Panic! at the Doctor: A Girl’s Saga

by Christine on May 10th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

Yesterday was a terribly traumatizing day for me.  But it involves a little bit of backstory, I guess, in order to understand why I was such a headcase. This information is not easy for me to share–I really would prefer to keep it private–but if I can help even one person who is going through a similar situation, then I will consider it worth while sharing my experience.

…deep breath…

While we were on our vacation a week or so ago, I experienced an irregular period. It came 2 weeks early (so I didn’t have anything on hand) and there was a lot of bleeding and clotting. A LOT of clotting. Enormous amounts of it.

My lovely girlfriends here online, on my forum, (who do such a great job of looking out for me, thank you so much for all you do!) suggested strongly that I go to see my doctor to discuss this strangeness.

Now, I have the most awesome General Physician (GP) on the planet. Truly, the woman is amazing and dispels all the myths of modern-day, uncaring doctors.  I do not, on the other hand, have a OBGYN doctor. I have never been to an OBGYN. I’ve never had a pap smear or any other girlie-exam.

…deep breath…

I’m terrified to, to be honest. When I was younger…much, much younger…I was abused. Emotionally, physically and yes, even sexually. This abuse absolutely and positively has to do with my disordered relationship with food. My abused past has a direct impact on my past weight gain.  Because of my bad memories and PTSD, I have avoided going to see a gyno. Oh, certainly a great deal of my anxiety is natural–I’m worried about being embarrassed, about it hurting, and about what they might find while they’re down there investigating. God forbid something actually be wrong down there! I know, my past is even more reason to see a gyno, but whenever I have picked up the phone to make an appointment, I’ve had a total breakdown and panic attack.  I can’t do it.

I’ve talked to my GP about my fear before, and while she has voiced her concern about my adamant refusal to see an OGBYN, she has also been incredibly understanding and supportive. A few years ago she offered to do the exam herself because I thoroughly trust her, and she also offered to sedate with me to make me a little more comfortable. I thanked her for the offer and told her “no,” that I wasn’t ready for that.

Well, with my funky period–not to mention being hugely overdue for a routine exam–I think it is time to face my fears.

Yesterday I made an appointment with Doctor Awesomeness, my GP, to tell her what happened and to ask her what I should do now.  I feared that she would want to do an exam right there, right then, but I was mentally prepared to let the exam happen. I am ready to face my fears. All day at work, I had one anxiety attack after another. I was shaking, hyperventilating at times. I broke down with uncontrolled tears a few times; I got diarrhea from my nerves.  I kept telling myself to calm down, that it is “no big deal” and reminded myself that I didn’t even know what Doctor Awesomeness was going to tell me.  I tried to eat some chicken noodle soup for lunch, but had zero appetite. I dry heaved in the bathroom.

Finally, at 4 pm, I had my doctor’s appointment. Doctor Awesomeness held my shaking hands as I told her what was going on. We had a long conversation about my fears, but I told her I was okay with letting her do the exam. She was so accommodating–she wrote me a prescription for a sedative, offered to come into the office even outside of regular hours so long as it accommodated my schedule, told me exactly what I could expect and what would happen. She is very straight-forward and honest, but also incredibly empathetic and understanding. She never once belittled or diminished how I felt. She never told me that I was being irrational about nothing. No; she just held my hand and gave me options, promised to take care of me, and offered to do anything she could to make me comfortable.

She told me that the funky period sounds like a miscarriage, but it could also be fibroids or something else happening on my girlie-organs. She wants me to go in for an ultrasound as well, just to see if there are any growths or abnormalities going on down there.  She will also do a blood test because she said the thyroid could possibly cause irregular menstrual cycles, and I do have a history of having a wacky, under-productive thyroid.

In the end, all of my worrying yesterday was for nothing, but now I have two more appointments to panic over. I will be very glad when these doctors visits are over with.

I surprised myself with one enormous change in mindset yesterday. When I was younger (in my teens and 20s) and adamant about never seeing a OBGYN, my mindset was this: “If I go to the OBGYN and nothing is wrong, I had to go through enormous amounts of emotional trauma for absolutely nothing, which is ridiculous. If I go to the doctor and something IS wrong, it means I’ll have to experience more and more trauma, more and more doctor’s appointments. I would honestly rather die than go through that emotional nightmare!”

But that was then. This is now. My mindset yesterday was, “I love my life, I love my husband, I love my new self, and I want to do everything I can to make sure I’m here to enjoy tomorrow, even if it means going through a little emotional distress.”

That’s a pretty significant transformation, and I really think my weight loss has a lot to do with it. I feel like I value myself more in this new body. I’m happier, too. It’s really amazing to see the ways in which weight loss affects you, and not just physically.

By the way, today is my 3rd wedding Anniversary! Happy Anniversary, Husband! I love you very, very much.

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