My symptoms began with regular headaches. I didn’t think this was anything too out of the ordinary—everyone gets headaches, right? But over the next few months the headaches continued and I had to take larger and larger amounts of Ibuprofen just to get through my day. When I began experiencing bouts of nausea and vomiting, I went to a MedExpress clinic where the doctor diagnosed me with migraines. At this point, I didn’t have health insurance and couldn’t afford further testing, so I convinced myself that such subtle symptoms weren’t a big deal. The constant headaches and occasional vomiting continued for 9 months, until finally my then-girlfriend (now wife) “convinced” me to go to the ER by shoving me in the car and demanding that I take this seriously.
At the hospital, I recapped all my symptoms for the doctors, and my girlfriend added a few more that I had forgotten about –trouble remembering words, lack of emotions, and mood changes. The doctors ordered a CT scan and then an MRI. That’s when they found a mass as big as a tangerine in my head. After a lot of testing, I was diagnosed with Stage II Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma. I went through 10 rounds of chemotherapy in 7 months, but am happy to say that I am doing well.
I had so many excuses for not going to the doctor—“it will go away on its own,” “tests are too expensive,” “I probably ate something wrong”—but I should have listened to my body. The 2-Week Rule would have been really helpful to get me to realize that the persistence of my “small” symptoms meant something bigger was going on. I was very fortunate that my wife recognized changes to my health—having her as an advocate saved my life. Pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you, and go see a doctor if you or a loved one notice a health change that lasts for more than two weeks.
- trouble remembering words
- lack of emotions
- mood changes