Hi, I’m Megan, and I’m a hypochondriac.
There. I said it. It’s out in the open now, and there’s no turning back.
I’m probably not an actual hypochondriac, but in recent years I’ve become so in tune with my body that the second I feel an outside-the-norm bump or sore spot or whatever, you can find me heading straight to the doctor. Of course, most of the time it’s nothing, and I’ve absolutely paid way more than necessary for fear-induced visits to the urgent care center and the ER (namely the time I was absolutely certain I had internal bleeding because my 60 pound German Shepherd happened to jump on my stomach while I was lying in bed…and the time I was absolutely certain I had a growth on my ankle but it turned out it was just a stupid irritated tendon that the doctor couldn’t even find in the room, but fine). But guys, better safe than sorry, right??
To be fair, I had a legit scare about 7 years ago. It was towards the end of my sophomore spring semester and one day I felt a lump near my throat. For several weeks, I would feel it, make all my friends feel it, then fester in the land of the unknown and “it’s probably just a gland” and “it’s probably nothing.” Three months later, when I’d moved back home for the summer, it was still there. So my madre told me to head to the walk in clinic.
Lo and behold, one walk in appointment later and I was told on the spot that I likely had a tumor growing either on my thyroid or on another gland. I was referred to an ENT and went through the super fun process of getting a CT scan, then a needle biopsy (really cool and not at all terrifying procedure during which they “locally numb you” and stick a giant ruler-sized hollow needle into your neck and punch another one through that one to grab tissue bits to test them in the lab). During both procedures, I would break down in sobs, scared out of my mind that I had cancer and it could’ve been stopped if only I’d gone to the doctor in time. I got so damn emotional for the biopsy they had to give me a Valium beforehand (though there’s that whole part about the fact that they were about to stick a NEEDLE THE SIZE OF AN ARM in my neck, so…).
Anyways, all is well – tumor ended up being benign and I got it removed, along with half my thyroid just in case. It’s all good.
BUT – I have had to deal with some panic attack incidents and constant nagging fear of dying ever since, which is a perfectly lovely way to spend your time.
This naturally leaves me in a very vulnerable position and highly susceptible to every little slice of advice out there. Someone mentions that a certain red dye in maraschino cherries can give ya cancer? MY SUNDAE IS JUST FINE W/O THE TOPPINGS, THX. Another person tells me that too many vitamins can hurt? VITAMIN BOTTLES, DUMPED.
It’s ridiculous and stupid, and I’m well aware, thank you. But alas, I still dive down a rabbit hole of worry once in a while.
Enter the trial of natural deodorant.
Though there are zero scientifically proven links between using deodorant/anti-perspirant and breast cancer, my hair colorist and I recently had a convo about it and she convinced me I MUST try to switch. I thought, nahhhh (at first). Then, as I sat in her chair and she regaled me with all that she’d researched, I imagined tiny tumors growing by the minute on my hooters like a lumpy mold on that leftover lasagna you left in the back of the fridge for two weeks too long. I went out the next day and bought some tea tree oil hippy dippy stuff that’s supposed to be “natural” and “safe” and “helpful for the smells.”
Natural and safe it very well may be, but helpful for the smells it is most certainly not. Call me crazy, but wafting a scent of death from my pits as I stroll through the grocery store isn’t my idea of a great time.
I’ve tried this twice before – I lasted a whole summer once on lavender-scented “magic” and then I gave up once I had to start wearing sweaters in the winter. Then I tried it about 6 months ago and it didn’t work for the same reasons. So of course I decided to give it the old college try again because like all geniuses out there know, if you keep doing the same thing over and over it will definitely lead to better results.
My tea tree concoction worked for an average of seven minutes at a time, so I started having to carry my woo woo scent stick in my purse everywhere I went, and even though I usually SIT and DO NOTHING PHYSICAL for hours on end at my desk job, I had to reapply it constantly because I would start to catch a whiff of body that I hadn’t smelled since I didn’t know what deodorant was at age 8.
I lasted three weeks.
Don’t misunderstand – I was perfectly ok with smelling my own foulness every so often if it meant being safer, and I was on board even knowing that I was looking down the barrel of a very hot and humid summer during which I’d sweat through everything while being armed with what amounted to carrying flower petals around my neck in a leather pouch for “freshness” like all the cool kids did in 1645. But I was not prepared for other people to notice my natural stank.
One day, while home with boo-thang, I caught a whiff of something that vaguely resembled fart. So, being the hilarious human I am, I called out, “Ooooo, babe, did you just tooooooot?!?”
He walked into my office. “No, not at all…”
(Me: *giggle giggle / does not believe a word he says*)
“…but it does sort of smell like B.O. in here.”
Three seconds later, I threw out my THIRD STICK OF NATURAL FLOWER PETALS and reacquainted my pits to the glories of powdery Dove.
I know, I know, I should’ve stuck with it and “let my body get used to it to flush out my toxins” or whatever. But I just couldn’t do it.
Call me weak. Call me closed-minded. Call me whatever. But also call me a perfumed beauty because I now proudly open my arms for hugs and dancing and life has suddenly taken on beautiful colors and textures. My pits are free. Praise be.
And listen – I respect the heck outta anyone who has the cojones to stick with natural deodorant, because I 100% can’t do it (but if anyone has any recommendations on sticks that actually work, please feel free to share your knowledge). In all honesty, I’ll probably try it again on a whim in about 6 months (see previous hypochondriac explanation). But for now, I love frolicking in freshness and artificial ingredients, and I love smelling myself. It’s a beautiful thing.
So happy summer y’all. BRING ON THE SWEAT. I’m ready.