***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.