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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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Like rain on your wedding day

Last week I found a suspicious mole on my side, which I knew was malignant. What else could it be? Everything's going swimmingly; therefore, I am dying. That's logic. Or is it irony?

Scott and I were watching television when I found it. I don't know why I was feeling myself up. Clearly the television wasn't entertainment enough. I had developed this scabby, crusty thing on my side a few months ago, and then I forgot about it--if only she had taken care of it when it was first discovered, she might have had a chance--and there I was on the couch and I revisited the mole and it was significantly larger and crustier. "Holy crap, I'm dying," I told Scott. "Look."

He looked. "I'm sure you're not dying," he said.

"How do you know I'm not dying? Do you have a medical degree? Can you positively tell me this isn't cancer? Don't lie to a dying woman."

"If you're so worried," he suggested, "go see a dermatologist."

I knew he would say that. We've been married ten years, and he's become so predictable, with his calmness and his rationality. It's unbearable. But it was 9 p.m., and I needed answers. I needed answers right then and there.

"The Internet!" I cried. "The Internet will provide reassurance!"

"Alice, do not," Scott commanded. "No. Don't. No google. This will not end well."

I opened my laptop.

"Stop it. Close the laptop. This is just going to scare you. Stop."

"You don't understand. This time the Internet will provide useful information. I am sure of it."

"No. The Internet will only give you lies and panic. Stop."

But I googled, people. I googled the shit out of this mole. Scott feebly protested but I kept it up—I googled "crusty mole" and "mole that peels" and "mole that's suddenly larger and also I just moved and I'm almost 40 and never had a skin check and my name is Alice Bradley please tell me I'm not dying." I googled and I googled and I googled some more.

And the Internet told me that I was almost certainly nearing death. It was too late for me. I was not long for this world.

"I guarantee you're fine," Scott kept saying.

How does he know? the Internet asked. He's just trying to shut you up so he can go back to watching his show. Which, by the way, is nearing cancellation. I can tell you all about that, if you just google. Stick with me, you poor dying creature. I know everything.

"You must marry again," I wept all over Scott's shoulder. "Promise me."

"Oh my god, you are so insane," he answered.

He's going to regret saying that when he knows the truth. The truth that I have shared with you. There is no space/time on the Internet. I know all and see all.

I went to sleep that night knowing that I might not wake up the next day, but then I did, which was nice. I made an appointment with a dermatologist because I'm crazy but not that crazy. The bottom line is that I am whiter than anyone, and I should have started having my skin checked years ago. And now she would go for her skin check, only to discover that it was Too Late.

Only it wasn't too late. The dermatologist looked at the mole and declared that it was nothing, or rather that it was something but an insignificant something, some kind of keratosis something-or-other.

"I hate to tell you how to do your job," I told him, "but if you'll just google this, I think you'll see that it's quite serious indeed."

Then he started bragging about his experience and his medical degrees, I don't know, I wasn't listening. It was sinking in: I wasn't going to die after all? What? Scott didn't have to marry again?

"So you're telling me I don't have cancer?" I said, and he said that's right, you're fine, but come in every six months because you're crazy-pale and your family history is etc. and also SPF whatever everyday and broad-brimmed hats blar de blar.

And when I ran outside to call Scott to tell him he didn't need to look for a potential wife I was mowed down by an out-of-control delivery truck carrying a shipment of high-SPF sunscreen.

Well, no, I wasn't. But if I had, that would have been irony.

Reader Comments (75)

From one Google-crazy, Casper-looks-dark-next-to-me hypochondriac to another: I'm so with you.

And thanks for reminding me about the crusty mole I meant to have looked at months and months and months ago.

Good-bye, Alice. It's been a pleasure reading your blog all this time. I must now shed this crusty-mole-ridden mortal coil.
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaddy Scratches
The exact same thing happened to me. I had a weird keratosis that I googled the shit out of only to have the dermatologist tell me that it was "nothing." I can't believe that you told Scott that he should remarry. My instructions to my husband is "die grief-stricken".
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarinka
You are kinder than me (I?). I would have been selfish and said "You are NOT allowed to remarry!"
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterameliorate me
It's worse when you work for an oncologist, because then you think every ache, pain or spot means the end. We all become hypochondriacs to the nth degree.
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
Apparently, you and my husband were separated at birth. He too, was convinced he was dying by things like "fluish symptoms" and "decreased appetite" It took several doctors and a colonoscopy to convince him of what I told him a month previous. Dude, it's hemorrhoids. Get over yourself.

