As a brain tumor and an 11 year, stage 3 colon cancer survivor, I can honestly say that there is nothing comforting about hearing “I’m sure it’s nothing” about anything until tests show that it’s actually nothing. Hearing the words “You have cancer” took away the innocence that I once had regarding trusting a doctor on their word alone. The one thing that really trumps that for me is when the average person feels the need to try to make me feel better by telling me “I’m sure it’s nothing” or “You’ll be fine”. I know they’re just saying it because nothing else really sounds good but none of us has a crystal ball to see into the future.
What prompted this little rant is that I have been having some bleeding. Not much but it’s been off and on for a few months so I have to get it checked. This might be more than you had bargained for when you decided to read this but I’m going to continue anyways. It is colon cancer month after all! When I was diagnosed with colon cancer on November 6, 2001 (yes, I remember the date), I went for the colonoscopy because I was having bleeding. Not a lot, not every day, but when my dr noticed it during a routine physical, she decided that I should go see a specialist. “I’m sure it’s nothing,” she said.
That led me to seeing a gastroenterologist who told me that I probably had internal hemorrhoids but lets do a colonoscopy and take care of it that way. “Why do you look nervous? I’m sure it’s nothing,” he said. “Well, the last time I heard that, I had brain surgery 2 months later,” I responded back. Turned out the nothing turned in to something and that something was stage 3 colon cancer.
That colonoscopy in 2001 saved my life. I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer and it changed to course of my life forever. Hearing the words “You have cancer” changes your perspective on things. One of the biggest things for me is that there is no longer a point where something is little. A small bump is cancer until proven that it’s not. A strange pain is cancer until proven that it’s not. Anything out of the ordinary is cancer until it is proven to not be cancer. That’s just the way a cancer survivors mind works sometimes.
The “until proven that it’s not” is the part where my mind takes off. I can easily get to 5 steps ahead of myself. In my mind I can already be getting chemotherapy and starting to plan my funeral even though I know that it’s “probably nothing” and everything is pointing to it being nothing but until we actually prove that it’s nothing, my mind is thinking cancer.
I don’t think I’m a hypochondriac by a long shot. I know in my heart that all of these things I have are nothing but it doesn’t stop my mind from racing. I know that God is in control of everything and I need to trust in Him. For me, that’s easier said then done sometimes.
So for now, I go for a colonoscopy on April 11. I’ll try to keep my mind from taking off on me. I haven’t had any bleeding since I made the dr appointment so I’m sure that this is nothing…but what if it’s not?
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