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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Is this serious.....or not ??

I am back after a little break due to the flu.   Even we, who have serious illness, are not immune to the other bugs that knock everyone down.   There is a bit of difference, at least in the beginning of this ordeal with cancer.

Day 4 (well really 6 but who cares)

When first diagnosed, I became very suspicious of my body.   It had let me down in a big way and so I wasn't always sure that I could trust it to let me know when or when I wasn't really sick.   Initially, I was so sick that I couldn't have told you the difference between the cancer and anything else.   As time passed, and I was becoming stronger I found myself thinking at every turn (or pain) that the cancer had returned.    If my throat hurt, I didn't think cold, I thought cancer.   If my head hurt again I figured it was returning as a brain tumour.    Even if my toe hurt I would imagine that it had returned in the bone.   I became this hyper-sensitive illness specialist.....not a very good diagnostic though.   Everything had the aura of cancer and  imminent death.    It was a horrible time and one that often I would be afraid to share because I knew that people were going to think I was being nuts.  A time though that was very real and scary all the same.

Why do I share this?   The main reason is that over the years in my experiences with other cancer patients I have found that this is a common response.    We are so mistrusting of the body that has let us down that we can not longer believe that it won't do it again.    For most, the cancer was a surprise.   We had believed that the feelings, pains, aches were just ordinary and not to be worried about and so we didn't.   What had happened was we found out that cancer had been in our bodies for some time before anyone noticed.   The doctor's told me that they figure my cancer may have been growing for about a year or more.    By the time cancer actually gives symptoms it is in its eleventh hour.   Many people still believe that if you operate on a cancer person, you open them up and the cancer when exposed to the air explodes all over and they die.   This is not true.  Usually, by the time you  have the surgery that is needed the cancer has already metastasized  and is very late stage.   The reason death comes soon after, is that there was probably nothing that could be done anyways.   When I was first diagnosed it was Stage III, grade III (I will do the next blog on staging) and that meant it had been around for awhile and was no longer confined to just the ovaries.

So, the person doesn't feel well, and the next thing you know they  have cancer.    Over time you do regain some sense of trust and accept that colds, flu, pain etc can be nothing but ordinary illnesses, but you never really give up the fear.   I found myself wondering this week because of fatigue and weakness if perhaps the cancer was back.   It turned out I ended up with a nasty cold/flu.    Still uncomfortable but just like everyone else around me I am down with just a cold. 

So, if there are people in your life who seem to overreact to simple illnesses be sympathetic.   Especially if they are recently diagnosed.    The last time they felt awful it wasn't a simple cold so they need to learn that it may not be so serious next time.   

On an aside.    Before I was diagnosed with cancer I used to sometimes be afraid that a certain pain or ache might be cancer (the headache that might be the sign of a tumour etc.).   One thing I found out and this may just be me, worrying about getting cancer was worse than the actual diagnosis.  I know that sounds weird but I think the reason was that when it did happen I had all kinds of people around me to support me and help me.......in my imagination I was always alone.

Thank God for good friends and family they seem to make such a difference :)

 

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