Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Going to the doctor

I used to like going to the doctor.  It meant going in with a problem, having him (or her) tell me what was wrong, tell me how to fix it and then I would go home.  It also meant going in for annual exams and being told I was healthy and me leaving with peace of mind.

All of that changed when I was 29.  At 29, I noticed one day, in the lower left corner of my left eye, some weird fuzzy lines.  They didn't go away and I wondered if I had an eye infection.  I went to a doctor, I did have an eye infection and I thought everything would go away.  It didn't.   So, I went to another doctor.  This doctor told me he thought it was something different and very casually said, "We need to test you for MS."

That lead to over a year of testings with various doctors, multiple MRI's and other such tests until finally, I was at a super super specialist (one of those doctors you don't get to see until you have been referred and then referred and then referred again) to tell me, "Your eye symptom will likely not get better.  You don't have MS symptoms.  We think we know what you have (way too long to explain here but it really is a benign condition) but we are not certain but we have ruled out all of the really scary stuff."

Needless to say, it was my first encounter with not being 100% healthy and I realized sometimes going to the doctor is not a "you have this, take this medicine and you will get better" situation.

A few years after that, I went in to have a mole removed and it came back as melanoma.  Getting a phone call telling me I had cancer was no fun either.  Fortunately again for me, it was caught in one of its earliest stages and things are good.

But really since those two experiences,  going to the doctor is stressful for me.  I also am getting older and wiser and have lost people I love to scary things, who went into their regular doctor visits and then had their lives changed forever.  I am also a hyporcondriac by nature and so, again, doctor visits scare me.

So, about six months ago, I realized, "Oh dear, it has been over three years since I went in for my annual OB exam."  For about 9 years, I was either pregnant or nursing a baby.   I was a regular in the OB's office, and was forced to go for all of those exams.  As anyone knows who has been pregnant, you are tested for a wide range of things from iron levels, to HIV, to diabetes, etc.   When the answers come back as no, it is all very reassuring.

But again, four years ago, I had my last child.  I went when she was one and then promptly forgot to go again.  (That last visit was a dozie, I couldn't find a babysitter, so I brought all four kids with me and nursed my baby during the "exam" part because she was crying like crazy.  My other kids were out in the hall eating cookies with a nice nurse but the whole experience was a little too much and likely why I thought I would wait a few years.)

Anyway, back to six months ago, I made the appointment and started worrying and convincing myself I had every disease on the planet.  I really worked myself into a lather and ended up canceling the appointment.  It was silly of me, I know.

Well, yesterday, I faced my doctor fears and went.  It was a huge deal for me to face my fears and go (I didn't sleep the night before, etc) but I also know as a mother of four kids, it was irresponsible for me to not go to a doctor annually.  They need a healthy mother and I learned from my melanoma experience, catching things early does matter.  And, so, in I went and thankfully, I was told I am completely healthy.  Thank goodness!  Now, I don't have to worry about my health for another year or at least until my next mole check.  :)


Alissa said...

Glad it went well!

ash said...

I am glad to hear you are healthy! I, too, absolutely hate going to the doctor no matter what. I think I'm worse than you. I don't know what it is. And to add mean people at the front desk to the whole situation sends me reeling. Can you tell I need to get over this? Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Paige said...

Allright, stop the nagging. I'll make my stinkin appointment.

Kari said...

Whew! I'm glad that's over! I hear you on the whole "getting older and all is not necessarily well" transition. Plus, people love to tell you awful stories that they should usually keep to themselves. Have an ice cream cone to celebrate! :)

michelle said...

I am a worrier by nature too so I get your anxiety. I always feel like a great mom after my yearly. Like somehow I guranteed my kids will have their mom awhile longer. I agree with the someone who reccomended an ice cream cone to celebrate!