• Jessi Stetina

Down the Google Rabbit Hole

Updated: Sep 15, 2018

It’s become a running joke to not Google medical symptoms, because if you look up anything for too long, the answer becomes cancer. Well, joke’s on you, because I already have cancer! So clearly, Google can do no worse, right?


I’m caught in a battle between trying to find as much information as I can, and wanting to hide from it all. The problem with CUP is that it includes everything that doesn’t fall into any other cancer bucket. In my head I know the statistics are skewed and that it’s truly a case by case basis, but as I still have no idea what my case even is, it’s easy to start to think that I’m just screwed.

So it goes in waves. Sometimes I’m researching like crazy, but then the info gets overwhelming, so I hide from info for a long time. I have people with the best of intentions making many, many recommendations. Sometimes I’m in a good place and I can look further into what they’ve said. Sometimes I’m hiding from new information, and I just can’t handle anything else.

And sometimes it’s not for lack of trying, but I just can’t wrap my mind around certain medical terms/ideas/facts. They cancer was removed from my small bowel, and that is fortunately no longer showing signs of the disease. The margins were clear with the removal, so that is one area where it is no longer. However, the disease had spread to my peritoneum. If you’re not in the medical field, have you even ever heard that word before? It’s the abdominal wall between all your organs and muscles. Four months ago, I swear to you I had never heard, let along said, peritoneum or peritoneal wall. But now it’s a key part of my story.

The cancer is also showing up in my right paratracheal and hilar lymph nodes. Want to know a secret? I cannot for the life of me understand what a lymph node is. I have cancer IN MY LYMPH NODES, and I just cannot grasp the concept of what a lymph node does. Something about drainage. That’s all I’ve got.

The crazy thing is, I’m a learner. I Google like crazy. If I don’t know something, it’s an itch in my brain that I have to scratch. I have to know all the details about everything. New movie coming out? What other movies has the director shot? Latest fad diet? What are the steps, and what kind of success are people seeing? It doesn’t matter what the topic is, I’ve always wanted to know the full details. This is a key part of my character. I’m teased for it by people who know me best.

Except for this. Sometimes I’m scared to look at the full details. I’m scared at how little details there are. I’m scared of the details that are.

I’m just scared.

So for today, I choose not to Google.


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