Can I put my worries aside for Christmas?
December 13, 2011 10:19 AM Subscribe
How can I put off worrying about my health enough to enjoy the holidays? Also, what should I ask my second-opinion doctor? (A couple icky details inside)
posted by whalebreath to human relations (28 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A few weeks ago, driving home from work, I experienced cramps so severe in my lower abdomen that I had to pull over. They would come and go over the next few weeks, always causing me to double over in pain. I finally decided to go see the doctor when I noticed blood and mucus in my stool a few days ago.
Doctor at walk in clinic was clearly worried but very uncommunicative. Touched my belly a few times, asked me about family histories of Crohn's (there is none, although there is a history of colon cancer) and ordered a cat scan, no other tests. I was clearly terrified, so much so that I didn't bother to ask him any questions about what he was thinking it could be. He also prescribed a painkiller for the cramps (Lomotil) and an antibiotic (Supmax 400) without explaining either. I guess one of my questions is whether I should take either of these medications. I mean, I don't like taking antibiotics without a valid reason to do so, and the doctor ran no tests to find out if I had a bacterial infection.
I went home and asked google all of my questions, and now am terrified (crying for the past two hours terrified) of the possibility that I have colon cancer. My symptoms match it exactly, over IBS, colitis, Crohn's, etc. And I'm not too young (female, 27) to get it. My family has a very intense history of cancer.
So my cat scan is for January tenth. I'm going away over the holidays, to a place full of friends and family that I've been yearning for (I'm really lonely and isolated where I'm living now) and I just want to be able to enjoy it. I mean, sure, I might have cancer, but is worrying about it going to help? I can't do anything until my scan on January tenth, so I'd like to be able to forget about it somehow? I just don't know how. Whenever I think about the possibility now I well up and cry and can't leave my house. I am prone to anxiety and depression, which is being treated and is largely under control. I had a therapist here who really wasn't doing much for me, and she's the best option in this little town, and in fact I wrote her to ask for an appointment and she hasn't written me back. That was a week ago, so I"m feeling a little abandoned/alone/resentful of her and don't'want to go see her now. I've told some friends about my fears and they've been great for calming me down, but there's only so calm I can get, and I don't want to spend the holidays - that I've looked forward to for so long - crying and worrying.
Finally, I made an appointment to see another doctor tomorrow. I don't know if they will actually let me in, since I have no health card and the first clinic almost turned me away, but if I do get to see a doctor I'd like to know what I should ask about in terms of a second opinion. Will the doctor resent me for taking up their time when I've already been to see another doctor who ordered a scan? I'm in Canada so it's not like doctors have to cater to our needs to get our business...I'm not sure that second opinions are as common here as they are in the States? I don't want to go in and seem like a crazy hypochondriac by crying and blubbering...I want to be composed and informed and know what I'm there to ask. What tests could be done that the first doctor didn't do? I'd like to be able to advocate for myself to have whatever done that can be done to get to the bottom of this. Also, my scan is on Jan. 10th - which is pretty soon, but is that amount of time too long to wait if it is cancer? I mean, I know it's important to catch it early, but is <30 days of waiting going to make a difference? I think one thing that could help me stop worrying was if I knew that it wouldn't make a huge difference whether they caught it tomorrow or next month, but I'm not sure about the truth of that.
Note that I also have extreme fatigue, and my friend has been urging me to go to the doctor for the past couple of months because I spend most of my time sleeping or planning to go home to sleep. Also, I've been under a lot of stress with the end of the semester. Finally, my cramps aren't relieved by a bowel movement, I don't feel urgency to use the bathroom, and my stools have varied from diarrhea to constipation to normal. I also have a headache, no fever.
Sorry this is so long and unorganized. I just feel so scared and helpless and panicky.