The Difficulty of Reporting Minor Symptoms -- Part II

What's challenging about reporting minor symptoms? They're less frightening. Shouldn't they be easier to report?  Like many long-term survivors (LTS), I've felt torn between...

  • not wanting to evaluate a symptom that will resolve on its own.
  • wanting to quickly evaluate a symptom due to a more serious problem. 

First I have to determine whether a symptom is significant enough to report. The answer can be unclear because mild symptoms can be more subjective and the mind can play tricks. I've experienced how an ache can get worse when considering frightening possibilities and how an ache can resolve within seconds of learning my scan results are normal. I've sometimes wondered if paying attention to a minor symptom (to determine if it's significant) is making it more noticeable.

Beyond that, I live with chronic discomforts, the legacy of past tumors and treatments. It's second nature for me to ignore chronic minor symptoms that have been fully evaluated. My happiness has depended on it. Now I'm tempted to ignore any new minor symptom--not good, if it's never been evaluated.

Given the risk of recurrence and/or late effects, LTS generally should report mild symptoms sooner than if they'd never had cancer, Reasons that may push LTS to delay their reporting include...

  • fear of unwanted news
  • seeming insignificance compared to severe symptoms associated with past illness
  • desire to avoid the medical scene (visits/needle sticks/tests/waiting/worrying loved ones/loss control)
  • weariness from ongoing illness causing inappropriate lack of concern 
  • financial obstacles

Next: What's a Healthy Survivor to do?

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