Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ants on My Arm

Once you’ve had cancer, it’s a pretty tough balance to be aware of warning signs of more cancer without being a paranoid hypochondriac. I’ve been feeling a tingling sensation on my left arm for most of today. It feels like there are ants crawling up my arm, but when I look down, there’s nothing. I had my Herceptin treatment yesterday. Maybe this is a new, delayed side effect?

A few weeks ago, I had a headache for a day and a half. I was concerned for two reasons: One, I never get headaches. Even when I’m hung-over, I just feel queasy, sans headaches. Two, I have cancer. I’ve heard stories of how people discovered their cancer. Many of them started with seemingly innocuous symptoms -- a headache, a bloody nose, a slight but persistent cough.

So if someone who never gets headaches suddenly gets headaches, and that someone happens to have cancer, and that cancer happens to spread to the brain 40% of the time that it spreads to the rest of the body, well... can’t blame myself for being a bit worried. This is precisely why post-cancer life is never going to be pre-cancer life. After cancer, a headache is never just a headache.

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