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My Anxiety Dreams

My Anxiety Dreams

It’s not my fault that I go to so many doctors’ appointments. I go from one to the other as a result of having chronic conditions after my stem cell transplants. You could call them after effects because they’re long term, but the more commonly used “side effects” is also applicable. Since I have had four transplants, the more, the murkier. But the other night in my dream, it felt like I was to blame.

Nightmares about skin exams

Actually, it was a nightmare, and it was about my sweet dermatologist, of all people. I’m sure I’m not the only skin cancer survivor who has health-related nightmares. But this nightmare was a little different in being about my dermatologist, and not about my skin.

In the dream, the doctor told me I had to stop going to see her so often. I said it wasn’t my fault. “You always find something,” I reminded her. In the dream, I knew that she had recently biopsied a squamous cell cancer on my temple and had sent me for Mohs surgery. Still, I was going to have to limit my visits. I felt sad. I said I would miss her.

Double risk for squamous cell carcinoma

To back up, you might wonder why skin cancer is an after effect of a bone marrow transplant. Transplant patients are at risk for squamous cell cancers in particular. In addition, previous sun exposure is a risk factor. All that baking on the beach and lifeguarding at the pool, without proper protection, did a number on my skin.

Fearing change of my appointment routine

When I thought about it after, I realized that possible separation anxiety – separation from caregivers – had seeped into my dreams. First, I got an email from a scheduler who said I would no longer be able to see my long term nurse practitioner on the blood cancer side. (Upon looking into it I found out that this might not be true.)

It was incomplete and misleading information. Later she made an appointment for me in another department where I do the scheduling myself. She changed my appointment without asking me. The new time would have messed me up. I had to do a joint email to straighten it out. I’m sure she was just trying to do her job.

I’m afraid, though, that I snapped at her via email. I didn’t put all caps or exclamation points, which would have been totally aggressive, or anything like that. For the first one, I wrote, “Not a good way to find this out.” In the second case, I simply set her straight. She wrote me back and apologized. I haven’t gotten around to it but I need to write her back and say it’s OK.

More bad news

Second, my dermatologist said she would be spending more time in another area and would see me less. She said she would “run tag-team” with another dermatologist. I like dermatologist number two, but I’m attached to dermatologist number one. She even gave me her home email so I can send her photos of spots that I deem suspicious.

None of this is the end of the world. But things like this can get under your skin. And then the shpilkes can seep into your sleep.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.