As I drove into the driveway last night after work, I looked up and saw my headlights illuminating a vine-y heart. I pulled out my phone and snapped this shot. Neat, eh?
You should know that I’d been crying. And seeing this sign in nature helped me to feel better.
For a moment or two anyway.
Here’s what’s been happening.
Yep, that’s it.
For the last few weeks, I have been living in fear. And, when I say living, I mean… just barely.
This is not dramatics. It is fact.
Health anxiety is a real bitch. And she is alive and well… embarrassingly so… in my brain and body.
You may remember I had a mammogram two weeks ago, along with a follow-up appointment, which was yesterday.
The follow-up appointment was for an ultrasound and 3-D mammogram. Normally, when I’ve had follow ups, I’d get the results immediately. But then again, none of my follow-ups were as extensive as this one.
After the tests were completed, the technician said this: If there’s nothing wrong, we will contact you later today. If we need a follow-up mammogram, we’ll call tomorrow. If it’s something more serious, it will be after that. But we do try to get a call out to everyone in two days.
I had a few good hours after that … I really tried anyway. I looked at my phone occasionally. I willed it to Ring, ring, ring!
As the hours ticked onward and upward, my blood pressure went with it. By 6pm, it was clear they wouldn’t be calling and therefore I was dying.
This morning, I knew I’d at least be called back in for a second follow-up, with a biopsy, obviously. I prayed it would be a needle aspiration, not a surgery.
As the hours ticked by with no phone call, I was packing my bags for surgery.
I know, hilarious. Except it’s not.
In the last 48 hours in particular, I prevented life.
The fear grew larger and larger until it consumed me whole. I couldn’t eat or sleep, spent inordinate amounts of time in the bathroom and cried my eyes out while imagining my husband as a widower and my children (and cats) without a mother.
I kid you not.
By now you realize the story ends differently than I imagined.
In the process, I also learned a little something about my doctor, who I have taken issue with over the years. Here’s what I wrote to my mom:
“If I ever say anything mean about my doctor again remind me of this day! Her receptionist just called me. Dr wanted me to know that out of an abundance of caution I will be scheduled for another mammogram in October. I am very cystic but it is nothing more and not to worry. OMG, now that’s knowing her patient! And that was very good news to receive on my way into work!”
The hospital called later to schedule my October appointment. By then I’d calmed down enough to joke that the cysts were the only thing holding my breasts up. We both laughed and laughed.
And on the other side of this thing… I feel ashamed, embarrassed, and humiliated in front of the people that matter most: My husband, my family, and you.
I promised myself that if and when I made it through this thing… I would work on fear. I can call it “Health Anxiety” and it certainly is an aspect of that.
Somewhere inside though- I am hardwired for fear… health induced more than any other. I’m a downright risk taker in many other ways. I need to translate that to my health! Well … Kinda … you know what I mean!
I never wanna go through anything like this again. Either I need to stop getting health exams or find another way through them.
In the meantime, it didn’t stop me from seeing the beauty at the end of my driveway. I think I should focus more on that. And give myself props. Yay, me!
Let me know in the comments how you deal with your fears. Maybe we can figure out something together!
Thank you for the commiseration, Cathy! I’m sorry you struggle, too! 😕💕🙏
Everything you said there is me. Fear of the unknown and of what might happen when connected to illness is horrible. I’m trying mindfulness so fingers crossed!
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No mistake made, sweet sister
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I love you. Also, make no mistake… If I leave before you I will haunt you and throw 🪶 feathery 🪶 at your feet so you know I’m there! 💕
YAAAAAAAAY!!!!! (Call me selfish, but I enjoy having you on this side of the Veil with the rest of us non-graduates) 👍☺️✨👌🌴❤️🥀🌺🌸🌼👯👯👯
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