Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I can't help but think that something out there is testing me.

I had my yearly appointment with the gynecologist on Monday. I have had so many doctors appointments over the last six months that I was not happy at all to have to add this one to the list, but I knew it was important to go and I needed refills for my birth control.

Knowing that I would be anxious about the appointment, I asked for the very first appointment of the day, which was at 9:00 am. I walk into the office and there are already people waiting, all of which have appointments listed before mine on the sign-in sheet. I tried to breathe and pull out my trustworthy ice pack (the cold calms down my anxiety, but also makes me joints throb). Thirty minutes later I get called in.

Everything goes fine until the breast exam. She finds something, but it is small so she wants me to wait two months and then come back in for another exam. Then I get pushed out the door.

I am kind of in shock when I get home. Almost every female I know has had some kind of cyst or lump that had to be checked out by a mammogram, biopsy, or second appointment and none of them have been anything serious. I also know that the odds are in my favor since I am in my 30's and none of my immediate family has had cancer, only extended family. My mother and husband agree that if the doctor was worried, she would have arranged for a test at that point and not told me to go in two months later. I try to calm down as much as I can, but one can't help but worry a little.

Tuesday morning I wake up with a racing heart and feel like I am going to be sick. I was anxious about the lump and having to wait two months to find anything out. I even called the doctor back and asked if there was anything I could do now, but they told me it was nothing to fret over and two months is what they prefer.

In my head, I know that it is probably nothing and that I will be fine, but my body has been in panic mode for two days and it does not feel like it is going to end any time soon. The morning is the worst. I get waves of nausea and cramps. I get hot flashes and my arms begin to tingle. Even when I feel a tad calmer in between the waves, I cannot concentrate on any of my work. Both yesterday and today were so bad that I had to take something to calm me down. By the time lunch comes around I am so exhausted from the anxiety that I have to take a nap.

If I can distract myself enough, the afternoon is a little better and I might be able to get a little work done. Once I get home, there is no cooking or cleaning. I have to lie down because I am tired again and my back is in pain due to the tension. I spend the rest of the evening reading until Rommel gets home.

You are probably thinking, "This just happened on Monday and she is talking like it has been days of anxiety." The thing is that I know the routine after fourteen years of this. The most recent episode began last August after the company I worked for was bought out and it lasted for six months. Six months of being too anxious to go anywhere other than work. Six months of a sick stomach and back pain. Six months of being too exhausted to do anything around the house.

The big difference this time is that I am also dealing with symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis on top of the anxiety. The more anxious I am, the more joint pain I tend to have. Yesterday was a good example. I was anxious throughout the day and my hands, wrist, and feet began to ache in the late afternoon.

But it did get better last time and I know that it will get better this time too; I just have to wait it out. Although I am trying to be a little more proactive this time. I have an appointment for a massage tonight to deal with my back pain. I made an appointment with a hypnotherapist for Thursday. I saw her when I was originally diagnosed with RA and she helped me get through it without freaking out too much. I am also trying to avoid caffeine and sugar, which exacerbates the anxiety.

If those do not help enough, I might have to see the doctor about adjusting my meds for the time being. Believe me, it is not what I want to do, but I need to be able to work right now.

I just can't help but wonder why me? And I do not mean the lump. Okay, maybe I do mean the lump a little, but mostly I mean the anxiety. I am so tired and this year has been so insane already with the RA, etc. And I know there are people out there that are dealing with so much more than I am right now. I guess I just need my self pity time.


Anonymous said...

Oh dear... okay why you? Many of us ask the question. It's not like we wish it on others, we just want to know, Why me? Now about your anxiety- My hubs has anxiety to and had to rely on meds to help him calm down enough to do biofeedback. He's done much better!!! It's not an easy choice but it's not good being all balled up in knots & nauseated. Have tried to train your brain to say, "it's just a little lump and is probably nothing" until you can feel yourself relax. Or maybe transport your mind to a happy memory and keep repeating it even if it's a 100 times. It doesn't matter so long as your replacing anxiety with some positive. I wish I could tell you it will be fine but I'm a realist & have had a biopsy. IT IN FACT turned out to be a hard cyst at the end of the day thank goodness. But while you have nothing to worry about right now, try not to worry too much. In the meantime, just express your fears and anxiety. That alone may help you get past it mentally. Hugs to you. Tazzy

Wren said...

A couple of years ago, I also went through several (almost 4, before it was over) months of anxiety after my doctor discovered a lump in my breast. After two mammograms, two ultrasounds, a breast-MRI and two biopsies (they didn't get enough of the tissue in question for the first biopsy to be viable, so we did it all again) they finally confirmed that the cyst was benign -- which was what my doc had suspected all along. She told me that, too, but I was nevertheless very anxious as the long, long days passed and the quest to confirm her suspicion took place.

I don't envy you the anxiety you're going through right now, and I know that you've already been told to relax, it's probably nothing. Thing is, it probably IS nothing, and as you stress over this you're robbing yourself of the joys and pleasures of each day. I wish I could take your anxiety away. I can't, but I can wish you the best. If increased meds will help you get through this, then USE them. They're a great tool.

In the meantime, take the best care of yourself that you can and take a little time each day to look for the "gifts," the small, wondrous things the world offers each day that are so important to living life mindfully and with joy. You're in my thoughts, Small Town Girl.
-Wren, from Rheumablog

Alexis said...

I think you should find a new gynecologist! One thing I've learned in my short time of having RA is to respect what my body is telling me, and if you want to have the little lump checked out now, your doctor should support you!
Also, I think you should do whatever you can--hypnotherapy, medicine, etc.--to help ease your anxiety. It's horrible to live with severe anxiety, and there is no reason not to find help.

I hope you feel better soon!

Morgan said...

Thank you so much for your comments. I can't even tell you how much I appreciate them. I will write and updated post tonight if I get a chance.