Monday, 2 March 2009

thoughts on being a 'hypochondriac'

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

This post is especially for those of us who are 'post everything'. I.e.: surgery and chemo. Everyone thinks you are better. We all hope we are. And we are. But we are all afraid we aren't. The surgery is done and pretty much healed. The chemo is finished. Your hair starts growing back [into hilarious styles I might add - in my case anyway!]. Your energy levels are up. The days of Fatigue Attacks become fewer and shorter, in fact when I get an FA now, I wonder why I'm so tired...then I remember! This has got to be a good thing. The mind is amazing how it can just "put things away" if you will. I am sure it helps the body heal, not to be thinking about all that horrific stuff. Thanks Brain!

But, now that all those hospital visits are over, apart from the 3 monthly check-up, the Helpful Brain starts a new trick. It's called "Imagining The Worst". The hospital visits were a comfort zone [why?? all that happened to me there was painful and scary?]. Maybe because you know that someone else is looking after you, checking you, making sure every little blip is a 'norm'. Once the last chemo is over, it’s: "off you go, have a nice life". Which is great - they are obviously confident that you will.

BUT what happens next is almost the most difficult part to deal with.

Every single little thing that happens, be it a stomach ache [it's returned on my bowel] or a back ache [it's on my lungs!] or a foot ache or a headache [definitely a brain tumour]...everything makes you stressed. Everything makes you wonder if the cancer has come back. Everything makes you scared.

And that is SO frustrating!!!

As a person who hardly ever went to the doctors BC, for me this seems an insane life of seeming hypochondria.

Well, I finally gave in and went to see my GP about that stomach pain I had. Of course by the time I rang to make an appointment, I was pretty stressed, and when the secretary said the earliest appointment would be next week, I felt sick. So I explained the situation, and she was really very good. She said she’d get my GP to call me, he’s see if he felt I should be fitted in. Sigh of relief.

He called me back in 10 minutes, and fitted me in half an hour later! How good is that? And I did mention to him that I feel like an hysterical hypochondriac with my constant wittering on, and it was him who said that this bit is now the most difficult bit and that I am actually managing well. Oh, and that I am definitely NOT a hypochondriac. Good.

Trying to cope with having had cancer that is, according to all the newspapers etc, quite likely to recur, [and of course this month the hype is worse than usual] is hard. Especially in the first few years. You want to be 'better' and 'get on with it'. But you also want to put something back, spread awareness, try to help other women with the horrors of dealing with this stupid disease. So you can’t just turn over and go; "excellent, I’m better now, ciao amigos". Because all the time, you are worrying about the Dreaded Recurrence.

But anyway, I’m fine - seems I may have had an infection - apparently once you’ve had all your guts hauled out and mauled around, they are a lot more sensitive to anything like that. And he also explained what all the lumps and bumps are that are going on inside my stomach [I now know where my liver lives]. It’s weird – I never once examined my tummy before last year, and when I do now I wonder what the hell is going on in there? Nothing is ever in the same place - and the GP said that it’s pretty difficult to examine yourself anyhow, as the minute you raise an arm to do it, something tenses somewhere.

Oh and I also know where my aorta is. Aorta? Did I want to know that? Er - no. Very interesting, the things I’ve learnt this past year!

So, it seems I am going to be a multiple personality for a bit - one of me getting back to 'normal', looking forward to the usual things, working, gardening, holidays [yay! Venice!] etc - the other one doing what erstwhile would have been totally out of character things; like the circuit training, Relay for Life, trying to support other women like myself who are going through all the terrors I did. And of course trying to get the message across to other women about ovarian cancer.

Hopefully, at some point, both these people will arrive at an agreement for time sharing, and I’ll be in my fab and groovy new single persona! At the moment though, it can be a bit confusing.


  1. I completely understand! :) Its a little like being bi-polar.

    I'm glad that your stomachache was nothing (whew). But don't worry about being a hypochondriac! Better to be safe and pester the doctor.

    I'm sure that the hypochondria will lessen with time. :)


  2. I'm a total hyporchondriac now and I'm proud of it:) It's hard not to be, lol! I call it "being proactive" in regards to my healthcare...we are the best advocate there is for our bodies!! And that my friend is never silly...

  3. I have learned...never be a passive patient...push,push and push for answers and satisfaction. I knew in 2005 that something was wrong and it just wasn't in my head.

    But it took until 2007 to be suspected. Then I was pushed into surgery and not having the time to meet or choose my oncologist surgeon. And , waking up to a port in my abdomen and that dreaded news...

    You make sure you are taken care of. No more mediocrity for me. Go girl!


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