A is for anxiety, C is for cancer

Cancer. You never think it will happen to you. Until it does.

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(This post originally appeared on PiedType.com)

Anxiety by LIthiumFX

It’s now the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I think about at night. Not to mention most of the time in between.

Cancer. You see, a phone call Thursday confirmed that last Wednesday’s biopsy was positive for grade 3 invasive ductal carcinoma. Breast cancer. And that’s all I know until I talk to the surgeon at 4 pm tomorrow. Don’t yet know how serious it is, how big, if it’s spread, etc.

But by the time that brief phone call ended, my head was pounding, I could hardly breathe, and I felt like every cell in my body was about to explode. I had almost convinced myself that the biopsy really was just a precaution, and that there was only about a 20% chance they’d find anything. Worse, I had thought doctors only delivered good news on the phone. I was wrong on both counts.

Since then I’ve been researching like crazy and scribbling down dozens of questions. They are focused on exactly what the still-unseen pathology report may say and mean, and what the next steps will be, and when and where. I’ve yet to write down any question about “prognosis” or “the long term.” One step at a time. And right now the next step is just getting through today.

I’m trying to keep my mind occupied with other things. Anything else. I’ve done some laundry. Did a load of dishes even though I still had some clean ones left (highly unusual behavior!). Watched some TV. Played some video games. Watched a movie with my son. Anything to keep from thinking about what has just happened to my life.

I’ve always been a very anxious person, the type who’ll worry about everything — and worry even more if there’s nothing to worry about. So despite the Ativan (for anxiety), I’m having spells of unexpected tears, knots in my stomach, heart in my throat, and steel bands tightening around my chest. Jittery. Impatient. Tired. I try not to think about how long this might go on and tell myself not knowing is the worst part. Except I know knowing could be a lot worse.

Either way, tomorrow will come. And so will whatever comes with it.

If my posts become less frequent for a while, now you’ll know why.

7 thoughts on “A is for anxiety, C is for cancer”

    1. Thanks. My two biggest gripes are no tagline showing, although with some work to get the sizes right, I can create a header that includes one. It just won’t be responsive anymore. The other shortcoming is I’m not sure how many people will notice the arrow in the upper corner to click for the widget dropdown, which is not particularly attractive.

  1. I hope that by now your doctor has given you enough information for your brain to engage. I know that, for me at least, when I get new info from my doc(s), it gives me something to do (research, etc.) that helps take my mind off the “worry” part of it. Not completely, of course. Nothing will do that. But whenever I want my mind to stop spinning its tires, I give it a job to keep it busy.

    1. Yep, as soon as I could see and think straight (more or less) I was online looking for information. And I have a much, much better idea now of what all that medical gibberish meant when I talked with the first doctor. Which should come in handy today when I talk to a panel of 3 doctors down at CU for a second opinion. I might even be calm enough to ask some intelligent questions and comprehend the answers.

"You don’t have to say everything to say something." ~Beth Moore

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