…so, anyway, when I finally made that big step to actually go to the doctor, to take charge of my well being and become an advocate for my breasts and my cervix, I began mentally preparing myself for every outcome. My brain went from being solemnly called to the conference room with my family to being told everything was just dandy.
The one thing I was fairly certain of was that my blood pressure would be high. I had all but convinced myself that those “spells” I was having were due to high blood pressure. So, I was a little surprised when, after Brandy took my blood pressure and I inquired ‘well, is it awful?,” she said it was ‘a little high, but not horrible.’
WOOT. The rest of this is going to be a piece of cake.
Then Tonya came in and did the lady stuff (1 test) and knowing it had been *coughalongtime* since I had had that particular procedure performed, she was explaining everything and how this was going to go and that was going to go, which is nice and all, but I’ve had four kids, so let’s face it…there isn’t a whole lot that can go on down there that is going to startle me. In fact, as I was lying there, chatting away, this thought came to mind…
my gosh. none of this even bothers me. why in the world have I allowed myself to be in bondage all these years by an unfounded phobia? doctor visits never, ever bothered me before i became a medical transcriptionist, yet almost immediately upon becoming one I turned into a self-diagnosing, doctor-avoiding, borderline hypochondriac. things are going to be different now. no more fear.
And then, she moved north and did the breast exam and told me to get a mammogram (2 test). I’m 47 and hadn’t had a baseline one, so I knew that was coming. Then, she listened to my heart. She listened here, there, down there, in the middle, under the boobage, to the side, on my back, on my neck…and my brain kicked in.
whoa. hang on. no one has ever listened to my heart this long. what.the.hell.
Turns out she heard a murmur, albeit one she said no one else would even hear because she had “supersonic hearing.” Due to the “spells” I had been having, she’d already suggested we get an EKG (3 test) to check it out, but now that was upgraded to a visit with the cardiologist and an echocardiogram (4 test).
“This is more than what you were planning on, huh,” she said.
“Bring it,” I said, “I’m here, I’m vested. Let’s just do ALL OF THE TESTS.
Though, interestingly enough, even though i have a family history, as little as I know of it, of women in my family keeling over of the brain aneurysms, testing for a brain aneurysm is out unless you are having symptoms…
oh, and there are rarely symptoms of that until it is bursting and you are dying.
anyway. So, then I was off to the lab (5 test) where they took 2 liters of my blood to test for all the regular things, plus my FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) to check and see what stage of the menopause I was in. Piece of cake.
Then my phone rang and it was Tanya’s office. I missed the call since I put it on silent when I’m in doctor settings, but when I listened to the message, my gut sort of turned over and I got a little sweaty. She wanted me to come by the office if I was still in the building, she “needed to talk to me about something.”
They put me in an exam room and I am running all the things through my head because I think if i can steel myself mentally, maybe I won’t make a scene when she comes in to tell me I’m dying, etc. So, when she came in, i was braced. It turns out that the fecal occult (not the sacrificing goats kind of occult, the kind of occult that means sneaky and hard to see) blood test they do when they do your yearly Pap smear had come back positive.
great. that’s the one thing I hadn’t given one thought to, blood in my fecal matter. dadgum.
She told me even though i was 3 years shy of the 50-year colonoscopy, that I was going to have a colonoscopy (6 test).
And again she was all “i know this isn’t what you were planning on.”
Sooooooo, today is the day before my big procedure and at 8 a.m. I ingested this delicious little magnesium citrate cocktail that is a ‘pasteurized sparking saline laxative,’ which is a must for folks who simply must have laxatives that fizz.
Anyway, I will spend a bit of time dealing with that this morning, but the real fun comes this afternoon when I begin ingesting Visicol tablets by the 4′s every 15 minutes for 2 hours.
FUN FUN FUN times.
Whatever, I can deal with drinking tons of water and taking tons of pills…I just knew I couldn’t drink a gallon of that stuff they call GoLYTEly, which from what I understand makes you go anything but lightly.
To put it mildly, my phobia about the doctor? It’s gone. Completely beaten into submission by 10 doctor appointments in 1 month after 3 doctor appointments in 15 years. I know that the folks at Humana are going
WHAT THE HECK? this chick is having ALL THE TESTS THAT COST THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.
In fact, that follicle stimulating hormone blood test? They declined payment for that one. Apparently, my menopausal state…not that important (I sort of agree with them there really).
Through this whole thing, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the folks who go to the doctor and their doctor hears a heart murmur and thinks they need an echocardiogram or mammogram or colonoscopy, but they can’t get one because they don’t have insurance OR a million dollars…
and that thought right there is what has made me try not to be a big puss about all this. heck, at least I am able to get all this stuff done and hopefully after tomorrow be able to rest easy, knowing that the big 4 (breasts, cervix, heart and colon) are all A-okay…a lot of folks don’t have that luxury.
**edited to add:
I went on to have the mammogram, which came back abnormal on the right, then had to have a followup sonogram and the abnormal finding turned out to be a benign lymph node right about where my underwire digs in.
I went on to visit with the cardiologist, a dear man named Dr. Miller, who patted me and told me that there wasn’t a thing wrong with my heart but my blood pressure was so high it was causing what they call a “flow murmur,” what with the high-pressure WHOOSHING IN AND OUT OF THE VALVES. He gave me blood pressure medicine and I feel very grown up every morning when I take it.
and…my Pap smear came back just fine.
In that period between the office visit and when the specialist visits started, I have to tell you that my mind was going insane and my fingers with the googling all the possible outcomes of this or that…but then, one Sunday in church, our pastor talked about faith and it was just one of those sermons you know God planned just for you.
After that, i stopped the googling and started praying that I handle whatever comes with grace…
which I am glad to say that I have been able to do. I pray for that again tomorrow.