My Cancer Scare

I’m a high anxiety type of person and nothing makes me more anxious than something that is beyond my control – namely health issues.

Two weeks ago, I was literally freaking out. I can’t think of a more accurate term. I was too upset to write about it then, but I can write about it now.

Before we went on our last trip, I burned the heck out of my mouth on a slice of pizza. Despite the fact that it hurt like heck and that it was a pretty deep wound, I continued to eat with abandon. (Hey, a girl’s gotta eat, right?) Hard crusted bread? Yum! Frosted Mini-Wheats (edible cardboard)? Delicious when dipped in milk as a bedtime snack! Anyway, the more I ate, the more irritated my mouth got. It did start to heal, but very slowly. When we got home from our trip, I still had a small lump on the roof of my mouth.

I had a dentist appointment the week after we returned and the dentist examined my mouth “trauma.” She said three weeks was plenty of time for a mouth to heal and she was very, VERY concerned. My stomach immediately got tied up in knots and I asked her to tell me what she really thought. She said it could be a virus, or something else, or there was a good possibility it was a malignancy. Or, she said, I could have just really “whacked” my mouth up pretty good. She told me to come back in two weeks if it wasn’t gone by then. (Two weeks?! How could I wait two whole weeks to know if I have cancer or not?!)

Of course, after she said the word “malignancy”, I was a basket case. My stomach reacted instantly to the stress (I spent the next two days in the bathroom and lost eight lbs.) I was mired in worry, couldn’t sleep, and tried to bury myself in my work just so I wouldn’t have to think about my mouth. My imagination took off and, by the time the entire event had unfolded in my mind, Richard was raising all our children on his own and the children were all crying endless tears because Mommy had left them. It was terrible!!

Richard bought me flowers the next day but I couldn’t even look at them because, each time I did, I remembered that I might have cancer. After two days of hell, I decided I was NOT going to wait two weeks. I made an appointment to see our family practitioner that Friday. If he thought it was anything other than a bad burn, I’d have him send me immediately for a biopsy. I thought if I just knew one way or the other, I’d stop panicking.

The next morning, I woke up and realized the lump in my mouth seemed a bit smaller. Was it my imagination? I didn’t think so, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

The next morning, which was Friday, I woke up and realized the lump was definitely smaller. As Richard reminded me, cancer doesn’t get smaller! I was so relieved and so ecstatic and so certain the dentist was dead wrong that I cancelled my doctor appointment. While I can still feel a small scar on the roof of my mouth, it’s still healing and I know it’s just scar tissue.

I have the paranoid response when something happens to Richard or the children. I can work myself into a full blown panic within minutes with my imagination alone! However, the cancer scare has turned into a blessing of sorts.

The next day, Saturday, I had a minor health incident that, under normal circumstances, I’d have panicked about. But, when it happened, I thought, “Eh, it ain’t cancer!” I didn’t even call the doctor and it went away on its own.

We were at Starbucks the other night with all the children and friends and, despite that fact that I ordered a DECAF Frappucino(R) for Max, he was bouncing off the walls. I told him to sit down numerous times, but he just couldn’t sit still. He bounced behind my chair and somehow managed to bump his tooth on the chair itself. The “thwack” was followed by a “Whaaaa!!!!”

There was no blood and no lost teeth, but one of his front teeth was bent back about 1/4″. It looked pretty bad and Max was VERY upset. Richard took him to the dentist the next morning to ensure it wasn’t broken up in his gum. It was just badly bruised. Through the entire ordeal, I was able to remain completely calm, telling myself, “It ain’t cancer!”

I sure hope the memory of the cancer scare stays fresh for me always so I’ll stop having panic episodes whenever something goes wrong with our health.

On a side note, you should know that, for the first time ever, it appears I’m winning the pumpkin growing contest that Ali and I have each year! More on that next week.

Hugs to all!


P.S. *DON’T FORGET!* The Fall 24-Hour Short Story Contest is THIS SATURDAY! Don’t miss out on the fun! See: