Hypochondria

I may have touched on this topic before, and if I did, I’m sorry, but here it is again. There are so many side effects associated with cancer and with chemotherapy that it’s hard to know what symptoms are from side effects and what symptoms aren’t. Sure, there is a whole laundry list of side effects for each chemotherapy drug; and there is a reasonable expectation that a particular combination will produce particular side effects. But what happens when the side effects are not part of the known ones? Does that mean I’m weird? Does it mean something else is going on not associated with either cancer or chemo?

The last time I met with my oncologist and told him some of my side effects, he stared blankly at me for a few seconds as if he couldn’t quite believe what I was describing. It seems he had never heard of what I was describing to him. And maybe he hadn’t. Maybe the side effects I was having were totally unique to me; or maybe others have the same symptoms just not in his practice. And that brings me to the hypochondria part.

Every time there’s a new twinge, ache, pain, or any other thing that’s out of the ordinary, it can set off a mild panic. What is this? Chemo-related? Cancer-related? Something new? Is it serious enough to call my oncologist’s office or should I wait to see if it goes away? And it doesn’t help that my brain is fuzzy so my reasoning can sometimes be a little off. I know my team has told me to call any time I have concerns, but I feel foolish taking up their time with something as trite as a small swelling on my neck that could just be from the weight gain. But then again, what if it’s something else? It seems silly, but I do agonize over these decisions. What if it’s nothing? What if it’s something? So I usually end up calling, and it’s usually nothing.

At this point, I’m thinking it’s better to call and find out it’s nothing than to not call and have it be something that should have been dealt with. I’ve come too far in the last 4 months to let anything stop me now. So I will continue to monitor myself, and I will call when something seems off. Even if I can’t quite articulate it. Because who knows me and my body better than I do?

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16 thoughts on “Hypochondria

  1. saundragoodman says:

    You should call with every question you have to put your mind at rest. Someone else somewhere will have the same questions and you could be helping your team help others.

  2. You’re right! No one knows your body better than you do. So I’d say you’re right: keep asking questions. There is on such thing as a stupid one, and people are not mind readers. Stay in touch with your body, Ruth!

  3. Remember that old saw that goes, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you”? In the same way, I think we could say, “Just because you’re a hypochondriac doesn’t mean something might not be wrong.”

    Ask those questions! Even if everyone else in the world knows the answer, you don’t – and that’s what matters.

  4. Hi, I am going through this situation right now! It’s so good to hear someone else describe it too. It’s a really uncomfortable position to be in, wouldn’t you say!? I truly hope you have a found a way to manage it that works for you though. I am still finding my path on this one.
    Shae x

  5. I think it’s better to call and have it be nothing. My treatment team is awesome and always takes me seriously if I call. I would say call. It’s better than not calling and having it be something serious no matter how silly it might sound.

  6. Yes I say ask as then your mind is at rest instead of worrying.. Over the years I have had a few false alarms and I have always found everyone very helpful and kind and doing what ever needs to be done to make sure everything is ok…

Ruth passed away from cancer. Please remove from list

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