like lemon water may be a great hangover cure! I haven't tried it but I don't see why it wouldn't work. I can't say a negative thing about drinking lemon water so far expect you have to buy the lemons! If you try this for yourself though just make sure you are using an enamel saving mouthwash or toothpaste since lemons aren't so great for your teeth.

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An Inside Look At Alzheimer's

This is just a little introduction to the journey my family and I have been on with my grandma while she struggled with Alzheimer's.

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My grandmother, my mom's mom, was the most beautiful soul in this world, even throughout her battle with Alzheimer's. My grandma's name is Joan Kohanski (but us grandkids called her Baba) and she was born on February 22, 1938. She was diagnosed with polio in her legs at the young age of 14. She has walked with canes ever since then but lived such an adventurous life. She married my papa (Ron) on August 8, 1959. The first daughter of theirs' was my Aunt Karen on May 25, 1961. My mom (Gail) came along on February 10, 1964. Finally, my Aunt Julie (we call her T.T.) was born on June 13, 1966.

They took many family vacations, many boat rides on my papa's boat on Lake Erie, and even a cross-country road trip in their R.V. Our family is so much fun when we get together for events and holidays, but we all agree that Baba would make everything feel whole again. Baba, as told by my mom, loved her family. It made her entire world go 'round. She would have sacrificed anything for her family and she did in many cases. One time, my Baba, Papa, and all the girls went to Cedar Point for the day. Baba didn't ride any rides that day, so she selflessly walked around all day on her canes and had blisters when the day was over just for her family. She loved her grandkids, all nine of them (me included). She was also very funny and had a great sense of humor, and I see her live through my mom every day.

I'm not sure if anyone has ever heard of this before, but supposedly, cardinals are your loved ones making themselves known that they are still there with you.

The amount of times that I have seen cardinals since her passing is uncanny and nobody can tell me that it's just a coincidence. The funniest part about it is that she lived on Cardinal Drive when my mom was growing up, and that's still where my papa lives today. Another really special thing to me is that I am part of the sorority that she was in, Delta Gamma. It makes me feel as if I have my own special connection with her that no one can take away, since all of my cousins and siblings that are older than me remember her before she was diagnosed, and I have a vague memory of it.

Baba was diagnosed with Alzheimer's around 2006 and lived with it until May 12, 2016. Her struggle with this horrible disease was not easy, certainly on her, but any of us, especially Papa. Papa took care of her at home until he was unable to anymore, which then he made the decision to put her in a care facility. She started out in a typical room by herself. As her condition got worse, she moved into the Alzheimer's unit with other people who had the same illness. If anyone has never had the first-hand experience with a loved one suffering from this disease, it is truly the most heartbreaking thing in the world. I would never wish that on my worst enemy. You start to see the person you love and look up to the most slowly become less and less of themselves, and it's not their fault. You learn to forgive them for the times that they forget your name and who you are. You know that it's really not them and they can't help it.

The whole journey of her suffering has been such a hardship to everyone in my family. It's probably the worst thing that any of us will ever go through. I am so happy with where she is right now because I know that she is in a better place, and rid of any and all illness. It's hard to come to terms that she isn't here with us any longer, and it's almost selfish of me to question "Why us?". I would do anything to have her back today but I know that there is always a reason why and I have to trust it. If you or someone you know has a family member or loved one that has Alzheimer's, just know that you are certainly not alone and other people totally understand.

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