Monday, 6 March 2017

Because It's Cancer

The doctor will see you now
photo credit

If you're anything like me, when you notice something different about your body - a lump; a pain; a reaction - the first thing you do is pick up your phone and tap your symptoms into the Google search bar. A few seconds later and wise old Dr Google responds with a myriad of possible causes and diagnoses. At this point you frantically skim-read the first page of results and are either:
a. reassured that it's just a minor complaint, or
b. panicking that death is imminent, or at the very least it's a depressingly debilitating life-threatening illness.

What often happens next is the common sense part of your brain shouts down the neurotic one, gives it a sharp slap round the face to calm it down, and then you push it to the back of your mind and go about your day.

If the symptoms persist, Common Sense reluctantly listens to Neurotic Hypochondriac's frantic pleas until he eventually gives in with a sigh and an eyeball roll and books a doctor's appointment, just to silence the inner conflict that's distracting you from living in peace. Common Sense tells Neurotic Hypo he's overreacting, but he simply shrugs and gives a wry smile, knowing he's won the battle - this time at least.

But then Life takes over; work is busy, home life hectic, and the doctor's appointment is forgotten. Common Sense says "the symptoms have subsided, it's fine." Hypo is unsettled, but sulks and doesn't push it. Time passes. The symptoms reappear. Intuition decides she needs to step in. She gives Hypo a nudge, who reminds Common Sense the appointment is outstanding, and another appointment is made...and cancelled. Something came up.

Eventually, you get to the appointment. By then, you've got used to the symptoms. Common Sense plays them down at the appointment, as you're feeling ok today and besides, you have an important meeting to get to. "This is important too!" shrieks Hypochondriac, panic rising, but he's said this before and it turned out to be nothing, so Common Sense puts his hand over his mouth and drags him kicking and screaming from the surgery. Intuition is unsettled by this performance, but despite her concerns she silently retreats.

Some months later, something remarkable happens: all the inner voices agree. The usually dominant and pragmatic Common Sense finally admits he's been bullish and listens intently to softly-spoken Intuition; both agree Neurotic Hypochondriac's voice no longer sounds crazy but actually quite feasible, and all three drive you back to the doctor. He also concurs this time and you're promptly referred to a specialist. But instead of feeling a sense of happiness, relief and calm that everyone is aligned and in agreement for once, you feel something else entirely.

Because it's cancer.

photo credit

For early symptoms of cancer, click here

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