Russian Roulette


There is a fine line between comfort and safety.

I have been experiencing some physical symptoms that have had me worried for a few weeks. Things that if I hadn’t had the diagnosis of ovarian cancer would have been easy to overlook and dismiss as nothing very important. But with the official cancer stamp on my medical file I’ve been worried that the symptoms I’ve been experiencing have been indicative of something more serious. So I rang the hospital today. I wouldn’t have done so myself but after embarrassing myself in front of Marie-Helene last night I finally confessed to her what has been going on and she made me promise to call the hospital and tell my doctor what’s going on. So I did.

The nurse was wonderful and caring and had just the right amount of concern in her voice. No; I am not worrying about nothing, and no it doesn’t sound like a bladder infection, but at the same time she can’t make a diagnosis over the phone as there are so many other issues and physical things that need to be ruled out before jumping to any one conclusion. I was offered an emergency appointment next Tuesday – which I declined. I just don’t trust the doctor that it would have been with. I don’t trust that he would have taken my concerns seriously and if I have to have physically invasive investigations (and I know I will) I don’t like the idea of him doing them. I would rather wait for my own doctor on the 29th to discuss what’s going on and deal with him. He has taken me through each surgery I’ve had and has been my overseeing doctor through all the chemotherapy. I trust him with my life. Truthfully, you don’t really get a choice about trusting someone when you are in this situation. You get the doctor that is on duty that day and it’s hit or miss as to whether you bond with them, but you have to trust that they are making the right decisions for your health care. I’ve had to trust someone and my doctor has made it easy. If my symptoms get any worse I am to contact the hospital immediately and if things really digress I am to go to Emergency Department immediately.

So of course, now my paranoia is hitting rooftop levels.

And I’m second guessing myself completely. Should I have taken the appointment on Tuesday and sucked it up buttercup? But isn’t being comfortable with your doctor something equally important? In the big scheme of things, what’s a couple more weeks’ difference going to really make? Or are they, as the saying goes, going to be my famous last words? I absolutely hate cancer for this. For this constant fear that I try to ignore but fail at in equal measure. No choice I make is going to be the right one in the long term outlook of this life. I am forever going to be walking through life with the sentence of cancer hanging like a dead man over me. There is never going to be a time when I don’t think, however fleetingly, that maybe it’s the cancer. It’s hard to be upbeat and positive when the reality of knowing exactly what chemotherapy is like is a very tangible, experiential memory.

It’s like playing Russian roulette. Spin the cylinder with the solitary bullet, put the gun to your temple, pull the trigger. Click. Take the appointment, don’t take the appointment, wait for the right doctor or get the doctor you feel ill at ease with, think the symptoms are serious, ignore the symptoms, explain the symptoms away and dream about it at night and expect the worst. Click click click. I don’t know if I’ve made the right call. I don’t know if comfort is better than immediacy. I’m sick with fear and immobilised with terror. I don’t want to waste the time and I’m worried that I’m wasting time.

There are no easy answers.


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