Welcome back to the land of the living, Alice. And watch that Brooklyn traffic! Those cab drivers are nuts.
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShnerfle
I once spent hours Googling a mole that suddenly appeared. It even had a blueish tint. When I took a shower it disappeared, back to Google for me "disappearing cancerous moles". It was when my husband grabbed a pen and recreated my mole that I relinquished my Google rights on moles.
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHey You
Hmmm...I'm not sure I really trust that doctor. I mean, what are a few medical degrees over the power of GOOGLE? Seriously. I think you'd better start scouting wives. I mean you can't just trust those two great guys of yours to just anyone. :)
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteraimee
hilarious. it happens to us all (well not getting mowed over by a tanning truck) but nonetheless... one day. cancer will nab us all.
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKere
I did the SAME EXACT THING a few months ago.

The Internet has some kind of brain-sucking, logic-erasing, panic-inducing super-power. ESPECIALLY WebMD.

WebMD is evil.

Glad we're both NOT dying!
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTootie
And it would have actually been ironic,if you'd been run over, unlike almost the entire Alannis Morisette song you referenced...which is all shitty events, but not ironic.

I applaud you for going to the doctor. My brother-in-law has been avoiding the doctor for years in case they tell him he's dying. Makes me NUTS!
Lord, girl, this was the funnest roller coaster Bossy has ever been on!
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBOSSY
You crack me up. I totally get you! The hypochondriac in me is fighting off a brain tumor and a cancerous mass on my lower spine. Go figure! Needless to say, my husband and I have had conversations just like yours - except you're way funnier. Thanks for the laugh.
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMitzi
I can't even tell you how many times I have almost died according to the internet. My husband has almost died, my kids, my parents, my sisters.

It's a near death world out there. On the internet.

March 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSummer Saldana
"I was not long for this world." Oh, I am laughing. Thank you, and congratulations on your benign dry skin patch.
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhi kooky
I would have told my husband to remarry, but I would have made it clear that the bitch couldn't have any of my stuff!
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterneena
I do the same thing. Except my mom gives me most of my medical advice, so when I call her screaming about how I'm dying, I occasionally convince her. Which causes bigger problems.
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertutugirl1345
Somebody named Google needs to go to medical school just so he or she can become your doctor.

And that is when I'd cue the Twilight Zone theme music.

March 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPoppy Buxom
Oi. There are so many moles on me that COULD BE BRINGING ME NEAR DEATH AT ANY MOMENT. So silly ^_^

The internet has probably also told me I'm going to die approx. 2904503498534049304398 times. I stopped listening/reading/typing. Oi!
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdesiree fawn
HAHAHAH You are too funny. I'm glad you are not dying because where else will I get such entertainment to brighten my day? Whew. Thank goodness. Don't scare me like that.
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteramigurumigirl
funniest post since the wii fit! thank you for out loud belly laugh.
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjennifer
Why do husbands insist on mocking "the all-knowing almighty Internet"? I routinely run to Google to diagnose my cats' ailments and I chose to believe Google over my Vet...especially since every time I take one of my cats to the vet, she yells "TUMOR" which thankfully so far has always turned out to be Google on the other hand comes up with many other (and quite creative) possibilities for death and disaster! How did we live before Google?
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHyacinth
The countless times I run to google and decide this very thing. That's quite a scary thing though and skin cancer is right up there with on my never want to have list.
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie
At this point in the year, I might choose death over the notion of staying OUT of the sun. I can't wait to get in some sun. OK, OK, first Dooce, now you are telling me, so fine. I will be a little bit better about applying sunscreen this year.
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie
So often we forget that the internet is full of the stories of 5% of people who do have skin cancer. The other 95% of us who are told "that mole is nothing" - we rarely go online to write about it.

But you did write about your experience Alice- which is wonderful, and gives all of us a little more context. The next time I am certain that I am dying, I will remember this blog post, and I wont be as worried.

btw: In a similar moment, I too told my husband to remarry. But I added "but you have to pick a wife who doesnt want anymore children, and will raise our's like her own"

Im a nut.
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea, 32
I laughed so hard, my sides split... i thought a blister was cancerous once (as a child) and wrote a will... i don't even half the things i "gave away" in that will anymore
March 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCobbler

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