Needles and Tubes

Much of my day revolved around a needle and a tube. First came the needle, as the IV was inserted into my right arm. I am not at all a fan of needles, but who is? I always look away and close my eyes. My entire body from my teeth down to my toes tenses up. And even after the IV is finished and the worst is over with, I find myself unwilling to move my arm. A small paranoia inside me exists that tells me the needle will pull out of my arm.

Nonetheless, it was a rough day. I’ve had a headache since Monday that I assumed was a migraine, but when I woke up this morning with a scratchy throat and my ears aching, I begun to think it was a sinus headache instead. Having any kind of headache is miserable, but being unable to take any medication for the pain is even worse, as they did not allow me to have any kind of ibuprofen or aspirin for 3-5 days before having an upper endoscopy.

Oh, right. That’s what I had done today–an upper endoscopy, also known as an EGD. For months I have been having various tummy troubles that I first attributed to medication. Even after switching medications and finally dropping the muscle relaxers altogether, the issues still did not go away. I won’t go into my detail, but I will say that I easily went from one digestive extreme to the other in a matter of days. I have been plagued with nausea at least one to two times per week, gas, bloating, bad breath, and terrible stomach and lower back pains. An ultrasound a couple of months ago discovered an ovarian cyst that had been leaking fluid and causing a good deal of the abdominal and lower back pain. Even after that, I wasn’t satisfied with the pain and discomfort I was still feeling. My doctor sent me to a gastroenterologist, who not only added probiotics and fiber supplements to my list of medications, but also diagnosed me with IBS and sent me home with an appointment for an EGD.

Fast forward to today. As I lay in the hospital bed with a needle in my arm, anxiously awaiting the moment I would be wheeled out of the room and the anesthesia introduced into my body, I couldn’t help but think the whole thing was not necessary. This is not the first time over the past several weeks that the thought has crossed my mind. Doubt. Second guesses. Did I really need to put myself through anything else? Blood tests and a CT scan had not come up with anything truly relevant, but I was still uncomfortable. Even with this thought fresh in my mind, I still could not help myself from wondering what in the heck I was even doing there. The anxiety started kicking in and telling me that I was wasting everyone’s time…and my money, for that matter.

I realize now that it was better to be safe than sorry. To rule out any physical conditions. The EGD revealed that pretty much everything was normal except for a small hiatal hernia. I was assured that it was no big deal and unless it began to get larger, I would not require any surgery to correct it. My husband just recently had surgery to repair a hernia of a different kind and I could not help but flash back to all of that, and all of the discomfort he continues to experience as a result. Lo and behold, my premonitions were correct: there was nothing truly, physically wrong with me. And lo and behold, the doctor did mention that a lot of the stress and anxiety in my life was most likely to blame for the symptoms.

So, now what? Everything keeps pointing back to that one word: anxiety. The word that has been at the front of my mind for weeks. The word that I cannot seem to get away from. Every time I check my Pinterest feed, Facebook, Twitter, or some of the Christian blogs that I follow, I find that word or some mention to it. I come across Bible verses about worry, fear, and uncertainty. It’s almost as if God is trying to tell me something. But what could he possibly be telling me? I already know I have anxiety. After months of prayer, I am finally on medication. I pray for it to stop and thank God for helping me through particularly difficult bouts. What more could possibly be left unsaid?

As the weeks pass, I come closer and closer to my first appointment with a psychiatrist. Oftentimes, I find myself with the same second guesses and the same doubts. Is this really necessary? Do I really need therapy?

Seems like I still have lots of praying to do as well as lots of praise to God for bringing me through this difficult day. I prayed right before I went to sleep. He brought me through the procedure. And because of Him, there is nothing seriously wrong with me. For that, I am very thankful. It could always be much, much worse.

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