wide eyed dog, animal, panic

When you think everything is cancer

Headache? Cancer. Sore throat? Cancer. Strange need to lie down because of extreme tiredness? Cancer. Not a hangover. Not too much work/sugar/life. Do not pass go, just go straight to cancer.

I am doing this a lot these days. Diagnosing myself with cancer at the very smallest twinge. It’s a terrible thing, a pointless thing to do. Ignorant, really.

When I went travelling we used to laugh about the fact that all the symptoms of tropical diseases were the same as the common cold. Now, twenty years on, this is again applicable to my daily life, but it’s no longer malaria that I torture myself with but you-know-what.

I am sure it all started when I found a lump in my breast last year. It turned out to be nothing, but the shadow was cast, the die rolled, the idea planted, the weed spread. I drove myself to the screening centre, nearly got trapped in the hospital car park (FFS) and cried when the radiologist said it was all OK. And now I check my breasts constantly, rush to have a smear test, and examine strange little growths on my body obsessively. As my entire system begins to misfire codes and small lumps appear on my feet or the side of my nose, I touch and worry, fiddling with my new abnormalities like worry beads.

And obviously I don’t go to the doctor. Because most of me knows it’s a sugar hangover, or overtiredness or just little hormonal shifts that are causing these strange developments. Not cancer. And the stupid part lies in the knowledge that if it ever is cancer, all this worrying and fantasising won’t make the dealing with it any easier. Same with worrying about burglaries. Beyond basic common sense (don’t smoke 60 a day, don’t leave doors open etc.), is constant vigilance just a quality-of-life-destroyer? It’s certainly not the way to true peace of mind….

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