Hypochondria During Remission: Is It Indigestion or a Tumor?

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After fighting mesothelioma for three years, I’ve survived it all.

I’ve had two HIPEC procedures, endured countless chemotherapy sessions and finally remission. When I think back to my early symptoms that something was wrong, I remember sharp pains in my right side. I remember telling my friends not to make me laugh because it hurt.

My stomach was bloated all the time. I was given muscle relaxers and laxatives, yet nothing worked. After eventually getting an umbilical hernia repaired, I was finally diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma.

Surviving an Aggressive Cancer

The odds of recurrence are pretty high, but since I choose not to read the bleak statistics, I can’t be specific.

Now in remission, my battle is a little different.

During all my HIPEC procedures and chemotherapy sessions, I was fighting for my life. I spentdays in ICU, weeks as an inpatient and more nauseating trips to the bathroom than I care to remember. Brushing my teeth was a chore. Living in a constant state of nausea for two years was horrible.

My surgeon happily told me that I was cancer free on June 8, 2012. I fought for three years to finally hear those words. I couldn’t believe it. I was ecstatic! I was a walking miracle. This news meant I could finally live my life worry free, right? Not a chance.

I get tested every 90 days with CT scans, MRIs and other tests. So far, it’s all good. Although I’m three years in remission, I find myself fighting a different fight. Now I find myself fighting for my sanity.

Now I’m a Hypochondriac?

As if living life 90 days at a time wasn’t bad enough, I now find that I’ve become a hypochondriac.

For every pain and cramp I feel, my mind automatically thinks it’s a recurrence. Of course, pizza for dinner and ice cream for dessert would hurt anyone. Most people would reach for Tums or Pepto Bismol for bloating and gas pains. I automatically diagnose myself, panic and pray that it’s not a tumor. Despite the good news from my physician, I’m constantly talking myself off the ledge.

Each day is a precious gift. I constantly remind myself to live 24 hours at a time. Worrying about what could happen is a waste of what could be a productive day. When I find myself drifting into the darkness of depression and the “what if’s,” I go for the most uplifting book of all — the Bible.

I have affirmations like “I shall live and not die,” that I repeat to myself, until I believe it. I also firmly believe that I have a purpose and a mission which has not yet been completed.

What’s a mesothelioma patient in remission supposed to do? Focus on now. Live in the moment. Don’t waste precious time speculating on what could be or what’s to come. If today is a good day, let it be a good day. Fight when it’s time to fight, and rest when you’re not fighting.

I still have another bakery to open, a nonprofit to launch, children to raise and a house to build. Death is nowhere in my future. I have too much left to accomplish.


Kasie Coleman is a wife and mother of two boys. She was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma on July 1, 2010. From that day on, she decided to fight and win her battle with cancer. Today she is the proud owner of Sugarbelle, a neighborhood cupcake bakery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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