Fear of Cancer Recurrence and My New Lumps
Ever since my prostate cancer diagnosis, I no longer take my health for granted. I never used to think about my health and assumed I was healthy. After all, I felt strong, had lots of energy, and was very active. And whenever I experienced pain, I would ignore it, thinking it was a sign of weakness to complain.
“You have to push through the pain and walk it off” was my motto. But no longer do I believe this, and I realize it can be deadly to ignore your health.
A wake-up call
A cancer diagnosis was a significant wake-up call for me as I had no symptoms. And I had no idea that cancer was already in the final stage before spreading. I’m grateful my doctor recommended regular PSA testing even though I had no symptoms. Without testing, I wouldn’t have known my PSA was rising.
Therefore, I realized it’s critical to see a doctor for regular checkups even if you feel healthy. After all, if it’s possible to have a life-threatening disease without knowing, it’s possible to have other health issues, too. Since my diagnosis, I’ve become intimately familiar with my body. And I no longer brush off aches or pains, and immediately report anything unusual to my doctor.
Recently, I had two health scares and found two separate lumps in two different areas of my body. In the old days, I may have ignored them, but not this time. The first health scare was I woke up to pain, redness, and a lump in my right breast. My first thought was it's male breast cancer, and I immediately contacted my doctor. In case you didn’t realize, men have breasts, too.
My doctor examined the area, and although she didn’t feel a lump, she ordered an ultrasound. But the medical imaging department recommended that I have a mammogram before an ultrasound. Since I was very concerned, I was more than happy to have both tests. My doctor explained that the hospital likes to be thorough and quick when it comes to breast screening.
Getting results quickly
And my doctor was right, as I had the mammogram within two days and the ultrasound the next day. I now have a better understanding of my wife when she complains about the mammogram. It wasn’t painful, but it was a bit uncomfortable and embarrassing. But the technician was very professional and made me feel comfortable with the procedure. And she gave me the results right away and said she didn’t see any lumps. The same was true for the ultrasound, and I was very relieved to learn both scans were clear.
However, the redness, pain, and swelling continued. Once again, my doctor examined the area and didn’t feel a lump. Since both the mammogram and ultrasound were clear, she decided to prescribe a 7-day supply of antibiotics. Eventually, the area cleared, and the health scare turned out to be an infection.
A few weeks later, I had a second health scare. This time, I woke up to pain and a lump in my groin area. The day before, I was competing with my son playing the video game Mario Golf. Therefore, my first thought was it might be a hernia. I was playing rather aggressively, and I felt a pull in my groin during one of my swings. But it didn’t stop me from playing, and I ended up winning the game.
After an examination, my doctor suspected I pulled a groin muscle but ordered an ultrasound to be sure. The results didn’t find a hernia, but the lump became even larger and more painful over time. I ended up in the emergency room, where an ER doctor referred me to a surgeon. And within a few weeks, I was on the operating table undergoing hernia repair surgery.
No health concern is too small
Even though neither of my two lumps had anything to do with cancer, I still fear recurrence. But I’m comforted by the fact that I take my health more seriously and no longer brush off any pain. No health concern is too small to overlook, and it’s best always to seek the advice of medical professionals.
What was the most difficult part of your diagnosis?