I think I had a brain tumor for a minute or two over the weekend. I had this place behind my ear that really hurt and was quite irritated. I tried to look at it holding a mirror to a mirror and at the same time folding my ear forward. From what I could see, it looked quite menacing and it hurt when I pushed on it. Then I remembered I’ve been having trouble seeing through all my three focals with my left eye. I know, right? All three focals were a little blurry. So I gave myself an eye test. And clearly (pun intended) when I blocked my right eye, my left eye didn’t see as well, but when I blocked my left eye, my right eye could see fine. Then I remembered I’ve been having a slight headache on the left side as well. In my way of thinking, you put all that together, remember I have that whole dr. thing in front of my name, it seemed likely to be a brain tumor a little bit.

Not one to refrain from taking action, I called a long-suffering friend who has spent years in healthcare to share the information and my diagnosis. She asked about my mom who had some surgery last week here in town and how she was doing. I was and am happy to report the surgery went well and she is doing quite marvelously. Then she asked if I had worn a mask through the whole hospital ordeal and stay and was I used to wearing a mask that many hours. Yes I did and no I’m not. She asked what kind of mask I wore and I quite proudly said that I had a KN-95 lovely black one. The hospitals are now fully resourced so I didn’t feel badly ordering them and knew with mom in the hospital I wanted to protect she and my dad and the hospital people as much as possible. Then she said that perhaps I was experiencing what many Dr.’s and nurses go through constantly which is the tightness of the ear straps irritating the very thin skin covering very hard skull bones right behind your ears. She wanted to know if I thought that might be more likely than a brain tumor which I now understand very rarely presents first as a red and sore spot behind the flap of your ear. I told her I would take that thought into consideration as I relooked at my self-made chart.

Again not one to refrain from taking action, I called my long-suffering optometrist to again share information of my self-diagnosis and asked if he might look at my left eye to see if he could detect anything into my brain through there. He generously made a quick appointment for me, put me through his version of eye tests, possibly a bit more scientific and methodical than my own. And announced that my left eye had caught up with my right eye in terms of ageing. My prescription for my right lens correction was 2.25 and for my left was 1.75 a little over a year ago. Now my right eye is still 2.25 and my left has deteriorated to the same need at 2.25. He evidently did not see a tumor through my eye into the back of my head. He said that in fact, the blurriness from my left eye’s change could indeed cause ongoing mild headaches as much as I read and work at my computer.

I entered his opinion in my self-made chart as well and have decided not to call my quite-busy-right-now internist to have him prebook all the neurological tests that have alphabet letters attached to them to look for a pre-diagnosed by me brain tumor. I have a feeling it would all come out to a-g-e. I did remind my long-suffering medical friend that it has been at least 6-9 months since I called her with a rather dramatic self-diagnosis, and she said she was quite pleased about that.

Not sure about you, but I’ve been on and off self-diagnosing for years – most of the time with my tongue in my cheek, yet sometimes with a seed of thinking I might be on the right track. And all of that pre-dated all the interwebs sights full of information, disinformation, misinformation, and all kinds of other ions to much to name but that seem so real. I do believe we know ourselves and our bodies and that we do well to listen and pay attention to them. I also know that sometimes my/our perspectives are distorted because of other things going on in our lives that might be stressful, or angering, or isolating, or grief-filled, or anxiety-producing. And when we are in those places, we sometimes don’t evaluate ourselves as clearly as we might think we are.

I’m kinda in the middle toward finishing a rough couple of weeks, perhaps increasing my penchant for self-diagnosing a brain tumor when the reality is a new lens prescription and getting a button extender for my KN-95 masks will heal me right up.

Do not underestimate the influence of an on-going pandemic to magnify the feelings, emotions, thoughts, and even decisions we make in a way we might not otherwise without the added stress. It is good to check ourselves, and to have friends who love us enough to gently apply a little “tough-love” when needed and remind us that we don’t know everything and the interwebs don’t always have all the right or true or best answers, especially when it comes to our health.

My new lens comes in two weeks. I’m following the suggestions to stop reading and/or working on the computer at least once or twice an hour to give my eyes a break and maybe even to walk outside for a breath of fresh air – well, a breath of horribly humid hot air, but still air to help prevent the headaches. And to alternate the intense mask type with others that still protect but don’t have the same tight pull around the ears. Perhaps those health professionals with the education, experience, wise advice, and a little tough love are true miracle healers!