Fran is my really good friend. She is sometimes my doctor and often my therapist. We speak on the phone most days but unlike my other friends Fran is the one who will always ask me how I am with a little more meaning. She is the one who will understand when I say genuinely and without humour “I’m okay but I’m really worried that the pain in my stomach is something sinister, what if I really have bowel cancer this time?” I add “this time” because Fran is used to me having bowel cancer, or brain tumours, even breast cancer, measles and through one really dark time she nursed me through the times I was convinced I had Aids.
It turns out that, touch wood, spit three times or whatever you need to protect my health, I don’t have any form of cancer, I don’t have measles or Aids or chicken pox or dysentery or MS or Motor Neuron disease but I do have health anxiety, also known as hypochondria.