Why you need to go to the Doctor; even if it is scary

Today was one of the three most dreaded days for me during the year. It was my day to go and have a physical. Ugh. I hate going to the Doctor. Not because I dislike my Doctor or the staff I actually really like them a lot and they are former co-workers of mine. The reason I hate going to the Doctor is because I think I will be told the dreaded words again; “I am sorry I have to tell you this, you have cancer.” I am usually forced against my will to go to the Doctor three times a year. I have to see my Oncologist twice a year for a CT Scan, Lab work and an office visit. Then once a year to my Family Practice Physician for my physical.

It probably sounds silly that I have to be dragged into the Doctor kicking and screaming but it’s true. It usually creeps into my mind about a month before the appointment. Then the assumptions start. I come up with the darndest reasons as to why I have cancer again. After I start assuming then I start bugging those closest to me. “Feel my neck; I am sure there is a lump.” “Look at this spot on my leg that has been on there since I was born.” The list and demands goes on and on. After I have bothered everyone so much that they want to choke me it is appointment time.

Physicals are a little easier on me than scan day. Because during a physical they are probably not going to be looking inside of my body. (Unless they find something suspicious) In preparation for what I was sure would be one of my last days with hair; I spent an hour straightening it last night. Since I have been left with crazy curly hair (which I do like) it makes straightening a hot sweaty mess. After blow drying my bathroom is already a balmy 80 degrees. When you add a very hot straightening iron to that you might as well have a gallon of water and a cold compress on standby. After the hair prep it is on to life prep. Making bills out, cleaning and laundry. I always want to make sure I have my ducks in a row when I find out “the news”  Then it’s a Sprite treat to relax and off to bed.

Scan day is a whole different world. I know they are actually going to be looking inside of me and I am always sure that some type of cancer has developed. Plus I don’t get my coffee that morning and that makes for a foggy and crabby morning. After my scan and labs it is typically a four-hour wait until I get my results. Even though it is an excruciating wait I am lucky that I receive my results the same day. So I will take the four hours over a day or longer. I think another reason scan day is scary is because if I hear the dreaded words again depending on what that entails I could be starting treatment asap. At least after a physical I have a little time to prepare.

Even though these days are scary and stressful they are so worth it. The relief I feel after knowing I am okay is wonderful! I typically have a great day after learning I am good for another couple of months. One of my oncologists said to me “I don’t know why you worry so much; I told you the cancer is gone.” She is right. When we figured out what stage I was (stage 1b) after surgery they said I would be fine with the four rounds of chemo. They called my chemo an “insurance policy”  in case a small amount of cancer got into my blood that they weren’t able to detect. So yes going to the Doctor is totally worth it. Even if I do hear the dreaded words again I have to remind myself that early detection is the key. If you let things go and appointments pass you are really doing yourself a disservice. Get your physical every year. If you feel like something is going on with your body make an appointment. You know your body better than anyone so listen to your body. If you get blown off be persistent until you are satisfied with the answer you are given. You are your own advocate sometimes. If you are lucky enough to have a great Doctor stick with them. Even if you’re a ball of nerves like me and drive your family and friends nuts just remember that they are pretty much forced to listen to you and comply with your demands. Go to the Doctor and get yourself checked; even if it scares you.