Finding the best medicine |

Finding the best medicine

Alison Berkley Margo
The Aspen Princess

The other day I had this weird lump in my throat. Not the kind where you feel like you’re going to cry, but an actual lump I could feel every time I tried to swallow.

“What if it’s a tumor?” I asked Ryan as we lay in bed the other day.

“Then I’ll tell Levi what a great mom you were,” he replied, deadpan.

Ryan is used to my neurosis, to say the least. Part of the reason I married him is because of his refusal to indulge me in any form of hysteria, which is essential for sheltered, spoiled children like myself whose parents would stop the world from spinning if it was something that upset me. It’s also true that every other day I am convinced I’m going to die, either of some terminal disease, nuclear war or chance event that I won’t see coming.

I have written about this before, I know, but being this happy terrifies me. I am afraid that at any moment, this blissful time in my life will be gone, snatched away from me by some horrible tragedy. The worst part is I have such an active imagination that I can concoct all kinds of scenarios in my head and play them across the screen of my psyche like a Lifetime movie. I’ll be halfway to the grocery store before I realize I hardly remember pulling out of my driveway. At that point, I have to shake my head like a wet dog and ask myself, “who the hell thinks about this kind of stuff?”

The lump in my throat lasted for three days.

“Try Nasacort,” my mother-in-law said. “You probably have some gunk stuck in there and you just need to shake it lose.”

She thinks Nasacort is the remedy for almost everything. I’m surprised she doesn’t clean my counters with it.

I tried it, but all it did was make me feel a little racy all day, which wasn’t a bad thing because I got a lot done. The lump stayed.

“No, really. I think it’s a tumor,” I told Ryan the following night. “It’s not going away.”

“I’ll make sure Levi remembers you,” he replied and then went back to the Spanish lesson on the new app he downloaded, which he has been really diligent about, by the way. He is such a self-starter and has become really invested in wanting to be able to communicate with the Spanish-speakers he works with every day. It is for reasons like this that I am able to overlook his lackadaisical attitude about my impending doom.

Desperate for relief, I did the thing no one should ever do and looked up “It feels like I have a lump in my throat” on the internet.

As an experienced hypochondriac, I have learned how to navigate these waters. I know to avoid discussion threads on random web sites that feed the hysteria in people like me. I try to stick to medical establishment sites and to look at the broad strokes, not the fine print — like medication warnings that tell you your left ear might fall off or your stomach might explode if you take this drug that’s supposed to make you feel better.

I basically learned that this sensation I was experiencing was just that, a sensation that could be caused by a number of different ailments, and most likely not a cancerous tumor.

It turned out the thing in my throat was caused by a thing in my stomach that was caused by pregnancy, if you can believe that. Oh, and the pregnancy resulted in a kid, and now that I have a kid, I have a whole new slew of worries, even though my kid is basically as perfect as they come.

So I went down to the Basalt town doctor shaman man, whose name I won’t include because there are a bunch of good healers around and all deserve equal praise. But on this particular day, I didn’t wander far from the hamlet to find some relief.

Dr. Shaman man did a bunch of emotional testing, which is kind of crazy because all he does is push on your arm and asks your body a bunch of different questions. If your arm gives way, that means “yes.” As in “Are you worried, scared, angry, defeated, depressed,” and if he gets a yes he starts a new line of questions. “Is this to do with friends or family? Friends. OK, is this is past or present?” and so on and so forth.

He learned what I already know, which is I have worry for my child. Natural enough for a mom, but what we also learned was that I blew a circuit in my stomach, which had indeed caused discomfort in my esophagus. He used his little adjustor gun thing and hit me right in the throat, not in a way that hurt, but in a way that was right on the money. He also adjusted my cranium, laser tagged my c-section scar (so embarrassed not to have been waxed recently), and put me in these funky headphones with light show goggles to hypnotize me into turning procrastination into motivation. Then he sold me some supplements and sent me on my merry way.

I am happy to report that I am feeling much better now and am so grateful to have these resources to be able to take care of my crazy self like I do. I have no doubt in my mind that if these things were left untended that it would eventually turn into something like that damn tumor I’m so afraid of.

Now that my stomach has been untangled, my esophagus massaged and my mind put at ease I’m feeling much better. Just as long as I live long enough so that my son remembers me, I’m all good.

The Princess is wondering if the time has come for her to try edible weed. Email your love to

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