Dearest friends and family,

When I awoke with piercing foot pain, I could not have known the end was nigh. But after an extensive journey of self-learning which some have called a “downward spiral,” it is obvious this agony is a rare inoperable cystic cancer, and my days on this earth are numbered.

Allow me to explain.

When my modestly painful ailment began, like any rational person I incorrectly assumed it was osteoporosis. Hand-foot-and-mouth disease was my second guess, yet no lesions were to be found. Strep is often misdiagnosed as the former, which can also look like meningitis, which can seem like bronchitis—which resembles an autoimmune-related inflammation of the brain called encephalitis.

Still, nothing could account for the deceptively bruise-like discoloration near my toe, nor a clicking sound produced by violently jerking my ankle back and forth (a noise I alone could hear).

Frantically, I traversed the full gamut of human anatomy for an answer: from foot to calf, from colon to liver; then to the neck and brain and elbow (possibly tendonitis?); to the breast, to the lung, to a solution! At last, I had cracked a mystery eluding even Yahoo! Answers greatest minds.

Cancer can spread through all of these areas, and it happens suddenly. You may appear perfectly healthy and naively attribute minor aches to aging, inactivity, or eating gummy worms for breakfast; but then, one day– Bam! Crash! Sorry, pal! It’s foot cancer.

I know you don’t believe me. My mother doesn’t believe me. The doctors don’t believe me. Sure, I slammed my foot on a fire hydrant last week while chasing the raccoon who stole my muffin. You’d think that would explain my symptoms, but such meager force could not harm the dorsal interossei muscles, and that is where this debilitating disease operates its cystic command center.

No, this malady can only be explained by lung-breast-elbow-brain-neck-liver-colon-calf-foot cancer.

They say it’s in my head, which is an interesting theory. Googling, “Is my head going to explode?” revealed no answers. However, upon learning that having sickle cell disease correlates with a fivefold predisposition to foot cancer, I remembered the SCD self-diagnosis I received after watching an episode of Scrubs. If only I had blearily read another two hundred Wikipedia pages, maybe we could have caught this sooner.

Hindsight truly is 20/50 (according to my research).

I’m told breathing exercises will distract from the disorders I'm convinced I have. Well, Mrs. Big Shot Pulmonologist, riddle me this: How the hell am I supposed to breathe with foot-adjacent lung cancer? And I’ve been up for two days straight. Do you think that’s related?

I don’t want to sleep, anyway. I’m getting by fine. Anxiety is the perfect stimulant and has completely supplanted the primitive need for rest. I am efficient. Evolved. Watch as I conquer the steepest mountain of masculinity, slay a giant in the clouds, and become one with the badger banging at my gray matter like a xylophone.

No, I’m not catastrophizing. Death has arrived to collect a debt incurred by decades of cheating at Yahtzee and committing recreational tax fraud. Twenty doctors could not change my mind, and that’s five more than I’ve seen this week.

I can’t say it clearer: I. Have. Foot. Cancer. I’ve probed the deepest depths of WebMD and Reddit, where the totality of human knowledge has coalesced. There is a lone etiology, bearing a simple name that you know well. I wish it weren’t so, but there is no other explanation.

Wait a second. Someone just sent me an article: “Hypochondriasis is a psychiatric disorder defined by excessive worry about a serious undiagnosed medical condition based on normal bodily behaviors or minor ailments. In extreme cases, a person might believe they are going to die.” Hmm. Could this be what’s happening?

No, that’s ridiculous.