Lisa Kern

Lisa Kern
Pennsylvania, US
March 28
I'm a mom of three boys, a needy dog, and an insolent cat. When I'm not writing, vacuuming up pet hair, or cleaning pee off the toilet seat, I like to fantasize about jeans that actually fit and an all-you-can-eat-chocolate-and-cheese diet. Welcome to my party.


Lisa Kern's Links

JULY 14, 2010 8:52AM

Mighty Sweatin' Power Surgers, Unite!

Rate: 31 Flag


Here’s something you may not know about me:  I tend to imagine the worst possible outcome in nearly every situation.   It may be due to my professional background, having been trained to imagine all conceivable ways that things can go wrong in order to adequately insure against them, but still the tendency to exaggerate the potential for impending doom is always with me.


When you have kids, there’s no shortage of stuff to worry about, but being an overachiever, I participate in what can only be called Extreme Worrying. 


I worry when my oldest son is out that he’ll be in a car accident and the impact will cause the aerosol cans of Axe body spray stashed in his car to combust.  I fret that my middle son will die of a severe Vitamin D deficiency from failing to venture out of his darkened room for days at a time.   I imagine my youngest son’s brain cells dissolving into dust with every minute spent playing video games instead of reading. 


Nothing, however, has the power to freak me out quite like noticing an unusual change within my own body.   


Once, after successfully sticking with a new exercise program for several weeks, I was shocked to discover a tough bulging area on my inner thigh.  My mind was convinced that it was a fast-growing tumor and I mentally prepared myself to get my affairs in order.  


I told my husband that I was most likely going to die of cancer.  He was stunned and asked why I would say such a thing.  Had I been to the doctor?


I showed him the growth on my leg.  After poking it a couple of times, he laughed and told me he was quite sure I wasn’t going to die.  Apparently the strange bulge on my inner thigh was an adductor muscle, happily making its presence known due to the success of my exercise program.  (Oh shut up.  As if you’ve never mistaken a muscle for a tumor.) 


For the past year, I’ve been experiencing a rather bizarre set of symptoms.  I’ll feel overly warm, as if a furnace has been turned on high inside my body.  Then the warmth spreads upward to my head, causing me to feel as if I’m going to pass out.  The lightheaded sensation causes me to panic, especially when the heart palpitations and nausea kick in.


When it’s all over, I suddenly feel chilled, as if someone has shoved me into the snow while naked.   Oddly, I do not enjoy this as much as you’d think I would.


Because my symptoms are intermittent, I’m more apprehensive about them than usual.  I never know when they’re going to happen or where I’m going to be.  The sense of feeling so out of control when they do happen has caused me to stay close to home for fear of them happening in public.  Yes, in spite of my previous experience with passing out in a public place, I’m still wary of a repeat performance.


Most people would simply go to a doctor but this creates even more anxiety for neurotic me.  What if the doctor finds something even worse?  What if they want to do tests?  What if I pass out from the blood work?  And the most horrifying thought of all:  Will I have to sell a kidney in order to afford to pay my bill? 


Medical intervention is too awful to consider.  It’s much easier to stress over the symptoms for nearly a year so that’s exactly what I’ve done.  Well, until recently, that is.


I’ve mentioned before about my love affair with Google.  I Google everything, from how to make an origami crane (hey, it’s a hit with the kids) to how to tell if your hermit crab is dead or simply molting.  You can’t find information like this just anywhere, you know.


Google is kind of like everyone’s crazy Aunt Phyllis:  you may have to disregard two thirds of whatever she says but eventually, if you hang in there, she dispenses a true pearl of wisdom.  And what a pearl of wisdom it is.  I’m convinced that Google is a wise and powerful oracle which holds the secrets of the universe, or at the very least, how to get used chewing gum out of a jeans pocket. 


I decided to see if the All-Knowing Google could tell me the cause of my strange symptoms even though I know that searching for medical conditions on the internet is risky.  The results might suggest that I have something truly rare and bizarre like typhoid fever or testicular cancer, so I prepared myself for whatever results I’d see.


Nervously, I typed “hot, dizzy, chills, palpitations” into the Google search box.  I was surprised to see that nearly every search result contained two words:  hot and flash. 


Oh my gosh.  A hot flash.  Could I really be that stupid?  Evidently I am.  Thanks to Google, I learned that I’ve been having hot flashes, an entirely normal experience for a woman like me in her late forties


So it appears that I’m not dying as I’d originally feared.  What a relief!  I guess this means I’m free to resume worrying about other things. 


