When you’re on edge and think you have cancer … but it’s really a wake-up call to PTSD – Amy Jordan

When you’re on edge and think you have cancer … but it’s really a wake-up call to PTSD

If you are a trauma survivor or have faced hardship it is a long process of finally feeling that the other shoe isn’t about to drop.  You get on a roll just living your best life.

When a new situation arises be it medical, relational, financial, or emotional, the fight or flight mode can kick back in faster than we may even realize. 

I was recently reminded of just how fast our peace of mind can fly out the door and how a panic reaction can set in prematurely.

As a woman over 50, the ‘magic’ of menopause has set in.  Among other things, I started having significant breast pain that drifted under both arms.  At first, I had convinced myself it wasn’t serious as this sometimes happens to us girls

As weeks started to pass, I found myself growing more and more uneasy.  My brain went from knowing I was healthy to envisioning a long and ugly battle with breast cancer.  Like any good internet seeker, I went to google.  I don’t recommend this for those of us non-doctors.  If we are learning anything from the pandemic it is internet information is mostly not a reliable source.

Now, I want to pause here and plug the importance of breast screening because we all know information is power and possible prevention.  It had been a few years for me, so I made an appointment.

I am an advocate of western medicine which saved my life and rebuilt my body.  I am also a huge advocate of naturopathic and eastern treatments which are, in my experience, more rooted in causation and preventative care than reacting.  I am grateful to have both the best medical doctors in the world and a team of holistic practitioners.  The combination is ideal for optimal health and something I wish we had more of in treating disease and maintaining overall wellness.

I went for a thermography test working hard to subdue my growing panic.  I also made an appointment for a sonogram but couldn’t be seen for over a month.

The first thermography test came back inaccurate, saying I was ‘high risk.’  While I knew I needed to retest, by this time I was in full PTSD mode and not doing a very good job of mastering my mind.  Frankly speaking, I was in a full panic, a state of existence I experienced for years on end after the bus accident.  It had taken almost ten years to finally be confident when I went to sleep at night I would awake in the morning.

The physical pain and the panic had persisted.  I called my doctor.  He did not seem concerned about the reading and agreed it was inconclusive.

Has your realistic mind ever just shut off to any common sense?  Mine had.  I finally said to him, “I am having a PTSD attack and I am completely freaked out.’ He was able to get me a new test the following day.   I went to retest the thermography with a more experienced practitioner, and I went for a sonogram.

Both tests came back with no cancer, but I already knew that despite my reaction.

I am A HUGE advocate of preventive testing even if it’s to ease our minds.  Everyone now seems to be a ‘google’ doctor, so I must remind myself to stick with the actual medical experts both western and eastern.

In the midst of all this, I found myself realizing I needed to stop and “smell the roses” as it were.  Having danced with death and loss of limb you think I would be an expert at appreciating and enjoying life and not sweating the small stuff. 

I took myself out for lunch on a beautiful fall day in NYC.  I went and read a book for an hour.  I found pockets of time to explore what makes me happy.  What makes me tick?

I also started to combat the constant stream of negative or obsessive thoughts.  This is a lifelong process.  All the panic was a great reminder to not let the negativity in my mind take over my life because life is short.  I should know this by now.

I was able to recognize that it was my PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, that had kicked into the high ear. Yes, I needed to get the medical questions answered but it was no reason to freak out.

The takeaway, enjoy your life, RIGHT NOW.


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