Wednesday, September 19, 2012


***NOTE: to prevent any more of my friends and family from almost having a heart attack from the unintended suspense of this post, I will tell you up front that I am still cancer-free and healthy as can be. This post was a bad attempt at making fun of myself. ***

I'm looking forward to the day when doctor's appointments don't keep me up all night the night before. I go in for check-ups with my oncologists every few months. Yesterday was my appointment with my radiation oncologist. There were no particular possible-cancer-recurrence symptoms bugging me, so I wasn't worried about it...until the night before, when the panic started and I found myself staying up late, looking for ways to distract myself.

Once you have experienced receiving a bad report from a doctor, it is difficult to not relive that experience with each appointment. I find myself doing anything I can to avoid doctor appointments, no matter how trivial. And any medical test causes intense anxiety.

Yesterday, my doctor asked detailed questions about how I was feeling. We discussed my fatigue and all the possible causes. She decided to do a blood panel (breathe Stephanie!).
Then she asked, "Have you had any headaches?"
My heart started pounding. I hesitantly forced out a whisper, "Yeeesss." Then quickly added, "But I try really hard to not think every headache is a brain tumor and every back ache is bone cancer."
She said, "Describe your headaches."
My mind started racing, searching for the "correct" answer. The correct answer being the type of headache that isn't caused by cancer. Unfortunately, I didn't know the "correct" answer, so I had no choice but to tell her the truth. I was as vague as possible.
She said, "Well, that doesn't sound like a brain tumor, but we can do an MRI if that would give you peace of mind."
What! Another test?!? As long as I don't think or know that I have cancer, then I don't...right? (intentional self-delusion)
My rational self stepped in. I asked, "What are the symptoms of a brain tumor or metastasis to the bone?"
She described them and, all of the sudden, I felt all of those symptoms. Psychosomatic, I know.
But truthfully, they weren't consistent with anything I've been feeling. We all concluded that my headaches are due to tension and bad posture, and a bit of stretching would solve the problem (that and regular massages...if only I could afford them!).

My blood work came back normal, except for my thyroid, which I suspected. It accounts for my fatigue and many other random symptoms I've been experiencing, and it is easy to fix.

So, I got a clean bill of health and can live in happy, cancer-free bliss for another few months.


  1. You are so amazing and such a beautiful representation of God's glory! Love you Sephanie!
    -Jenn Lassiter

  2. I hear your anxiety and believe me, I have had leukemia, brain tumors, ovarian cancer and lymphoma any given day of the week! I think that you handled this situation as well as you could have. And about those massages, have you heard about MSTI's Integrative Medicine Program? They offer massages at a discounted rate at the clinics. If you are interested I can get more information for you. One of the massage therapists, Amy, is phenomenal and I think you would love her!
    Amy Bacca

    1. LOL Amy! That is so funny, and so not funny at the same time. I can imagine what you go through on a daily basis. I find the less I know about cancer, the better. I'm sure if I had to see it everyday I would constantly diagnose myself as well. Ignorance is bliss!! :)
      I think at some point they presented the massage info to me, but I was overwhelmed and didn't pay attention. It's hard to find time to get away from my kids. But I would definitely like more information about your friend.

  3. Very good to hear. Rather suspensfully written.... DonK

    1. SO sorry! I didn't intend to create suspense. I guess I inadvertently shared a bit of what I experience...but honestly, it isn't something I want anyone else to go through, even remotely. :)

    2. Damie just informed me that I "always" tell stories that way (suspensefully). I guess I'm writing the wrong genre.

  4. Sounds like you have a massage option. Now if you only knew someone that could help with your posture then all your tension would be gone! Hmmmm... trying to think, who could you contact... Isn't there an exercise group meeting a couple of subdivisions over that specializes in posture? I hear they even offer amazing child watch. I think it is Paramount that you call!

    1. Ok, OK! Yes, I should have mentioned that one of my closest friends is the valley's best posture therapist! I have NO excuse for bad posture. :)
      As soon as I get this homeschool thing nailed down (and it cools off just a bit more), I will take advantage of your excellent skills and come exercise with you!

  5. With or without the disclaimer, I think your post is so valuable. Who of us don't have anxiety when we are faced with our 'doctors.'

    My mom had a brain tumor 25 years ago and every year we go back to the doctor for a scan of the area it creates panic. It reminds her of what she has journeyed through, with no desire to walk down that path again!

    Thank you for being real, Stephanie, and for putting voice to your fears so that they can be exposed to light and not stay back in the shadows where they grow to be much bigger monsters than they really are.