I went through a period of about a year and a half, with an intense stretch of about three months at the end, of health scares.
Suddenly, it seemed, I couldn’t get a routine medical test without it coming back positive, possibly indicating something dire. Literally, at one point, I was standing in line at a doctor’s office, to get a follow-up procedure for one finding, when my phone rang, to let me know of another positive test result that could indicate something else dire for which a follow-up had to be scheduled … in a few weeks.
All I had done was get the routine screening tests my doctors told me I should, the way I always did: mammogram, pap smear, eye exam, etc. But this go-round, they led to, according to my count, a follow-up mammogram, three ultrasounds, four unpleasant gynecological procedures, in which, as my doctor-husband put it, gynecologists got “way up into my business,” a urology procedure, two MRIs, a CT scan, two sets of x-rays, excisions and a skin graft.
I am not blaming anyone. My doctors are very good at what they do, were doing exactly what they are supposed to do and very possibly saved me from something bad.
But, although it was no one’s intention, I cannot think of a better way to push someone, especially someone like me, who’s kind of anxious, right off the fear cliff.
I am fine, for which I feel lucky and grateful. I know I am also lucky to have access to healthcare.
But I also ended up seeing a therapist and getting on Prozac.
(Prozac’s great, so is therapy!)
Maybe that’s a silver lining: Feeling besieged led me to seek help for the anxiety I’ve come to realize has always been lurking inside my head. J