My left arm hurts. I discussed it with the Maestro yesterday - I have a new cord (look up “fascial cording” if you need a further explanation) and it runs all the way down to my damn wrist. But my hand is numb, my arm aches and it’s a bit swollen. So I am being scheduled to go in for more PT and lymphatic massage -and, I am assuming, to assess if I may have lymphedema (which is basically swelling caused by the removal of lymph nodes - it can be horrifically painful if you don’t catch it early - and if I have it I will need to wear a lovely *NOT* compression sleeve in order to get it under control).
But - of course - I am convinced it’s cancer. Because after you have been diagnosed with cancer and done a shitload of treatment (which I am still doing) - you automatically assume that any ache, pain, spasm, twitch, or glitch is cancer. I had a great talk with one of my doctors about all of this yesterday. And she assured me this kind of thinking is not abnormal for cancer patients and survivors. Cancer is a traumatic life event and dealing with the aftermath of it can be as painful as dealing with the disease itself. Sometimes moreso.
There is no guidebook on how to move on after cancer or any other debilitating disease. No rules. No cut sheet with a list of “to do’s”. There is advice - sure. But often that advice is coming from someone who hasn’t even ever had cancer. And as a young person dealing with this kind of diagnosis, I have (hopefully) many years of fear and worry ahead of me.
But I hope there are days ahead of me when I don’t jump to the absolute worst conclusion when something hurts. Because - let’s face it - as we get older, shit starts to hurt. But right now, everything is cancer. And it’s awful. Just absolutely awful.
This. Just this. I spent a LOT of my time in Norway freaking out because I thought I could feel lumps under my ribs and in my abdomen. I actually considered, and had a long talk over dinner with my family, getting on a plane and flying home just to get a scan and put my mind at rest.
Even now I’m in all clear territory, my throat hurts and the back of my mind goes “maybe it’s that lymph node in your neck” or my abdomen is stiff, and I think something has gone wrong with the scar. And when I’m tired when I come home in the evening I wonder if I have good enough reason to be tired or maybe the fatigue is creeping back in.
On the topic of compression gear, I’m in a compression sock for 6 months, wooo. Fortunately it’s the winter months, but wearing a very tight stocking that takes 5 minutes and lots of struggling to put on ain’t great. But at least I got purple ones! Usually only for private patients but I asked nicely. Was given an amusing leaflet with pictures like these to illustrate the fabulous range of colours on offer :P