I wonder if Google can tell me how much force it would take for a can of Axe to combust?

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I am an excessive worrier. This is hilarious and I completely relate._r
I keep hearing A-nold in the background, "It's not a tumor''
You and my next door neighbor Patsy perform a great service to the rest of us -- you worry about all of the things that never crossed our minds to worry about. Thank you! I can now sleep like the proverbial baby knowing that you will worry for me.
Oh, my dear Lisa. I hate to tell you this, but you are an extreme hot flasher. No doubt in all the ways one can read that phrase :)

I got to experience the joy of "chemo pause," in which the body is sent into sudden menopause by chemotherapy. Because I am apparently the Queen of Rare Side Effects, the hot flashes provoked by this event were, per my oncologist, a rare version known as "systemic hot flashes." The nausea, dizziness, heart palpitations, and generally feeling of just being physically damn sick are symptoms of the systemic version.

Other people get "simple" hot flashes--uncomfortable heat starting inside and moving up and out--and skin flushes (redness and heat on the skin surface). Me and you, babe, we're special. Aren't we lucky?

Get thee to a gynecologist and request a prescription for gabapentin. Try to avoid anti-depressants (the standard non-hormonal treatment) until you have tried the gaba since the anti-depressants they give you for hot flashes can be hell to withdraw from, as I can attest.

Hugs, you hot woman, you :D
Or maybe just "air hugs." When two hot flashing women hug, I think spontaneous combustion can result.
I inherited the worry bug from my mother so I understand. But I have never mistaken a new muscle popping out as a problem! Do not Goggle "excessive worrying"; it will give you an entire series of mental health issues to worry about. Good to see a post from you.
Lisa, thanks for making me laugh this morning!
I think we extreme worriers should form a support group. On the other hand, we might just compound each others fears . . .
Yeah, extreme worrying is actually a good thing in my book. After the paint started to wear off of the inside of the microwave because I sanitize it every time it is used to reheat chicken, I told The Man we needed a new one because the metal was exposed. I fussed about this for months. Yesterday morning the thing caught on fire. Seriously. ON FIRE. I was strangely satisfied.

(thumbified for flashin' HOT, baby!)
Oh, you're hot, all right.

Please resist the urge to resort to Axe Body Spray when you're sweating.
Very, very funny Lisa. I can sooo relate. :))
If you're going to be a flasher, you might as well be hawt, right? I feel for you and I know I'm not supposed to laugh when you talk about these sincere things, but dammit, I always do and I can't stop now! Bless you for being you :)

In other news, the girls here have gone to wearing men's deodorant because it "smells so good", "like boys". So that's awesome. Before you know it, the whole world will smell like AXE, not just pubescent males.
Axe should give you a cut. And about Aunt Phyllis--word.
Forgive me, but on my laptop I thought the little tiny headline I was clicking on said "Mighty Sweatin' Power Burgers, Unite!" My mistake.

But all's well that ends well. Funny post.
Heehee! You crack me up! As usual. I have the same belief in the O Powerful Google though. testicular funny girl!
I had hot flashes as a result of a drug I was taking. (When I stopped the med, the hot flashes disappeared, but now I know what the future holds.) One night, I was aflame and complaining mightily, and the boyfriend got up and left the bedroom. Fine--I didn't want his body heat compounding mine, anyway. But then he came back, and the next thing I knew, he was spritzing the back of my legs with cold water from a spray bottle, like I was a bad cat. I went from woman-with-a-hot-flash to snarling bitch-beast in a nanosecond. "But I was trying to help," he said, bewildered.

Rules for the boyfriend when I'm having a hot flash: Don't help(don't talk, don't sympathize, don't breathe because you're exhaling hot air). Just back away slowly. Do not make eye contact. Really. It's better this way.
When I'm freezing (which is often in many air conditioned places in Florida), I pray for menopause lightening to strike me. Unfortunately, my episodes are still of the flash in the pan ilk. My only worry is that one of these will come along after a hurricane knocks out all the electricity. Funny stuff, Lisa.
Ah, another chronic worrier! I inherited the condition from my mother who literally worries about everything. It's exhausting.

