We all have things that make us a little uneasy.
For some it’s the dentist, or flying. I (like many others I’m sure) get anxious about the doctor.
You see, for the past 10+ years I’ve had extra visits. Nothing is wrong, we’re just trying to keep it that way. Both my mother, and her mother fought (and eventually lost) battles with cancer. So, as a pre-caution I was red-flagged early.
On the one hand, it’s a good thing. I’m under a microscope. I’m well-versed. I know the enemy in ways many who face it don’t.
On the contrary, it’s a curse. It’s something I will never be rid of (unless I opt for drastic things). The ‘what ifs’ and wondering on occasion if my number will be up is a torturous hell that my mind can so quickly create.
So it’s a balance. One I still struggle with, especially due to the emotional memory tied to it.
Through my experience, I have learned a few things, ones that have proven immensely valuable to me, which I would like to pass along to you.
- Take a few moments and write down questions beforehand. — This way when you’re eventually asked “Any Questions?” you’ll remember what it is you do have inquiry about. Don’t worry about redundancy, or taking time. It’s your body-your peace of mind.
- Write things down, or record it. — Studies show no matter how closely people listen in an exam room, they can forget up to 50% upon leaving.
- Bring a Friend/Loved One– This provides another set of ears, and can also ask questions if you find yourself processing. If you have an exam that would make you feel uncomfortable with them in the room? Have them leave! But bring them back for consultations.
- Have a binder just for bills– Insurance and Accounting Depts can be headaches. It’s a burden, but wouldn’t you rather take the time and file forms in order, rather than pay far more than you should?
- Go to your corner, where your coach, cut-man, and support team is waiting– . Know who to call to be a support team. Know who to call to assess your emotions or mood Know who to call that will drag you out of the house, or who will come to you with ice cream and/or wine.
I still struggle with my anxiety on days I have to go to the doctor. I likely always will. (In fact, if it ever becomes too routine or ‘no big deal’ I hope someone would worry about my mental state.) What I’ve come to realize is that it’s ok to have a bit of those nerves-just don’t let them take the lead.
I’d like to clarify here that I don’t want anyone to read the prior writings as “oh woe is me” I am aware of how lucky I am to not only be watched, but also to be healthy. My cards are the ones I know, so I write from that viewpoint.