Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dealing with OCD Health Anxiety and Preventive Screenings

I had a week in January with my annual screening mammogram, followed by my diagnostic colonoscopy for chronic anemia. I am proud of myself for getting through it all in spite of anxiety.

The mammogram center had moved to a new office and actually had a radiologist there to read the results while I waited, and the results were normal. My mind did its usual "what ifs" but I did feel a flash of relief.

The colonoscopy prep was not how I would like to spend a day, but it also wasn't awful, and it is encouraging that I can deal with something uncomfortable. There was a small benign polyp but not the cause of my anemia. I am in that borderland of being old enough that the gastroenterologist wanted to "make sure" even as he reassured me that nothing was probably wrong at the initial consult in November.

Medical screening and testing stirs up my health anxiety, and I am learning to accept that, and keep going. I did not do any web research. I did see my therapist when my anxiety was high in September, as I wrote about in a previous post. I am learning to expect the surge in anxiety and not launch int ruminating about why it is back, why the OCD anxiety shows up. This defuses my panic, and my "oh no!" response.