My colposcopy results and my constant doubts

My favorite Looney Tunes character is Sylvester the cat, who, as you know, is always trying to eat Tweety bird. Tweety is no angel – perhaps he deserved to be eaten. At least I wanted him to be. But Sylvester always fails.

However, there’s one Sylvester and Tweety cartoon that I’ll never forget because it was such a happy surprise for me. Sylvester chomps the annoying Tweety. I remember jumping off my chair with excitement and yelling, “Yes! Finally you ate that little shit!” I felt so relieved that poor Sylvester had finally accomplished what he always wanted.

But that excitement only lasted a few seconds because Granny, Tweety’s owner, rescues the bird. Sylvester’s excitement is over.

This week, my excitement after receiving a good report about my pap/colposcopy results lasted about the same time as Sylvester’s victory, until my mind started to wonder.

tweety bird animated GIF

I had a reason to feel discouraged when poor Sylvester didn’t get to eat the bird. But I realize that I have no logical reasons to feel discouraged or doubtful about my good test results — so why am I always over-thinking? Let’s just say I know what I am dealing with here: cells are tricky. Plus, I’ve heard too many stories about false test results. My mind often travels to the dark place.

When my GYN informed me that, according to the biopsies performed last week, I do not have cervical cancer, I was so happily surprised and relieved. In a way, I was already preparing myself to deal with another cancer, which is why I had made that appt. with a GYN oncologist at MSK. I am still planning on seeing him in a couple of weeks to get a second opinion. Or is this my third opinion now?

My excitement when receiving the good news about my results only lasted a few seconds because my brain decided to start wondering how accurate those results were.

reb_2If I wasn’t a cancer patient already I would have let denial do his job and allow my mind to rest at peace. I would have held on to the good news and kept going. I do that sometimes. But ever since I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer I tend to question many of the tests that are done to me and their level of accuracy. I do try to hold on to good news, especially when there’s nothing else that can be done to prove something is wrong with my health. I mean, tests can only go so far, right?

I sometimes have doubts after getting good results and I am not sure if I am being sensible. After hanging up the phone with my GYN this week, I started to wonder if those biopsies were taken from the same spot(s) the original samples were taken from – when the Pap smear was performed. What if she missed the spots? Yes, getting tests done is very important but you also want to get accurate information from those tests. No tests are 100% accurate, are they?

I know — this is the part where we need to stay “positive” and hope for the best. Keep the faith alive. But it’s a little challenging for me sometimes because I am already a cancer patient.

Why were my cells abnormal to begin with? I asked myself.

I need to be followed up again in 6 months with another pap smear.

I do feel a level of relief that the colposcopy report did not show cervical cancer, of course. Again, I don’t want to sound ungrateful. It is unfortunate that after being diagnosed with breast cancer, I just don’t feel like I can trust my body anymore. But I also need to learn to trust a little more because I am doing everything I possibly can to monitor my heath, while realizing I have no control over what can happen. My medical team is always on top of things, but there are limits to how much they can do as well. This is about all the control I can have when it comes to my health.

I need to hold on to the good news as everything can shift from one day to the next.

About thesmallc

I'm Rebeca. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32. But there's more to my story: I am an animal lover. I love to cook. I have a wonderful fiancé who doesn't mind walking my rocky path with me. We currently live in New York. ---------------------------------------- “Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.” ― Viktor E. Frankl
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16 Responses to My colposcopy results and my constant doubts

  1. Carrie says:

    I’m so relieved that you got good test results. I’ve been wondering. But I get that you don’t trust the results. i think, as cancer patients we now feel like doom is looming around every corner. I don’t think it is for you. Not now. Go get your second or third opinion if it puts your mind at ease. I hope you can enjoy this good news just a little bit.

    • thesmallc says:

      Carrie, thank you. Sometimes I feel like “is this mets?” with every pain I get. When a biopsy is recommended I suspect is cancer. I’ve had 3 biopsies since my diagnosis and even after getting good results for the first two, the third was no different in terms of anxiety. This one I just got gave me the most anxiety because it was done to rule out a new primary. I am holding on to the good news for now until my next appt. I hope he confirms the good news.

