Signs & Symptoms
Last updated: July 2019
Cancer is such a scary thing. No one wants to hear the words, "You have cancer”. Because of that, we sometimes put off going to the doctor. We feel whatever we have will pass. And, if it is something serious, we often don’t really want to know. Not going to the doctor just puts off the inevitable and, while it protects us from the bad news, that’s just for a little while. The symptoms will persist, and eventually, the trip to the doctor has to happen.
Fatigue, night sweats, and a missed diagnosis
Crystal had extreme fatigue and night sweats. She could explain the fatigue because she had just started a new job and had to get up at the ungodly hour of 3 am. But the night sweats? That was something totally different. It was as though she was going through menopause, but she was only 25 years old. She looked up her symptoms and her symptoms pointed to Hodgkin lymphoma. She was scared and nervous, but she went to the doctor. He misdiagnosed her and said it was nothing. Although he did say she could get a sonogram if she wanted, if the doctor thinks it’s nothing, well, why bother?
Same story, different cancer
The same thing happened to me. I went to my doctor, just for a yearly checkup and told her about my swollen glands and painful throat. She too said it was probably nothing, but I could go for a CAT scan if I wanted. I waited a few days but then opted to go when my neck pain and swelling did not go away. I never expected to hear the words, "You have cancer," but yet that is what happened. I’m so thankful I didn’t wait!
The value of a second opinon
For Crystal, she waited, but then decided to go to another doctor after feeling swelling in her neck and chest lymph nodes. This doctor did further testing. The result for her was the same, "You have cancer." I’m sure it was hard words for her to hear, I know it was hard for me. I had my husband with me when I heard those devastating words, Crystal was by herself. She also didn't tell me for awhile because she didn't want to stress me out. I can’t even imagine what she must have went through.
Trust your gut
The point of this post is to let you know and to be sure to tell your families to trust your gut. If you are not feeling well, especially if it’s been going on for awhile, go to see a doctor. Be sure to let your doctor know about any unusual signs and symptoms you are experiencing. Next, and most importantly, if the doctor doesn’t seemed concerned, but you continue to experience your symptoms, get a second, or even a third or fourth opinion. Don’t let it go and blindly trust your doctor. They are not always right and you have to be your own best advocate.
Luckily, Crystal’s cancer was cured. I am so thankful she went back to a second doctor. For me, I will probably have to live with stage 4 thyroid cancer for the rest of my life. I always tell people that talk to me not to wait to wait and see a doctor right away. It’s usually nothing, but if it’s something, there is a better chance treatment will be successful if you can catch the disease early.
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