My Journey through Breast Cancer

On October 11, 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage II Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) ... or as we like to call it, extreme measures for a nap (EMFN). For a while, this blog will be my cancer journal. Enter at your own risk.

01 November 2007

wherein the doctor confirms I had correctly diagnosed and treated myself

I am NOT a hypochondriac. My mama raised me right, or least tough. "You're not throwing up, your temperature is under 104, you're fine. Get dressed and go to school." "I'm sure its not broken, if its still hurting tomorrow we'll go to the hospital." "I wouldn't call it 'gaping,' put a bandaid on it and go back outside and play." These are the mantras I grew up with and have come to call my own. I assume most things are not serious, take most pain in stride, and figure whatever it is it'll probably go away soon anyway. Kind of like the "check engine" light in my car. If you wait long enough, it just burns out.

So when the intense itching in my forearms started last Monday, on my way home from Orlando, I figured it was a heat rash and would go away in a few days. However, after a week of not sleeping well and 3 tubes of Benadryl lotion, those around me started insisting I see a doctor ... just to make sure. I hemmed and hawed a while longer, but finally gave in after another sleepless night left me near tears over just having to wake up. I was still sure the unexplained itching would go away soon, but there was simply no other way to silence the voices around me who, I imagine, were simply tired of hearing me complain.

Yesterday I made an appointment for today. I told my boss what the deal was and that I'd be gone a little longer during my lunch break, and off I drove for East Whittier. Yes, from Fullerton that takes a full 30 minutes, all side streets (another reason I try to avoid actually having to SEE the doctor). When the doctor finally came to my little doctor's office room, I started explaining to her my unexplainable itching. As I did I could hear in the back of my head my mother saying, "I can't believe you actually went to the doctor for some itchy arms." But I had to know, right? She confirmed it wasn't infectious, or it would have spread. It wasn't allergic, or there would be a rash. And since there was no rash, she couldn't really diagnose anything. It probably IS a heat rash that is simply taking a long time to go away. Much to my doctor's credit, she never looked at me like I was wasting her time. She's the reason I still drive cross-country for a doctor's visit.

She told me about some stronger anti-itch creams that I could get over-the-counter, and said if it was still a problem in a couple weeks, I could call her and she'd prescribe something even stronger. But basically, I was already doing the right things and I could rest easy that it would probably go away on its own. Exactly what I thought.

I'm still trying to silence the "I told you so" voice in my head. It probably WAS a good idea to double check that there wasn't something more wrong with me. And I am assured its not allergic, which had become my main suspicion. And she confirmed that I'm doing the right things with the anti-itch cream and the antihistamine to sleep through the night. (That's probably been the hugest help, as I'm more rested during the day and therefore less cranky with my ever-patient husband.)

So although I still heartily agree with my mother that few things actually need a doctor's advice or drugs to heal, I suppose I'm glad for the doctor's confirmation. And hopefully the "voices of reason" around me are appeased. I promise to complain less about my itching. Really.

**Disclaimer: My mom is a wonderful person with a caring heart, and isn't nearly as uncompassionate as this little tale makes her out to be. I've always been prone to a little exaggeration. Love you Mom!

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