I’ve worked hard over the past few weeks on turning fear into a learning experience. I’ve had a lot thrown at me in a short period of time, and I still don’t have all the answers, but I’m farther ahead than I was.
Not knowing what was wrong with my stomach was a frightening thing. I knew it wasn’t supposed to be that way, and I kept meaning to call the doctor to discuss it. I put it off because I knew what the outcome would be – further testing. Why I was so scared of that is a mystery to me now.
One of my husband’s favorite expressions has always been, “sometimes running away from a punch in the mouth is worse than the punch in the mouth”, an inelegant way of saying sometimes it’s better to turn and face your fears down. It was time to stop running away.
Today I faced two fears down.
I finally got called in for jury duty. They were picking jurors for a two-week Federal Court criminal trial. No, I didn’t want to go. I was a nervous wreck over it, terrified that they’d keep me. It was problematic on two levels – the whole diverticulitis not making me a good candidate for sitting still for long periods of time and another change in personnel at work. I’d be leaving my employer in the lurch with no backup while putting myself through a lot of stress that wasn’t going to agree with my guts.
I was determined to make the best of a bad situation when it occurred to me that I absolutely didn’t have to. I asked my gastroenterologist for a written excuse – a “get out of jury duty” letter, something he was more than happy to provide for me.
I arrived at the Federal building at 7:50 am today – an ungodly time for a non-morning person. I sat and waited for an hour along with my fellow jurors. When they called us upstairs to check us in and settle us into the juror’s room, I pulled out my doctor’s excuse. The clerk asked me to sit on a bench off to the side, and I had to wait patiently while they registered all the other jurors in the pool. When she was done, she reviewed my paperwork again, and she released me! Just like that, I was free to go. I was back at my desk at work before 9:00.
Shortly after settling in for the day, my gastroenterologist called me, and I had to face my second fear. The rest of the biopsy results were back on my testing. In my small intestines, they did in fact find a polyp. He hadn’t seen it on the scope, but they grabbed it by accident when they were taking samples for the biopsy. He said it was benign, but I have to have another colonoscopy in six months to check that area and make sure it doesn’t grow back or turn into something more worrisome.
I know that I’m on the right track, and I’m actually glad I had the scans now. I’d rather find something early than wait because I’m scared of taking the prep – that was foolish. My stomach is slowly improving with more good days than bad, but it’s been a slow recovery. I’m down 12-1/2 pounds, and my clothes are loose, but this diet is not something I’d recommend.
I have an appointment at my primary care doctor’s office on Friday, and I’m seeing my oldest son’s doctor (my regular doctor is still out on maternity leave). In addition to the diverticulitis, the CT scan showed that I have two non-specific “bone islands”. Bone islands are described online as a common benign bone lesion – growths of bone where they shouldn’t be. I have to go in to discuss whether we want to do further scans. It’s amazing the things that get found when someone starts poking around inside a nearly sixty year old body, isn’t it?
I’ve had enough punches in the mouth, so to speak, this month to last me for a few years. I’m done now.
Images courtesy of Pinterest and waymarking.com