Is It Ever “Just” A Headache Anymore?

Life After Cancer — By on March 2, 2010 at 9:52 am

The night of my first chemo treatment was one of the worst of my life running a very close second to the night my husband was killed. I remember being home alone laying on the couch when the worst headache of my life began. The pain was so intense I was crying. It was all centered right above my eyes taking over my whole forehead. I had to turn the lights down and keep my eyes closed. As the tears ran down my cheeks I was afraid I would die alone that nite on my couch. I was banned from taking advil according to the oncology nurse so essentially I was screwed. It was probably from dehydration combined with all the poison pumped into me that day.

So last night when I had a really bad headache in the same place on my forehead it rushed me right back to that first chemo nite. It always does. Each headache I have had since (and there have been many) unwillingly takes me back to that moment. All of the fear and even some tears. The flashback got worse when I took advil and it didn’t work. So there I was on the couch with the lights low holding back tears. I have had headaches all of my life. This is nothing new for me. I have even had this discussion with my oncologist who says that if it is not any different then it is nothing to worry about. And part of me knows that and agrees with him. But it is in these moments when all the bad memories come rushing back amongst the pain that another part of me cannot distinguish between the two. The fear gets as intense as the pain.

I wonder if there will be a day when a headache, a sneeze, or a stomach ache won’t scare the hell out of me…

Does this ever happen to you? Do symptoms you had before cancer scare you now? How do you deal with the fear? How do you put it all back in perspective?

Cathy Bueti is the author of Breastless in the City. Visit her at cathybueti.com

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