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Scared of Every Little Ache and Pain?

Posted Jan 15 2010 9:31am

pepto-gal

A while back, Shannon was out of town a few weeks before one of my big scans.  I had a horrible upset stomach.  Probably from something I ate.  I was on the toilet for hours while sweat rained off my body onto the bathroom floor.  I was shaking so badly my feet sounded like they were tap dancing.  Logic left my mind and I felt like I was going through treatment all over again.  I needed some serious grounding.

When I feel aches and pains or an upset stomach, I have trained myself to go on the defensive.  I aggressively guide my mind away from the dark places of wondering if I have long-term side effects or a secondary form of cancer.  I get logical telling myself that if I had a new form of cancer or a recurrence, I would probably have repeated symptoms not an isolated incident.

Prior to cancer I was little miss natural-homeopath.  I never even took Tylenol for fevers or headaches.  Now I pop a Tylenol, Advil, Pepto at the first sign of feeling sick.  If I squash the symptoms, I curb my fears.  I figure that after swallowing two enormous doses of radioactive iodine, my body probably considers over the counter drugs to be a walk in the park.

When I’m suddenly hit with a harsh stomach bug or I spike a fever, it is xanax time.  It chills me out and keeps me from going to that illogical place of fear.  And I also try to talk to someone who gets it. Isn’t going to tell me I’m nuts.  Isn’t going to make me feel like the hypochondriac I am.  Someone soothing who is going to say, “Of course this is scary stuff.  After all, you’ve had cancer.”

Do you ever suffer from irrational fears when you feel aches and pains?  Were does your mind go and how do you bring it back?

To learn more about cancer and post-traumatic stress, read Everything Changes: The Insider’s Guide to Cancer in Your 20s and 30s.

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