A few week ago, my friend Miriam Hendeles wrote me about her episode of spotting. I asked her to tell us her happy ending. I wanted to post a contrasting ending to my story of endometrial cancer. Take it away, Miriam, and thanks!
So some background. I’m a worrier. I constantly worry about this and that. Health. Relationships. Finances. World politics. You name it. Because of my worry, I sometimes hover over my adult kids. Most times I don’t, so that’s good.
That’s me hovering. See? (only sometimes!)
Anyway, regarding the regular worries: Whether it’s a concern about a relapse of my past foot problems, or anxiety about one of my sons not being reachable across the country for about an hour more than expected, or something random going on with one of my grandchildren, or something I think I said wrong to someone, I worry.
And when I worry, I vent to my husband (and my friend(s) and my mother and my sisters) about my concerns.
My husband (and sometimes the others) listens to my rationale for the worry, and tells me all his reasons why I have no need to worry. But I don’t believe him. He tries to convince me — when it’s a health related worry – that I should let the “poor doctor do his job and worry.” But I still don’t listen. He even uses humor and teases me about it but aside from getting me to chuckle, it doesn’t work.
He reminds me to have faith and be positive. He’s right.
Yes, it can get pretty intense, I admit. I need to chill. I guess I have a lot of room for growth in the faith department. I need to work on that. Which is what this post is about.
Last week, I had cause to worry about something regarding my health.
For the past several years, since entering middle age, my body has been transitioning. This time of transitioning, known as Menopause, is supposed to be a Biggie. For me, it hasn’t been much of a big deal. I have had none of the horror experiences that others (including my mother when she was my age) had such as hot flashes and night sweats.
Yes, I’ve been kind of moody and anxious. But aren’t I always? (see above intro to this post). Yes, I’ve kind of sort of been having sleep issues. But that could be attributed to my drinking tons of water during the day so of course I get up myriad times during the night. And I always (mostly) fall asleep. Right?
So based on my doctor’s assessment all these years (again, I lost count), I’m slowly and gradually transitioning into menopause. Whatever that means, because as I just explained, I have none of the real symptoms.
None of bad and horrible menopausal symptoms that all of the blogs that I read talk about.
So back to what happened last week.
I found blood. A drop. A bit. A really itty bitty amount. But still it was blood. And I was scared. I knew the rule that if you find blood “post” menopause, it’s “cause for concern.” Doesn’t mean it’s bad. Doesn’t mean it’s cancer G-d forbid. But it has to be checked.
So I did the responsible thing and went to see my doctor. And yes, I worried before the appointment and even while seeing him.
He didn’t seem concerned, but took a blood test to determine where I was in menopause. And told me his hypothesis of why I was bleeding and that he wasn’t concerned.
But me being, well, me, I still worried. After taking the blood test, I went to my car and called my husband and basically told him that I don’t believe my doctor. That he’s just placating me.
Looking back and typing this, I’m realizing how neurotic the behavior was, but since I have decided to tell you this entire (TMI) story, I will.
So I went home, and waited for the doc to call me the next day, which he did. I was driving into my office at work, (funny the things we remember) when my cell phone rang. It was my doctor, telling me that I’ve got “lots of estrogen floating around” in my uterus, which in layman’s language means I’m in Peri-menopause. Surprise. Surprise. He then told me that he was even less concerned because once one has estrogen, then bleeding is more common.
Ahh. Got it. He told me to come back the following week, after the July 4th weekend and he’d do an ultrasound. He put me through to the secretary, Janet (yeah, we’re on first name basis these days) who gave me an appointment for the following Tuesday.
All I could think of was how in the world would I survive the five day wait till the appointment?!?
I googled everything to do with my situation and then called my husband, declaring all kinds of morbid thoughts aloud to him.
I was nervous. I googled some more and more and more.
Did you know that these days according to Google, we all are dying? Well that’s the case with me. True story.
Anyway, I don’t know how I survived that day, Thursday. But I did. And Friday. Saturday. Sunday. Monday. Lots of prayer. Lots of ruminating of what if. Oh no. Nerves. On and on. More prayer.
I emailed and message my friend Barbara Younger, who has had a lot of experience with post-menopause stuff. She was very encouraging and kind.
Finally, Tuesday. I went to the doctor. He came in. Examined me. Did an ultrasound.
Thank G-d. “Miriam, you’re fine. No fibroids. No growths. All is well.” Deep breath!”
I thanked G-d for my health. But wondering: how I can avoid all that worry in the future? Most of the time (according to Barbara Younger, 7 out of 8 cases of post-menopausal bleeding are not the Big C….but still. We worry (speaking for myself here, huh?)
So Note to Self for future:
- a) put a limit or cap on how much to go onto Google. Maybe one time per day for 10 minutes (it’s too much to ask us nervous folks to avoid it altogether, I would think).
- b) call one friend to vent but make sure it’s a realistic friend who won’t make you more nervous.
- c) keep busy for the time you are waiting for Heaven’s Sake!!
- d) have faith in G-d that He will take good care of you no matter what.
- e) don’t read commentaries and analyses into what the doctor says. Take him at face value. If he says you’re probably okay, then you will.
- f) always, always appreciate and take care of your health.
- g) Have faith…and oh! it may even help to try some music therapy!
Oh – one more thing I want to say: I hope all the above wasn’t too much TMI. Was it? (Just checking…)
Miriam Hendeles, MT-BC is a mom of adult sons, grandmother of an adorable bunch of little boys and a music therapist who works in hospice care. During her spare time, Miriam blogs at Bubby Joys and Oys about the joys and oys (Yiddish for challenges) of being a Bubby and mother-in-law. Miriam also has a website for her posts about being a mother-in-law and some cool advice for struggling mothers-in-law. Miriam lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Hayim who is a terrific grandfather! (“Poppy!”)