Shortly after the emotional high of celebrating two family weddings in October – literally, it was three days – I was at an imaging center getting an ultrasound on my neck after my physician had felt something unusual during a routine physical the week prior.
I was told a couple days after the ultrasound (of course during a crazy week at work in the middle of a two-day conference) that the report indicated the appearance of possible growths but that they were likely completely benign.
Should this have happened in early 2016, I would have said “great, awesome, woohoo, they’re likely benign” and moved on.
But eight months ago I started a new job at a pharmaceutical company working in oncology market research. And quite frankly, I no longer automatically take a singular report or opinion on a potential health issue for me or anyone else as the final answer.
Aside from my husband and my parents, only two friends and two colleagues at work knew at the time. And when I shared the ultrasound results, I got two sets of answers. From my non-work people, the excited “that’s great! now you know”. And from my fellow oncology work buddies, it was a nod and then some version of “what are next steps?”
See, we know too much.
We know that results can be misinterpreted. We know that symptoms that don’t seem like a big deal can sometimes be an indicator of a more serious problem. We know about the ins and outs of the cancers that our medicines treat.
I’m sure folks in other professions feel similarly, that they know too much about something – doctors and nurses, law enforcement officers, counselors, etc etc etc.
You’re probably thinking that this level of knowledge can lead to some dark and anxiety-inducing places, yes? Well, while that can be true, I choose to view it as a privilege that I know too much.
I choose the word “privilege” very purposefully. I can and will be an advocate for myself and the people I love. I know some extra questions to ask doctors. I know about resources that I can share with others to help them learn or get help. I now believe getting a second opinion should be considered more often than not.
It kind of goes back to the “State of Mind” poem I shared here a few weeks ago.
You choose how to view things. You choose your own state of mind. You choose whether to find the positive or dwell in the negative.
Not to say that worry didn’t creep into my mind from time-to-time during the last three weeks, because it did. (Didn’t help that my husband was on another continent during this whole thing…bad timing.)
But it really is amazing how much the simple act of changing how you think about something can affect your mood, your day, your energy. Try it the next time you’re faced with a challenge. Change your state of mind, reframe the issue in your brain, find the happy (or at least the positive). And figure out how you can get peace of mind, if you can. For me, that meant getting a second opinion.
I’m happy to report that after meeting with an ENT last week, it turns out that I am a-okay. Additional monitoring may happen in the future, but for now no further testing or appointments are needed! #canIgetanAMEN 😀