Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Sometimes a Gall Stone is Just a Gall Stone

Once a person has been diagnosed with a cancer, any cancer, they live their life in fear of that cancer's return. Or worse, a new cancer that then spawns a new fear of the return of that cancer. I have had the return of my cancer already and believe me, it doesn't feel good. At all. That's because every time cancer returns, it changes your prognosis. You get put in a different category. The category of "maybe it's not under control" and "what will we do about this now". Because doctors really don't like it when your cancer comes back. It means the treatment they thought would cure your disease has not worked. And for the most part, there is no Plan B. So now we treat symptoms as they arise and we look for new cures that might come up as research into this awful disease continues.

Over the Labour Day weekend I had a severe pain in my abdomen that radiated through my left rib cage and around to my back. It was so severe that I couldn't settle down. I stood, paced, sat, lay down, stood up, paced and repeated. I took extra pain meds. Nothing worked. So off to the Emergency Room we went at six o'clock at night. All that went through my mind was, this is it. This is the day I find out that the cancer has overtaken me and it's game over. Every cancer survivor thinks this, I have no doubt. Every little pain, discomfort, pimple, palpitation, cramp, or otherwise, has us thinking that the big "C" has finally done its nasty turn and made us it's bitch.

At the hospital, the doctors and nurses wander around me with faces that say the end is near. I know I'm exaggerating but there really is a look in their eyes when you tell them you have an active cancer going on. It's hard to explain but it's like waiting for the other shoe to drop. They do bloodwork, take X-rays and watch as the colour returns to my face and my lips go from purple spots to pink and healthy (relatively) looking. No heart attack, they said (not that I was even thinking about my heart). No pulmonary embolism, they said. The pain was beginning to subside. Well, it could have been from the intravenous pain meds they gave me. But then they had to transfer me to another hospital for more tests. They decided that it could be a gall stone. WHAT???? Did I hear that right? I had been worrying and fretting over cancer and they declare my anxiety a non-entity. I was happy in a twisted sort of way, even though I had to stay in the hospital for two nights while they made sure my system cleared out the poisons from the passing of that nasty little stone.

No new cancer. Whew. Big whew. Sometimes a gall stone is just a gall stone.


  1. Without your cancer diagnosis, I would be empathetic and sympathetic towards you about the gallstone diagnosis and your pain and discomfort. Now, I'm so thankful it was "just a gallstone". Change the big "C" meaning to Courage, take away cancer's power by giving it a small "c", and continue your journey Barb.

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