Give up the fear
Tuesday August 02nd 2011, 11:20 pm
Filed under: Life,Lupus

Nope, no bungee-jumping ice cubes today. But I’ve spent most of the last seven hours slogging through some design work that needed to be done, and there’s such a sense of satisfaction in having it come out right after all that work.

Got an email reminder, went in yesterday, got my mammogram out of the way: I don’t think I could have faced my sister-in-law if I had made excuses or just not bothered. She’s lucky she had one done when she did, and even so, it’s a hard fight. She is in her 40’s.

Let me just say upfront, I’ve never understood those who kvetch and forward emails about how awful a process it is. It is not. You’re uncomfortable or maybe in pain for 10 seconds max, four times.

Then it’s done and you’re done and you walk out of there free of all that. If you get to find out you’re one of the lucky ones, all the better. And if not, you have the comfort of knowing you took good care of yourself from the start.

One of the side effects of 21 years of lupus with longterm, severe pain, mostly faded out of the scene now but always ready to flare up a bit here and there at the least provocation is that I find it a struggle at times to be patient with people who have not yet learned that the fear of pain is far worse than any actual pain. Longterm pain is simply a different avenue for learning about life. (The author is at Harvard Medical and knows the subject personally). You can do it.

Now go get that mammogram/colonoscopy/irregular spot (I don’t care how old or young you are, a child of mine was 18 months) checked. We need you around. (That child is in their 20’s. It was caught at the precancerous stage.)

14 Comments so far
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Yes auntie Alison! And when the nasty check-up is out of the way, there is no more “what if” stress in many cases, or a clear plan of action if there is something after all.

Putting it off is just waiting to make things worse. I’ve seen enough damage done to people who just didn’t want to bother their GP, then it turned out to be too late to do anything…

Comment by tinebeest 08.03.11 @ 12:20 am

Preaching to the choir, which will now give you a hearty “amen”! Got The Girls smashed last week, no colonoscopy or bone scan this year, probably next. Will get the results in the next few days. Fun experience? No; The Girls are just barely speaking to me, but they’ll thank me if they get to hang around another year or so.

Comment by Lynn 08.03.11 @ 4:13 am

Thanks for mentioning Dr. Groopman’s book. I love his writing.

Comment by RobinM 08.03.11 @ 6:04 am

Thanks for the book/author recommendation. Already on reserve at the local library. I work with a lot of folks with chronic medical conditions/chronic pain and am always looking for resources to help them (and me) navigate their condition. Many of these folks are quite poor as well, often uninsured so life is piling much onto their plates.

And thank you for the reminder about screening tests. Being in my 40’s I have some choice about when and what to test ;-> I am a strong believer in SBE as the majority of folks I know diagnosed with breast cancer found it first themselves (and in one case the mammogram showed nothing – and was wrong! – which could have been disastrous if the doctor had not listened to the patient).

Thanks for the constant inspiration!

Comment by wildknits 08.03.11 @ 6:06 am

Back to every year, after the every 6 month routine. It is so worth it. I know.

Comment by afton 08.03.11 @ 6:15 am

Bravo, Alison!!

Comment by Channon 08.03.11 @ 6:47 am

Thanks so much for the book info! I just checked online and it’s on the shelf at my library (only a block away). It may be just the right thing to send to my sil, who is in that difficult phase where they know something is seriously wrong but despite a zillion tests know more about what it isn’t than what it is.
I consider that living in a time and place when screening tests are available are pure gift! There is a biomarker for the kind of cancer I had, so every 3 months when it’s checked I know I’m continuing to do well two years this month from the end of chemo, but who’s counting LOL?
That said, with the old-style mammograms, with large dense breasts, on more than one occasion both the techs and I were in tears before we got acceptable pictures. Yea! for digital mammograms! Gonna take a walk to the library now….

Carol in MA

Comment by Carol Telsey 08.03.11 @ 7:02 am

Just do it! 20 years of putting it off, decided to do it; yes, positive. Now 5 years cancer-free.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 08.03.11 @ 7:19 am

the “smash and flash” as the mammogram is lovingly referred to by our clan is not problem — I can get that at my local Planned Parenthood facility at no charge because I qualify under the low income clause — the colonoscopy is a whole other animal — no programs for that — just hanging on for medicare to kick in (I hope) in 4.75 years

Comment by Bev 08.03.11 @ 8:01 am

I’ve been through enough ‘junk’ in my life to know that when it comes to something that must be done, get it done and over with!

Comment by Don Meyer 08.03.11 @ 8:46 am

Been there,done that. Every year since 1998,get a kick out of you have lost weight!, it seems every year brings a new technique, Pain, alas gets to us as we get older, as joints creak and groan.

Comment by kristy phipps 08.03.11 @ 9:51 am

I think of this in the context of labor; first time around, I was so scared of what it might be like that I got in my own way, and it just got worse and worse. Second time, I was calmer and knew just how bad it can get — and found that it didn’t get anything like that bad.

Comment by Kristine 08.03.11 @ 12:53 pm

Very timely reminder. I had a physical today and one of the things I’ve put off is getting routine bloodwork and a mammo. This year, not optional. Will make the appointment tomorrow.

Comment by Deb 08.03.11 @ 4:01 pm

This is exactly the appointment I didn’t get around to making today – got the annual physical scheduled and the dentist, then ran out of time. Which makes your post right on time and I am putting scheduling this right on the top of the to do list for tomorrow. Thank you!

Comment by twinsetellen 08.03.11 @ 9:05 pm

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