We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis. I’m not exactly celebrating for a couple of reasons… the biggest being the nerve-wracking week that I’ve had.
Last Wednesday, I came home from work early because I was too dizzy to function. Best way I can explain it is vertigo – and it all started when I woke up. It was extremely troubling and my oncologist set me up with a general practitioner to see the next week, but by dinnertime I felt much better so I didn’t make the appointment.
The next day I felt fine and the next. But over the weekend I discovered a hard ridge-like area on my right breast and started freaking out all over again that the cancer had returned.
On Monday I was able to see my oncologist and she was not at all concerned, but she let me get an ultrasound for peace of mind. It all looked normal. Phew – one disaster averted.
Then Wednesday night again I had dizzy feelings – not as much vertigo as slight nausea, lightheadedness, coldness, and not feeling “normal”. This morning I woke up still feeling nauseous, which went away quickly, but I felt a lot of pressure in and around my head – migrating from behind my eyes to the back of my neck and, currently above my right ear.
I am totally confused about what is going on in my body, but I know I don’t feel right and I am worried and scared. My immediate thought, thank you breast cancer, is that I have a brain tumor. Such a drastic conclusion for what are probably benign and uncomplicated symptoms, but that’s what having cancer will do to you.
To relieve my fears (best case scenario), I am having an MRI tomorrow.
I should be happy – I’m going to get this checked out, find out it’s nothing to be worried about, and move on with my life. But I’m scared %&*@less and it’s making me feel like a crazy person. I had surgery to remove the cancer, which was stage 1. No lymph node involvement, no signs of spread anywhere. I had aggressive chemo. There is really no reason to believe that I have a tumor in my brain, other than these weird dizzy spells, which could be caused by a myriad of other minor disorders.
My doctor again says she isn’t terribly concerned – my symptoms aren’t consistent with what she’s seen in brain cancer patients. More like a low-grade viral infection. My dad agrees.
But I’m having the MRI anyway, despite the professional advice and my own fears. I keep having these visions (not literally, or I’d be even more concerned about a brain tumor) of sitting at my parent’s house tomorrow as I receive the news that I my MRI showed a brain tumor. It feels like last March all over again, just thinking about how drastically my life is going to change (AGAIN) if that happens. The weather woman on my TV drones on and on about cold fronts and all I can think is, “The whole world will melt away tomorrow if I find out that I have metastatic cancer.”
What is one supposed to do with that news? And how is one supposed to live a life where every “off” feeling leads to the unshakeable dread that cancer has returned or spread?
I guess we take it one day… one test… at a time. My ultrasound was fine. My MRI will most likely be fine. And once those are out of the way, maybe I can stop worrying, at least for the next three months.