When I explained my symptoms’ to the doctor, and following a brief inspection/test of the problem area, I fully expect to hear him talk about diabetes. Well, he did mention it but only to say that it’s only likely to be diabetes if you have the numbness in both feet. I don’t have that so it could be a tumour, something up here (he indicates his head) or maybe something in the spine. Do I have any back problems? No I don’t. Erm, hang on, back up there doc, did you say tumour? In fact he used the word tumour about half a dozen times during my consultation. That was bad enough but the look on his face, well, it wasn’t the comforting look of reassurance I was expecting. It was more of a “dead man walking on the green mile!” kind of look. He mentioned something about nerves and tumours again, there was a sharp intake of breath and he said “I could send you to a neurologist but I don’t know how they’d test for that really. [pause] Do you want to leave it for a bit and see what happens?”
Do I want to leave it, what after you’ve been bandying the word tumour around? “Er, no. I think I’d like to start tests as soon as possible.” So he arranges for an appointment with a neurologist and I make my way home. Tumour. Well, I didn’t see that coming. Somewhat shocked I explained what happened to my partner and we have a cup of tea. Well, I’m British, it’s what we do. Whatever the crisis, however terrible the situation, a cup of tea can only help. Yeah but it’s not a cure for a brain tumour though, is it! Still, it’s more comforting than the doctor was.
After a couple of weeks I have my visit to the neurologist. He didn’t smile much either but at least he didn’t have a look on his face like I wasn’t going to make it to the end of the consultation. He confirmed the numbness and arranged for some more tests involving needles and electricity and an MRI scan. I’ve got all that to look forward to this week then I get the results in a few weeks time. And guess who’s going to give me the test results? That’s right, laughing boy back at my local surgery.
Did I mention that it’s an NHS surgery specialising in homeopathy? That’s not why I go there, it is my local surgery, it’s the one I have to go to but alongside regular, tested medicines they also dish out homeopathic remedies, I can’t bring myself to call them medicines. I think all the doctors there are from Germany or Holland, anyway it’s somewhere where they still use crystals and seaweed and they check your horoscope before they check your blood pressure. Just my luck, I’m scared into thinking I might have a brain tumour by a doctor who worships the wicker man. I thought I would be living on the moon by 2010 not being treated for a terminal illness by being hit on the head with a sheep’s bladder. Beam me up Scotty and have Bones waiting in the transporter room with his tricorder!
Anyway, I don’t want my family worrying unnecessarily so I didn’t tell them anything until this weekend. I’ve been terrified enough for all of us, no point scaring anyone else till I know more myself. The reason I’ve told them now though is that I discovered for myself what it is I have, and it’s certainly not a bloody brain tumour, thank you very much Doctor Placebo.
This is what happened. I woke up at 5am one morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. As you do in the dark of the night I got to imagining the worse and scared myself even more. Later I confide in my lovely other half about being awake half the night and she tells me I’m being silly as it’s almost certainly a neuroma in my foot rather than a tumour in my head and not to worry. I look neuroma up on the internet and find a thing called Morton’s Neuroma which pretty much describes what I have to a tee.
Up to now I’ve been thinking that a best case scenario is that I have diabetes but more likely given the look on the face of Doctor Death and his liberal use of the word tumour I should stick to reading short stories from now on and not bother listening to any long playing records. But Morton’s Neuroma isn’t anywhere near as bad as even my best case scenario and while I’m checking it out online I keep seeing the word “benign”. What a lovely word that now seems. So the end isn’t neigh just yet, although this will only be confirmed when I go through all the tests and scans. However, I’m pretty confident in my self diagnosis, enough to stop being so terrified.
So what is Morton’s Neuroma and how did I get it? Here’s a picture I lifted off the net.
Anyway, well done the internet, you’ve diagnosed my disorder and dispelled my worries about tumours, hopefully. Then tonight while I was looking for a suitable picture to illustrate my problem I found some more websites and blogs all about it, including some I wish I hadn’t read about the tests I’m about to undergo this week with one blogger describing it as "torture" and really "hurting a lot". So I’m really looking forward to Tuesdays adventures in medical testing. I’ll keep you posted.
Suggested listening: "You Need Feet" By Bernard Bresslaw.