Throughout my life, stress has always presented as knots in my back and shoulders. I used to name the knots depending on what was going on in my life, oh that one is called "job", that one is called "money", but usually they were all named after my 3 sons (teenagers!). These past few weeks, I have had one doosy of a knot under my right shoulder blade. I had trouble nameing it, until I happened upon this forum.
Most of last fall, I felt like crap. I was ridiculously tired, had a fullness feeling in my stomach and was losing weight. I was also in my second semester of a full time PHD program, working full time, raising a family, and volunteering with my boys school. So, I was able to explain it all away.... Until Christmas Break. I was sleeping most of the day, when I leaned over a counter, I could tell something was swollen, and my appetite was disappearing. You all know where this is going....
I was started on Sprycel on February 12th. By my 3 month bloodwork, I had a complete hemologic response. By the 6 month mark, I had a major molecular response, and at the 9 month I was holding steady at that CMR status. Yay!! Happy Happy! Right?
I should feel great. The trouble is, as Christmas approached, I found myself thinking about every little ache and pain, I am prone to some mild anxiety...I am an overthinker. This knot continued to knock me on my butt. Before New Years, I developed pretty bad body aches. I had a low grade temp...but I always do. 99.7 @ 2pm has been my norm since I started on Sprycel. Was it the flu? Probably. I am a school nurse and I sent dozens of kids home with it prior to Christmas. But, I couldn't shake that "you have CML, nothing is as it seems" feeling. I was down for 4 days with body aches and fatigue. Then I had the full feeling again. It was like I was 9 months pregnant again. A pressure, pushing up into my diaphragm. Too much de ja vu. And that darn knot! Kept getting worse!
I started reading this forum today, and realized...all my symptoms are gone. I still have that knot, but it has lifted a bit. So, now I know what to name it....CML. It will always be there, and if I let it, it will flare up and knock me down. Reading everyone's own stories of anxiety around the holidays had helped me to put it all in perspective...again.
We are a group of lucky cancer survivors. We are told to take our pill and live. My doctor likes to compare this to diabetes, or high blood pressure. The trouble is, we all walk around knowing we have cancer. Yes, we take our pill to keep it in check, but it does something to the psyche. It is hard to explain to anyone. Until that cancer diagnosis takes up residence in your brain, and you actually live with it, it is impossible to understand. So, here we all are, with our own "knots" in various forms.
Thanks for sharing your knots and listening to mine!