Sunday, February 6, 2011

Benign thoughts

I learned a new word yesterday: costochondritis. According to the Mayo Clinic, it's "an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone (sternum)" and it commonly mimics heart attacks in its symptoms. That's what woke me early Monday morning, and this morning, too. It's disconcerting and quite painful, but it's also benign, and benign is a lovely word.

I wonder what percentage of the things we worry about are benign.

I wonder how many of our upsets, irritations, and bruised-ego moments are benign... until we react to them.

I looked up benign (because that's the sort of person I am) and was surprised to find that the definition that's related to pathology is #5 on the list. All the positive definitions -- having a kindly disposition, showing gentleness, propitious, salubrious -- came first. It's kind of encouraging in this day and age, actually. Then we arrive at Benign: not malignant; self-limiting.

Self-limiting. For my chest pain, that means that no damage is being done to anything else. It is what it is, and that's all that it is.

Imagine if we thought of our irritations and other upsets that way.


  1. I have costco, it is painful but benign

  2. Is this a self-diagnosis, or did you end up back at the doctor's office?

  3. i used to have that, terribly. it kept me from sleeping many a night. i started taking daily fish oil for that and other things, and wa-la, no more costco.