      Thank you for your good wishes. xoxo

  2. Ugh, you probably know how I cannot trust even good test results. I yearn for the relief of believing when told “all clear”.

    • thesmallc says:

      Oh yes, I know. And I recall your experience was different than mine. It’s unfortunate for us we can’t trust much after a cancer diagnosis. (I am not sure about you, but I don’t get celebratory either.) But no matter how we feel, I hope we’re always told “all clear” and that in fact, this is true.

  3. The Accidental Amazon says:

    Sometimes I feel like we cancer patients all know too much. I long for those innocent days before cancer when I never gave test results a second thought. *sigh* Hugs.

  4. Rebecca, very good posting! knowing as much as we do about bad things happening, and our inconvenient and vocal lack of illusions, I find it difficult that care givers seem to not understand our collapse of faith in what should be good news. I’m adapting to being a person with cancer by trying to learn to live with it outside the pretend world that’s passed onto me as advice for happy living. There must be something beyond silly optimism, or the you-won’t-get-anywhere-by-being-stuck-in-THAT-reality comments. Something that acknowledges cancer as my reality, as the way I am. What’s wrong with the way I am?

    • thesmallc says:

      Scott, I like to believe there’s nothing wrong with any of us. I always blame “denial” because yes, it can do some good to some extend, but it can harm us too, to the point of separating us. Maybe these people who expect us to be transformed for the “better” want to use us as some sort of inspiration. They want to image that they would be able to do life better than we are if they faced the same circumstances. But the only way you’ll know how you would react is when you come face to face with that challenge.

      Always remember you are entitled to do your cancer the only way you know how. It’s always great to see you and to know you’re OK.

      • scottx5 says:

        Rebecca, thinking about being a person without denial as an escape pod may not be so bad. It gives me an extra dimension that others may not have and I’m thinking there has to be a way to access it in a less reactive way. I’m going to have a chance in September to engage with a member of my care team who is outside the conflicts I’ve had with the rest of them. It might be that I can change in a way that pleases me and doesn’t feel like I’m pretending just to make people happy.
        Yesterday was a good day for talking back to the system and getting what I wanted. Write more later.

      • thesmallc says:

        Scott, I totally agree with you about gaining an extra dimension with our situation. Good luck with your meeting in Sept. — I hope you are pleasantly surprised.

  5. Cat says:

    Am very glad you’ve received good results, yet I also understand the trepidation you’re feeling.
    Oftentimes we spend so much time fretting, because cancer has conditioned us to, that we miss the good stuff. Don’t let it take your joy. Each day we celebrate life, we spit in it’s eye.
    So take a deep breath and, spit in it’s eye! 🙂

    • thesmallc says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I don’t want to get too excited because the thought of jumping off a cliff worries me — like I did when I was first diagnosed.

      I have another issue I haven’t written about yet. I cannot separate cancer from me. Like I wish I can spit in cancer’s eye, for example, but then I realize I would be spitting on myself. It’s a complicated emotion I have.

      It’s always good to be reminded to take deep breaths. xo

  6. Rossy Matos says:

    It is normal to be anxious especially when we’ve been through a previous process of the disease, but all our anxiety can fade into the loving arms of our dear Jesus who is soon to make sure that what he did or allowed before, you can afford it now . Up to us to accept that our anxiety , doubt or fear , will not fade , alter or change the situation, we should relax, because anyway, all things are made , and they, each of them will … always written with lipstick on your bathroom mirror ; This too shall pass , when you’re anxious about something … this therapy you will ayudará..love
    you

    • thesmallc says:

      Thanks for your words of encouragement mi bizcochito de piña. All these feelings are part of the process, but I feel that after the cancer experience I had, there seems to be more anxiety because I already know what I am dealing with. Thanks for the reminder of “this too shall pass.” You’re right.

      I love you more.

  7. nancyspoint says:

    I fear many of us over-think a lot of things after a cancer diagnosis. You are not alone there. None-the-less, I am thrilled that you received good news. Made my day.

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