I've been thinking a lot lately about what makes me feel anxious. I've realized that every time I go to the doctor, I am afraid that I will get bad news... anticipatory anxiety is keeping me from really taking care of myself as well as I could. I don't know if it is because I have a chronic illness that I feel this way, but every time a doctor does any kind of lab work or testing procedure, I fear the worst, even though I have no evidence that the worst should be what to expect.
I was listening to Patrick Swayze's interview last night and I heard him say that people spend a lot of time "chasing down" how to live, as they worry about the future and how much time they have to live, rather than actually living. I cried for a long time after I watched that interview. He is so right. Anxiety about what's coming in the future really keeps us from living in the present. In my case, it's keeping me from taking care of myself. Even though I see my GI doctor regularly, the truth is that I haven't kept up with my other checkups. My visit to the gynecologist in October came only out of guilt--I haven't had a checkup there in 5 years out of dislike for the whole process and fear of results. I pretend that as long as I have no symptoms, nothing can be wrong with me and I can just keep going... ironic for someone who has a chronic illness, right? But I worry constantly that something will happen to me. It keeps me from doing things that I want to do... fear of the unknown is overwhelming to me at times.
The truth is that I do not do well with being honest about being a person with a chronic illness. No one at my workplace even knows that I have Crohn's. I choose not to talk about it because I want to seem "normal". But unfortunately, that extends to taking as little sick time as possible to go to doctor's appointments. My supervisor is not an unsympathetic person at all; she is very flexible. But I don't like being a burden to other people by taking time off, and it gives me an excuse not to keep up with my checkups so I don't have to confront my fear. By being the person at work who is "never sick" (ironic, right?) and not taking lots of time off, I appear to be dependable and capable. But on the inside, I am crumbling apart because of the real reason why I don't keep up with my checkups. I am scared of dying. I don't want to find out that something could really be wrong with me. I live with this fear every day and now it has caught up with me. I have to go for that stupid pap test follow-up on Monday, and though I know the odds are that it will be fine, still the fear is with me that anything is possible, bad or good. And I have to have a colonoscopy this year and dread it. Why can't my stupid body just be okay? Better yet, why not my mind?
Dx Crohn's Disease 1996
Have taken Prednisone, Pentasa, Rowasa, and Asacol
Currently on Asacol 2400 mg daily to manage remission