11/28/14 - The Mind of a Cancer Patient – Written on 11/20/14
I've gotten some emails asking why I haven't blogged in awhile. First and foremost, I've been having a huge RA flare making it difficult to sit at the computer for any length of time. Holding my neck up has been a chore. Unfortunately, I’ve had to take pain pills while waiting to get in to see my doctor. Many of you know how much I detest pain pills, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
Logic tells me it's just a flare up. My Rheumatologist warned me to expect a big one after treatment. I'm also having problems with my wrists, fingers, hips, feet and knees. I'm used to flare ups, but the intensity of this one is pretty severe. Normally I wouldn't think anything of it – after all, I just had a bone scan. But when you enter the wonderful world of cancer, every ache and pain becomes a suspicion of metastatic disease – a paranoid thought process. Now I will elaborate.
Today I discovered two pimples and swelling on the tip of my tongue. It hurts to eat....not that I'd let that stop me - as evidenced by my 50 pound weight gain. Now this is where a cancer patient's mind will go. My very first thought is oral cancer. On our online support board, the first advice we give is not to use Dr. Google, but do I follow that advice???? Of course not!! Here I am in the middle of the night, frantically Googling “mets to tongue.” Is there such a thing?? To my horror, there is, although it’s rare! Being the queen of rare lead me to keep Googling. NOT TOO SMART. I read that tongue mets can also be a sign of bone mets. And let’s not forget my swollen glands that I STILL HAVE. So now my RA pain suddenly becomes much more sinister. I can’t sleep, and now I’m convinced that my cancer has metastasized, and it's flowing through my body, coming out my tongue, and I probably only have three to six months to live according to Dr. Google.
Doesn't seem too rational huh? I call it going to crazy town. I usually end up in crazy town in the middle of the night when everyone is sleeping. There’s no one around to pull me back from that ledge. Sure, I could wake up my snoring, sleeping husband, but why should I expect him to visit crazy town with me??? In the cold, dark, lonely night there are no trains or buses ready to take you out of crazy town. So I alternate from my bed to the mirror, examining the pimples and swelling. Then the little flashlight comes out, and I check the pimples from every angle. Do they match the picture on my Google search??? Have these swollen glands been neck cancer all along??? Are those sinus infections I kept getting before my diagnosis related??? Maybe I should have had that MRI after all.
That's the life of a cancer patient – at least this cancer patient. I think I'm going through the normal paranoia stage that we ALL go through. I tell myself that so I don’t feel so batty. The difference is I have the added benefit of trying to decipher an RA flare from progression, which is not an easy task. Another BIG reason for no blog posts – me trying to spare you all from my paranoid ramblings. Be careful what you ask for!!
I’ve decided to follow the two week rule. If the pimples and inflammation aren't gone on my tongue in two weeks, I'll mention it to my doctor. It's quite comical really. Pre BC, I wouldn't have given tongue pimples a second thought! Now I'm planning my last holiday. So if you've had a cancer diagnosis, maybe you can relate. Or, perhaps I’m just a total loon. For those without a cancer diagnosis, I hope you can see the absurdity of it all.
Aren’t you all glad you checked on me??
UPDATE 11/28/14: Pimples went away – still a slight bit of swelling. I’ve also been put on a short course of steroids, and the RA is getting much better than last week. I hope the paranoid phase passes quickly – it’s exhausting. Ha!
P.S. Too tired to check for typos. Hopefully my proofreader will get back to me soon.
Posted by Beppy P.