What you don’t know won’t hurt me

Picture of beagle on chair reading a Dr. Seuss bookI try to tell you everything that’s going on with me, except when I don’t. Sometimes I get news that I don’t feel like sharing, so I keep you out of the loop. I am an open book, but only through Chapter 3 or so.

Lest you think I’m trying to protect you from bad news, let me clarify. I trust that you, my loyal readers, can handle anything I throw your way. You’ve shown me so time and time again as you ride with me on my cancer roller coaster.

This you-don’t-need-protecting principle guides me every day. I am frank (blunt?) by nature. As a psychologist, I won’t tell my clients what to do, but I will share what I think and how I feel about what they are doing. I’ll try to share my thoughts in a delicate way, but I will tell them because I trust they can handle it. I believe that people are inherently strong, and I treat them accordingly.

So if I think you can handle anything, why don’t I share everything that’s going on? Because I’m not sure I can handle it, or at least not yet. Yes, I’m protecting myself from having to deal with whatever I’m withholding, not you.

The way I’ve coped through my health challenges is to try to focus on only one or two concerns at a time, and to put everything else aside. Leukemia became my focus in the months following my diagnosis, while polycythemia and liver disease moved to the back burner. I figured these other health issues would come forward on an as-needed basis and I’d deal with them then.

When I was admitted to hospital most recently, I got so much information about my health that it was frankly too much for me to process all at once. In order to share everything with you, I’d have to deal with it all myself, and I wasn’t ready to do that.

That’s why I hadn’t mentioned the small nodule in my left lung that showed up on a chest X-ray taken in the ER. No one had told me until the very thorough Dr. Pre-Op casually dropped it into our conversation last week. I’d managed to keep fairly cool about it, but I asked Dr. Blood for her opinion when I saw her yesterday. And she told me–listen carefully in case you ever have a lung x-ray–she suspected it was, excuse the medical jargon, “nipple shadow”. Yes, because the technician did not cover my intimate parts with (jargon again) nipple markers, and I had left my tassels at home, my you-know-whats left a shadow on the image. Oh me, oh my, I feel so exposed! No more airport security scans for me!

I won’t be sure I’m in the clear until I have a follow-up x-ray in a few weeks, but it seems that back burnering this issue was a good decision. The doctors were so unconcerned they laughed at my pastie jokes, and you know I only worry when they worry.

It’s a relief, especially for me, that we all didn’t fret needlessly about yet another potential malignancy for the past few weeks. Meanwhile, I will be sure to remember my tassels for the upcoming x-ray.

P.S. FYI, according to my research, boys can have nipple shadows too, but do they make boy tassels? That I don’t know.



6 thoughts on “What you don’t know won’t hurt me

  1. Annie,
    Thank you for sharing this important information. It is something we should all be aware of. I learned something important today. It is great you write this blog for all of our sakes.


    • Thanks so much for your comment, Christine. I’m grateful both that you’re still reading (!) and also to know that I’m getting the message across. I’m happy you think I’m doing some good through my blog. Much appreciated, Annie


  2. A common issue. When you get older we start seeing those “nodules” in your abdomen or worst case scenario, at your waist….so just be thankful the girls are still high enough up there to make false lung nodules!




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