Picture of self with cane in restroom before medical procedure

The Cancer Scare

I guess my life is one of those never-ending comedies of error now, each day an echo of the last, a rattling noise that gets louder and louder as we wind back to the day I had my accident. I haven’t kept count, but the frequency with which my health care providers offer me what can be summarized with the template phrase “the ______ scare” has given me little rest these past 11 months.

The first sign of something being wrong was extreme back pain. Imagine getting kicked in the back. Now hold that note for hours at a time. That’s what it was like, a grinding, soul-crunching physically impossible pain that made doing anything that required standing, walking, breathing, eating, drinking, or otherwise being alive extremely difficult.

I went to the ER, got some scans, the scans were abnormal. Aside from tears in my spine, which was now also curved to the left, I had a hiatal hernia, and my gastrointestinal tract just looked wrong. I got blood tests, other tests, and then they took a look inside and got samples. Things kept coming up wrong, inflammatory markers were high, I had an infection, and even more inflammatory markers came out on the high side of abnormal.

“Well, there’s a few things this could be,” my gastroenterologist said to me just before my testing, listing off a few things before saying it. “There’s also a chance it could be cancer.”

So, when my post-consult tests came back abnormal, I held my breath. What if it’s true? What if I had to deal with something I haven’t got the money or time to handle? Was this going to end my school career for a while? Could I die? The latter question was answered when I got notified that an advanced directive questionnaire was available to me.

What are some facts that would help me get the best care? Who do I designate to make decisions for me? I like peaches for dessert and turkey with rice for dinner, and music by Annie calms me down, especially “Bad Times” and “Heartbeat,” specifically the Alan Braxe remix of the latter.

Refreshing my test results over and over, I finally worked up the urge to email my care team to ask how long it takes. One to two weeks, they said, but it seems they just got some of the results in. Soon thereafter, my doctor emailed with the results of those, telling me they found nothing cancerous.

I was relieved, mostly.

I can’t say I’m happy with the current state of my health, but one year into such a dramatic change I’ll take what good news I can get.





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