Moving beyond a 3-month horizon
I had a couple of follow up doctor’s appointments yesterday. I was struck by how everyone seem to be commenting on my hair – then I realized, the last time I was in to see these doctors I only had a thin covering of grey hair, not a head full of dark hair. So, I guess, yes, my hair has grown quite a bit (as I write this I’m adding some colour to again cover the bits of grey that are popping out).
Let me start by saying – it is not cancer. I actually had my oncologist agree to the statement that as far as he is concerned, I have no evidence of disease (These would be the good words that I specifically needed to hear). However, I’m having headaches. I have been having headaches for months. I had already seen my oncologist about my headaches once already. When talking to my friend, she encouraged me to just ask for what I wanted – and so – rather than skirting around the issue – I asked point blank for a brain MRI. I wanted to rule out cancer. My oncologist agreed – which in turn made me really nervous. My oncologist is typically not one to order tests when they are not necessary. And so, over the last week, I’ve been doubly stressed – headaches and worries that the cancer might have spread to my brain (highly unlikely – but still the headaches became a constant reminder). So, on Tuesday morning I had a brain MRI. On Thursday afternoon my oncologist told me that my brain is normal for someone my age (yay). Now, this doesn’t address the headaches, but there is some hope, that my CPAP (aka my panacea) will resolve the headaches. That or one of the many medications I’m on.
And so, now I am taking more deep breaths. I’m hoping that the headaches stop soon, but at least now I know that I don’t have breast cancer metastasis to the brain. Over the last couple months, I would often make decisions based upon the question would I still want to do this if I had mets? I realize now just how much of that is catastrophizing (thinking only of the worst-case scenario).
I’m hoping that I can focus a little better now. I also noticed that I had only been allowing myself to make plans within a three month window. I have a trip to Niagara and Toronto next week (seeing my parents for the first time since my big surgery, then presenting at a conference). I have another trip planned for early September – presenting at two conferences in the UK and visiting several people while there. We have talked about a trip to visit parents for American Thanksgiving, but I wasn’t allowing myself to book anything. I wanted to make sure I was healthy first.
I am now going to challenge to myself to think of my life beyond 3-months. I am going to challenge myself to make plans for something that is further in the future. I am going to try to move beyond my three-month horizon!