So many moons back, I came out as a hypochondriac. My fabulous doctor corrected me, and said I had “health anxiety.” Let’s take a look at the “anxiety” part of the phrase. (From dictionary dot com): “Synonyms 1. fear, foreboding; worry, disquiet. A state of uneasiness and apprehension, as about future uncertainties.”
A while back, I had a diagnosis of GERD – Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease. It explained away a lot of my heartburn-gas-cum “fear of pending heart attack” feelings. I’ve been on acid reducers for a number of months now, and if I have heartburn now? It’s my own damn fault, which basically means I said fuck it, and had Mexican food, or citrus, or cheese.
My doctor said that we’d work on the symptoms, and see if removing the symptoms removed the anxiety. And we’d go from there. So the symptoms were removed within a week of starting Aciphex. And I felt great. For a while. Until I heard about someone I know who had a heart attack due to an infection that got out of hand and went unchecked. So I started to freak out about my heart health again. After some time passed, and my symptoms were under control, life continued status quo. Then we heard about a friend who had an awful ordeal in childbirth, had an infection from her c-section, and suffered a pulmonary embolism. She is now doing MUCH MUCH better, but it was touch and go for quite some time. It sparked my anxiety again. I figure, hey, I’m fat, I smoked for 18 years, and let’s face it, outside of the 1 mile walk to Malka’s daycare every day, I’m not exercising. Plus, add in the stress of a child, owning property, two senior citizen cats, a partner, a relatively new job, and let’s face it, life can throw some stressors out there.
But then I was feeling OK for a while, Blogapalooza was there to take my mind off of things. The preparation, and the actual event. And then I read an article in Real Simple Magazine this month about a woman who was in perfect health, had awesome ekg’s, wonderful cholesterol, good blood pressure, etc. But she still had to have bypass surgery, because her arteries were SO clogged. I was reading about her symptoms, and spending all day yesterday and today wondering if my tingly left hand was a symptom. I’ve had excellent ekg’s, my cholesterol is 162, and my blood pressure is 120 over 80 on a bad day; 116 over 70 or so on average.
I have had a referral to a cardiologist for about 4 months now. I haven’t called. When the referral was given, it was becuase I was having palpitations. My doctor told me that palpitations can be caused by stress. The simple knowledge of this eased the actual palpitations themselves. The other part of the reason that I haven’t called is that I’m afraid that they might actually find something. And part of me is worried that they won’t. Which would mean that I have anxiety.
I shared with Narda tonight a fear that I thought I had never told anyone, but me, being the boundary-less wonder that I am, apparantly had. When I was younger, in my teens, I would often be found saying that I’d never make it to 40. Gulp. Well, 40 is right around the corner, and I WANT to be here. Well into my 100’s, thankyouverymuch. But the fear? Is that I jinxed myself – self fulfilling prophecy and all that crap.
Talking to Narda tonight, and even writing about it seems to have lessened the anxiety somewhat.
I never thought I’d be “one of those people” that “needed” anxiety medication. I was so wrong. Humility is something to be so incredibly grateful for.
I will still make an appointment with the cardiologist, but I will also talk to my doctor about this anxiety. And ask for medication. I cannot continue to function in this state of constant fear about my health. My bubbe, z”l was a self-described “Worrier.” I didn’t get it. Until now. They say that traits tend to skip a generation. For further proof – NEITHER of my parents drink alcohol, coffee, or smoked cigarettes. One of my jobs as a teen was to call the waitress over to refill Bubbe’s coffee, because it “got cold.” You get the point about the whole “skipping a generation thing.” Now pardon me while I go have some wine.
I did stick to my food plan today. Which is something. And I drank a lot of water. Which is a good thing, too. I do know that removing the physical symptoms will help alleviate the anxiety in a big way. Losing weight is part of that process. Doing things to help take care of myself is part of that too.
Thanks for letting me share.