Monday, February 1, 2010

But things are different with cancer

So why did I list all my stupid medication side effects yesterday? Well, here's the difference. When you don't have cancer, if you have a headache, a little dizziness, aches and pains, feeling tired, you don't think anything of it. You were on your computer too long, maybe are dehydrated, overdid it at the gym, didn't get enough sleep, etc. Unless its a migraine, you fall over from being dizzy, are in excruciating pain, or fall asleep at the office, you don't think anything of it. You may take some OTC medication and just ignore things for a few days. No big deal.

But when you add a cancer diagnosis (or two) to the mix, its not a headache, its a brain tumor. Its not dizziness, its a new weird cancer infiltrating your ear drums or another incurable ailment that will deprive you of your right to drive a car and go to work. Its not aches and pains, its your cancer has spread to your bones. Its not just being tired, its leukemia and anemia causing fatigue. Your mind travels down that road to hell which is filled with all sorts of dire thoughts which usually start with, 'I'm gonna die' thoughts. Not to be morbid or anything but cancer changes everything.

Living with a cancer diagnosis means learning to balance all these evil thoughts with a 'normal' life. (If you can define normal, please feel free to let me know. We are all weird in our own way.) You wonder why cancer people are more prone to depression and go to all those support groups and talk to other cancer people to keep our sanity.

Doctors and medical professionals don't help. Well, I mean they do help because they treat you and make you better and kill off cancer cooties. But they don't help when they say 'its probably nothing but with your medical history, we need to be sure. Blah, blah, blah.' Sometimes I feel if one more doctor says that to me, I'll scream. Nothing like getting that nice little slip of paper from the doctor to head for blood tests and a chest x-ray after your annual physical (does everyone else get an annual chest x-ray?) which says 'history of thyroid carcinoma' across the bottom. Its also printed on lots of the test results I get. In case I forgot. Thank you for that reminder. I wonder why they haven't updated it to say 'history of thyroid carcinoma and breast cancer'. (Actually I think they upgraded their computer system and are removing these helpful little reminders from their print outs.)

Cancer changes everything. Well isn't that a trite little statement. I prefer to think of it as 'cancer, the gift that keeps on giving'. Anyway, I don't need any reminders on my medical history. The little voices in my head keep reminding me of it. It is dizziness as a side effect. It is a normal head ache. The aches and pains are just part of my back issues. And being tired is the result of not sleeping due to back pains.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

I found your blog, and I just wanted to say I completely agree with so much of what you're saying in this post! I'm a 14 month uterine cancer survivor, so I'm still dealing with the freshness of everything. But, just wanted to say, thank you for writing, and keep up the great work!