Today I went in for what I thought would be a routine doctor’s visit. I have never really been afraid of doctors, and leaving work early to go by myself didn’t even phase me. I am very, very pale skinned and have been told it’s pretty much a matter of when, not if, I’ll get skin cancer. That’s never really bothered me because I go every year, and it’s slow growing enough that going yearly should catch anything in plenty of time. I try not to think about that time, but today’s appointment ended with me having to get a biopsy.
By now, I’m sure you all know I have anxiety. As a child I acquired phobias like Pokemon cards, except unlike those outdated trading cards, my phobias are here to stay. My two biggest phobias are arachnaphobia and really anything involving needles or skin not being intact.
When I was waiting for the doctor, I noticed a new addition to the office- a stack of cards discussing post biopsy care. That’s when I realized it was only a matter of time before I would end up needing a biopsy and out rolled the anxiety train. I regretted not bringing someone and thought about calling my mom to come be with me. I was able to calm myself down enough by the time the doctor finally arrived. The first thing she said to me was “we haven’t had to do a biopsy on you yet” as if that was very abnormal.
After some searching, she circled a mole and said “that one we’ll need to take off.” At which point I started having a panic attack, and she looked at me like I was overreacting. Crying and hyperventilating in front of doctors is nothing new for me, but this time I felt really sef-conscious. Most say something along the lines of “oh anxiety is normal, we have all kinds of adults who get anxious about this and react in different ways” this doctor looked at me and said “You’re an adult. Someone must have done something to make you this way”
I warned her that I was going to pass out, that I always do any time a needle is involved and she said “you won’t pass out” ya, I guess you know more about my body then? Luckily she had enough sense to recline me and put a fan on me. The assistant was very nice and very receptive to me asking if I could hold her hand. She was fantastic and kept talking to me the whole time. I started feeling lightheaded and fuzzy halfway through, told them and then passed out. I woke up unable to move or talk, wide-eyed and covered in sweat. I’m pretty used to passing out by now, but it’s always startling to come-to after passing out.
The assistant gave me a sucker and stayed with me until I starting to regain my color and slowly got me to where I could stand. I got changed and texted my mom in the waiting room to come pick me up. She drove me home, but I still needed to get my car home from the doctors. I left my keys with my mom in all the chaos and had to wake my boyfriend up to get the door. When he answered I fell apart and tried my best to explain what happened through the tears. He picked me up and carried me to bed and told me to text my mom that he would be down to meet her in a moment. She drove him to pick my car up and then he went to the store to get me the bandaids and ointment I needed for my post-biopsy care.
I’ve spent most of the rest of the day sobbing and laughing (I nervous laugh when I get overwhelmed). It will take about two weeks to heal, and I need to change the bandaids regularly. I’m also terrified of bandaids- they rip off your skin/hair, and I’m afraid the scab will stick to the padding and be ripped off. Not to mention I’m horrified to even look at the bandage, let alone the actual spot. I managed to shower tonight and wrap it so it didn’t get wet like I was told. I’m dreading the next couple weeks, but am trying my hardest to not overthink this. This is going to become a part of my life now, and if I ever have kids (and I really want to have kids) I’m going to have to work through this because I’ll more than likely need a c-section.
I can’t help but be reminded of the time I had a large mole removed when I was ten that required surgery and stitches and how poorly I handled that. It took me years to feel comfortable having that area touch anything, and I still, over a decade later, get very uncomfortable if someone else even looks like they are going to touch it. I am not sure I’ve ever touched it. It is an area that brings me a lot of stress and I don’t want this to become like that at all. I can’t be afraid of my entire body.
I want to be able to go about my life like normal tomorrow, but I know that won’t happen. I am trying my hardest to overcome this, but it won’t be easy. Normally my depression and anxiety go hand in hand, but lately I have been lucky enough to have my depression at bay, but my anxiety has still been high. I am considering going back on the meds, but don’t want to risk the sexual side affects since things are finally going so well.
I think I am going to talk with my mom and partner about seeing someone again to discuss my options for anxiety meds. I cannot thank them enough for how selflessly they dropped everything to care for me today.