it’s all relative

layers at sunset
layers at sunset

I’m going to go out on a limb (pun intended) and talk about anxiety. No, don’t run away, it won’t be too much crazy talk. In fact I’ve been trying to make it a more rational subject in my own mind in order to understand it and, hopefully, not get pulled off course so much.

I’m sitting here with an ice-pack on my eye trying to bring the swelling down after having had a biopsy taken from my lower lid yesterday. I’ve had a discoloration under my eye for years now but it has been steadily growing in the last year and the doctors want to make sure it’s nothing nasty or even pre-nasty.

My reaction to anxiety, or any kind of discomfort both physical and emotional, is to sleep. I’ve been sleeping a lot this past week. The idea of someone coming at my eye with a sharp implement was causing me to want to go to some other dimension for a while, preferably one with nice movies to watch. Fairy tales and love stories were welcome. At the same time I was, once again, feeling guilty for having such a dramatic anxiety-ridden reaction to something that really didn’t warrant it, it was just a little piece of skin, the doctor is really good, the biopsy will be negative…yadda yadda yadda.

I got to the doctor’s office and told her assistant that I was nervous. She hastened to assure me that there was nothing to worry about, the doctor did these procedures every day. I admit, in my anxiety, I was a little sharp with her when I said “Yes, but I don’t”. She seemed taken aback. I think she thought that my anxiety only stemmed from whether the doctor was proficient at slicing and dicing. I found this interesting because this was the least of my worries. I had complete confidence in the doctor. She had done a really good job on a small procedure for a friend of mine so I knew she was good. No, my worries had to do with sensory things, pain and discomfort. I am kind of a pain wimp. Wait. Actually, I am okay with pain (stoicism rocks.) I am a wimp when it comes to the potential for pain. Anticipation of pain and discomfort sends me into a tizzy. So my anxiety was more about the realities of the procedure. What was it going to be like? What was my role? Will I be able to close my eyes and not see what was going on? (It turns out that you don’t have to keep your eye open but it is difficult to close it …I spent a lot of time staring at the bright light overhead.)

I survived the ten minutes of having someone cut a piece of skin off my body but not without saying other abrupt, ridiculously stupid and awkward things to the doctor. I am not at my social best when someone pokes me with a needle. I left wishing I could apologize for sounding like an idiot. I’m sure they get that a lot and I have to remind myself that this was not a social situation where I was trying to impress someone with my stellar personality.

After the visit I sat in my car and marveled at the fact that even though I have lived with anxiety for, well, forever, I can still be in denial about it. I thought that after I was done I would be fine, my eye would be fine and I would go merrily on with my day with no reprisals. HA! I sat in the car and shivered and turned the heat up. I felt like crying but didn’t want to get my eye wet. This is where sisters often come in handy. A call to each of them, a cup of tea and a chocolate croissant from Starbucks and I was in better shape. Not great, but better. (Note to self…bring teddy bear, blanket and a cup of tea to the next procedure.)

I got home, had dinner and ran up against another moment of denial: “Once it’s over I’m going to sleep sooooo well”. Um, no. I forgot the après-procedure anxiety about sleeping on a body part that has been injured and has stitches. I worried all night about turning onto my left side and opening the suture up all over the pillow. Great. Now I’m anxious, sleep deprived AND I look like someone punched me in the eye with a shard of glass.

As procedures go, and I have had my share of uncomfortable/weird ones, this was really minor. I have a feeling that today, with its swelling and crusty stuff, is the most uncomfortable and awkward day, soon I won’t even remember where the cut was. But for right now, when I live my life going from one anxiety to another (yes, there is another waiting in the wings…a visit to my dad…whooppeeeeeee!) I have difficulty letting go of or ignoring it. I am cursed with a sensitive nature, a predilection towards self-awareness (to an extreme), a creative imagination, and a fight or flight program that is somewhat flawed (an understatement). Put all of these together and it can make certain days really tough.

I actually had another post in mind when I started this but the words went in a different direction. I think I will save it for another day. I’m tired and hungry and my eyelids keep sticking together…time for some dinner and…yeah…a nap!!!

13 thoughts on “it’s all relative

  1. Oh you poor darlin’…I agree about the eyeball thing..when I had those plugs put in the whole sight of a metal probe heading into my eye creeped me out..the only anxiety I have with medical stuff is the dentist,,whom I loathe..with a passion..my anxiety is saved for confrontations…I get beside myself..and I know I will survive ..lord knows I have had plenty ..but the lead up is hideous…my little sister is the same..we have given our issues a fun title..CAD confrontational avoidance disorder..we joke about it but it can be crippling..the moments before during and after…urghhhh..which I believe stems from never being allowed to stick up for yourself with a bully father..the fear that saying what you feel will lead to anger aggression or being disowned…amazing any of us got here 🙂 good luck sweets and I am sure you will be fine 🙂 hugs Bev xxx

    1. Yeah, the dentist is now on the same level as other medical stuff…especially after I had a root canal. Ugh. I will have to think about CAD but you may be right. It all comes down to who has control of your body. Thanks for the sympathy it was just what I needed.

      1. Yikes! I had more than enough of damn dentists..i don’t mind other medical stuff and I have had my fair share..knee ops,hysterectomy,tonsils,yada yada..I trust that they will do right by me..except one Dr who I gave the flick too..jerk..but any confrontations and I feel my heart starts pounding and my hands get shaky…I feel nervy and out of control…I am glad my sympatico lifestyle was of some help sweets xxx

  2. Good for you for being so self aware though – better than being anxious,down or grumpy and not being able to understand why…sisters and chocolate croissants sounds like a good start but hope you get good news soon xx

  3. Ouch! Not sure how you managed to post with a post-biop eyelid to weary you. I don’t get anxious about these procedures, but I do get anxious waiting for the results. And I don’t bounce back from the surgeries as quickly as I used to and often feel quite shaky afterwards. My surgeon said that’s normal. So we are not wimps; we are wonderful for doing our best to take care of ourselves. 🙂

    1. Funnily enough, unless I’m in denial again, I’m not worried about the biopsy. And thanks for rewording the wimp thing…I will try to hold onto that today as I sit here still in my bathrobe at 10:30… 🙂

  4. Just back from weeks away with no internet….a salutory, soul-feeding time!
    I was happy to read yr post first, and I can SO identify with what you wrote! I sailed in for a biopsy in my mouth, thought they’d just scrape summat off on a cotton bud, but Oh No! The scalpel loomed…..and I came out much shakier than I’d have thought.
    In the weeks waiting for results I just fantasised about where I would go if result was bad….planning trips in exotic places with old friends who’d come along to say Goodbye…I had the whole itinerary sorted, so that when they reported that it was benign i was like “What!!! You mean I’ve gotta go back to that stressful life????”. Nuttin’ like a bit of avoidance to keep from worrying…….I’ve got an overactive Fight or Flight mechanism….I’d just add Fantasise to the title!
    I was up really late this morning, no excuse except that it was a cold, grey, drizzly morning…and anyway, sleep is good for the immune system……and brighter folk need more sleep.
    Says I.
    Here’s every best wish for your results! Charlie.

    1. I have always said that denial is not always a bad thing. If it stops you from worrying about something until it is actually something then that’s a good thing right? Unfortunately I don’t always accomplish this. From what I know, the results will only show it’s is a pre cancer or just an age spot. The former is somewhat easy to take care of and the latter is, surprisingly, more difficult. Hmm.

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