It’s not often that I have health concerns – I count myself very lucky that I am a relatively healthy person (aside from that pesky genetic mutation). I don’t often have to go to my family physician with any sorts of concerns other than my regular annual check up. I make my rounds through my list of specialists each year and when I’m pregnant it all ramps up quite a bit as a precaution – so it may seem to the outside world that I’ve got a lot going on but overall I’m happy and healthy.
A couple months ago I started having some concerning symptoms – pain, intermittent nausea, constipation, feelings of fullness, lack of appetite and fatigue. My closest nurse friends shouted from the roof tops – go the your DOC! I promised and promised and re-promised but I’m really good at ignoring and putting things aside. I learned to live with the discomfort and didn’t really pay it much attention, often I’d think “hmm… it seems to have fixed itself” and I kid you not, each time I thought that I’d get the now familiar jab to my abdomen – a reminder that something is still not quite right. Then about a month ago my body sent me an alarm that can’t be shoved to the side or ignored – unbelievable constant heartburn. That was my final straw to finally go and see my physician.
I work in two different places – both in Oncology and so I realize my view of the world is very skewed yet with every new diagnosis I see I think to myself – a few days ago they thought they were healthy and now their world is turned upside down. It’s a big joke in the Oncology nursing world that we all think we have cancer at the slightest headache, but it really is impossible to get that out of your head when sometimes that’s all it takes for someone to come in to their Dr and be diagnosed. I don’t actually think I have cancer but historically in my life I get ominous feelings – a feeling of knowing something isn’t quite right before I get an actual diagnosis. My infertility and PCOS is a prime example – I didn’t need a full work up to know exactly what was going on and I wasn’t surprised or shocked at the diagnosis. It was the same with my Marfan’s diagnosis – I got the phone call and a sympathetic genetic counsellor on the other end saying “I’m sorry, it’s come back positive,” cheerily I said “I thought it would! Thanks for letting me know!” She seemed taken aback – “you don’t sound upset or surprised” and I replied “Well, I’ve been assuming that’s the correct diagnosis most of my life so it’s actually nice to finally have a confirmation.”
This week my current symptoms have been screaming at me – I can’t tell you if they are truly worse or if my final acknowledgement of them have made them more real to me. This time is a bit different than every other medical issue I’ve had – I have not a clue what’s going on and my only assumption is the worst one. My Dr is quite stumped as well and can only offer that maybe it’s a mechanical bowel issue – I’m almost certain that it’s not but I’m willing to test out that theory. My blood work is almost perfect – but that’s not very reassuring for me, I almost wish it wasn’t so at least we’d have a direction. We’ve talked about lifestyle and diet – I thought at the beginning it was stress related due to my work situation, I changed that up and have no work or home related stress at all – symptoms persisted. I know my diet isn’t perfect but compared to the vast majority of the North American population it’s pretty close to being flawless, I make an effort to drink a lot of water, eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoid processed foods of any kind, no refined sugar of any kind. Of course I treat myself here and there and maybe I just need to be more strict – so in hopes of figuring it all out I’m going to once again get my diet to a strict gluten, sugar, dairy free diet, maybe that’ll help.
It’s really rare for me to be concerned or worried about anything health related – even cardiac wise, which is my biggest risk, I have a carefree attitude but this time around I just can’t shake it. I think for the most part as I’ve gotten older, and as I have started a family, I realize that I’m not a superhero that can survive everything. I am but a mere mortal at the mercy of whatever gets thrown my way.
I don’t mean to be so negative and really I don’t think I have cancer, and to be honest I just needed to get this all out as some stress release. I’m just ready to start feeling well again and the more days that pass the farther and farther away that feeling gets. Right now my norm is naps in the day and sleeping from 730pm to 7 am. I used to be able to clean the house, do the laundry and prepare the food all in a day, recently I can only do a portion of a couple of those things throughout the day and the rest of my day is spent resting. I’ve taken for granted my health in the past and today I am thankful for an incredible health care system (even a broken one) which includes an amazing GP who truly listens and investigates concerns.