Scanxiety and a Google diagnosis
So the last few weeks I've been struggling with a huge amount of anxiety. A while ago I found a lump on my mastectomy side of my breast and while my oncologist said it was fine, I was still worried.
Then, for the last few weeks Ive been getting intense pain shooting down my spine every time I look down or move my neck. I've also been getting heavy nose bleeds several times a day, and wake up every night too hot, then too cold, then too hot.
So when I saw my oncologist again, I asked how does she know that the treatment is even working? Her answer "Well, you don't." So I asked in that case why haven't I been given regular check ups and/or scans? She said "Well, we can scan you if you like." I say "uhh yes, yes I would thanks!" "I will book you in right now for a CT," she says casually. I feel so confused. Maybe this is just a big deal to me and not her? Maybe I'm worrying about nothing? You know what, no. This is my life we are talking about here!
The next morning after another horrible nights' sleep of 'boiling hot please get me out of this oven/so cold I cant even feel my eyeballs', I roll up my sleeves and turn to the world's most reliable source - Google. With a smile wiped off my face permanently and heavy stones in my stomach, I officially diagnosed my 23 year old self after googling the following: >too hot and too cold at night during chemo>menopause>menopause symptoms>hot flushes>am I infertile>will I ever get my period again>how to cope with menopause in your 40s (there were no articles for 'how to cope with menopause in your 20s', so that had to do. I couldn't believe it, I knew there was a chance that chemo could make me infertile, but now it was set in stone. I will never forget how truely depressed I felt that day.
So I have the scan on a Tuesday, wait 3 days which feels like 3 months to be told that the results were all clear, my bleeding nose was a normal side effect, my periods should definitely come back due to my age, the menopausal symptoms were temporary, and the feeling down my spine was just me sleeping funny. So yeah, it was a relief to say the least.
But Ive learnt two things from this week: one is that its OKAY to feel anxious about unusual things going on in your body, but to VOICE your concerns rather than hide them, otherwise the anxiety will control you more than you control it. The other thing I learned is that no question is a stupid question, and I felt like an idiot asking about something that was probably nothing, but its important to tell yourself to be assertive and remind yourself that this is YOUR health and body - Im still learning that the health system is different here than in the US where I was first diagnosed where you actually have to ask if you want things done.
Moral of the story: go with your gut feeling, be assertive, and don't try and diagnose yourself on google!