How many of you remember this kid? (see below)
That kid lives in my head. Pretty much any health issue that occurs to me, my family, my pets, or my friends, the first place my brain goes is “It’s probably cancer.”
For example: This Saturday I was blow-drying my dog Emerson after his bath and I noticed he has small brown spots all over back, sides, and neck (but oddly enough, not much on his legs or his belly). My first thought? “Oh no, he has melanoma!” Literally, that was my exact thought. I have never actually seen melanoma in real life, however, so I called over my coworker (who is also a vet tech) and made her look at it too. It’s probably just a yeast or bacterial infection, but that doesn’t silence that little voice in my head that keeps reminding me how Bernese Mountain Dogs are especially prone to certain types of cancer. It doesn’t help that he has twice come down with mysterious, unexplained illnesses which were oddly similar to a serious, fatal form of cancer, but even more bizarrely, cleared up just as suddenly as they began. Every time he gets sick, I am afraid to go to the doctor because I am afraid I will hear the c-word. This is probably compounded by the fact that as a vet tech, I have an extensive amount of veterinary resources at my fingertips to provide me with possible diagnoses. Thank goodness I still get plenty of use out of my education.
Of course this is not limited to my pets. Anytime I feel sick, I have the same thoughts. Cramps? OMG, ovarian cancer! Abdominal pain? OMG, colon cancer! Coughing? OMG, lung cancer! Accidentally stepped on the cat’s tail? OMG now we BOTH have cancer! Or my current, still undiagnosed medical condition including, but not limited to recurring migraine headaches. What could possibly be the cause? It must be brain cancer, right? I mean, nevermind that my doctor has done numerous tests and doesn’t seem to think that’s really a possibility, that little kid in my head won’t stop reminding me that “it might be a tumor.” I’m almost willing to bet that if I had an MRI today, that little voice would assume that the machine was faulty, or that it was some rare form of cancer that just doesn’t show up on scans.
You can never win with a brain like that. Anyway, Thursday I have a consultation with the sleep clinic to find out if my myriad symptoms could be due to a sleep disorder (which is highly likely, since both of my parents sleep with Darth Vader machines strapped to their faces). If not, then I expect we’ll be doing further investigations into the potential gluten problem. Or maybe an MRI. Or both.
As for Emerson, I will be monitoring his spots for a few days, and if there is no improvement (or if they get worse) I’m afraid a visit to the vet will be in order. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for improvement.