I wasn't even 1/8 of the way through your physical description when I thought: hot flashes. I've had them for nearly 10 years now with no sign of them stopping. I hope that you will be much luckier.
I love Google for self-treating symptoms of impending doom too. Still laughing.
Can the heat from a hot flash make a can of Axe spontaneously combust? Don't get into your son's car...
I can definitely be part of your support group!!!
No need to worry about the hot flashes. They last only 30 years or so, then they go away.
@susanmihalic, funniest comment ever.
I really enjoyed this. It's very relateable in many ways. I used to be a worry bug too, but I'm learning to relax more and exhale. ~R~
Oh, EXCELLENT post. I read it this morning and finally have time to tell you how much I liked it. My day is coming, and now I know the silver lining may be that I can destroy cans of Axe...bless you, Lisa Kern!
Dr. Heron had your diagnosis at sentence two, paragraph eight. This was one of those posts where reading it, I knew I would relish the comments as much as the post.
Joan - It's nice to know I have company as I worry!

Ocular - Ha! That made me laugh!

Julie - I'm happy to be of service. :)

Susan - Oh doesn't that just figure: I'm even an overachiever when it comes to hot flashes! I have no health insurance currently, so I'll just have to put up with them, but I'm going to write down your suggestion for the future. I have a future it's going to be a long ride for me before all of this is over. Air hugs back at you!

Dr. Spudman - Oh dear. Now I'm worried about what other mental issues I might have. Must. Not. Google.

Sarah - Thanks for reading! I was worried that no one would show up.

Owl - I just had this image of a bunch of us worriers discussing our fears at a meeting. When the meeting is over, all of us have ten times the amount of stuff to worry about than when we started. Yep, we probably should just keep those things to ourselves. :)
Jodi - I hear you, sister. No one values the service that we worriers provide. Congrats on finally getting the new microwave.

Frank - Ha! I think a hot flash could definitely cause the Axe vapors to combust. Hold on, I'll go Google it...

Brie - Thanks! Hopefully you didn't have to Google your symptoms.

LandP - Aw, I'm so glad I could make you chuckle. :)

1IMom - Wait...the girls are wearing boys' body spray? Pretty soon no place will be safe from the smell of Axe.

Kathy - If only Axe knew what a constant undercurrent it is in our lives...

David - Your comment cracked me up! Probaby the burgers would have been a more interesting read, but I appreciate you hanging in there. :)

j lynne - Thanks! We should have an open call about the craziest thing we've ever Googled.

Cindy - No symptoms? Really? I'm coming to Arizona!

Susan - The image of "snarling bitch-beast" is one that I recognize. At least you have a strategy for ensuring the boyfriend's safety.
Cartouche - I totally understand your fear. Last week, we had temps in the 100s here. While very rare for our area, I kept worrying that the high temps would bring on the hot flashes.

Emma - Ten years? Really? Ohhhhh...this is not going to be good.

sophieh - A kindred spirit! Thank you so much for stopping by.

Gwool - I know! Axe and a hot flash do not sound like a safe combination.

mamoore - I'm happy to have you in any support group I'm in. :)

Jimmy - For some reason, your comment did NOT make me feel better.

Kateasley - Aw, thanks!

Fusun - Oh good; maybe there's hope for me that I can learn to relax, too.

Ann - Thank you! I look forward to destroying those cans with you.

greenheron - I am probably the only woman who didn't recognize a hot flash. Thank goodness for the internet, huh?
How about next time I get a strange tumor that's going to kill me I have you do my worrying for me? You do it so well!

As for the rest of it, I'm much older than you and STILL awaiting the the attack of the hot flash -- perhaps you could do that for me too?

So happy to hear from you!
Monique - Maybe that should be my next career: professional worrier. Thanks for stopping by, my friend. :)
I'm still laughing. Sorry for your pain, but laughing. Out loud and everything. You have officially cracked me up. Just so you know, I too am Google-like and my name isn't even Aunt Phyllis.
Like Joan said, I'm also an excessive worrier. I GOOGLE everything. Very funny, as always!
Your campaign against axe body spray always keeps me giggling. But keep the worrying down, Lisa! It'll kill you faster than your hot flashes, for sure ;)
Sally - Laughing out loud is good. Thanks for sharing one with me.

Roger - Thank you for stopping by. :) You, Joan and I should form a club: Obsessive Worrying Googlers (or something more catchy.)

Leah - So nice to see you! Yep, the worrying will kill you, but I think that laughing at oneself - often! - helps to counteract the damage. Thanks for stopping by!