“The results will take two weeks,” my doctor told me. “But you’ll only hear from me about it if something is wrong.” As she explained this, I got the sense it should be a relief for me to hear this – that as long as I didn’t hear from her, my pap test was fine and I had nothing to worry about – but all it did was freak me out more than I already was (see my pre-doctor’s visit anxiety).
What if “two weeks” isn’t exact? What if it sometimes takes two weeks and a day? Or two weeks and two days? Or, worse, what if my test got lost but my doctor didn’t notice because it’s only when the results come through that she’s reminded of me and that I’m waiting to not hear from her? (A doctor whom I picked because she looked friendly in her picture and she turned out to be exactly that friendly, so I’m holding on tight to the notion that she doesn’t actually suck.)
The point is, even when the two-week mark came and went, I refused to let my guard down. Because in that anxious state, I was at least prepared for the worst. What if I let the worry go only to find out something was horribly wrong? How would I handle it? For a mind like mine, being surprised by bad news is worse than my active (prepared) worry coming true.
Fortunately, this is all water under the bridge as it’s been six weeks since the test and I haven’t heard a thing.
Well, that’s not exactly true.
No word on the pap test, but it turns out my cholesterol is a little high so the doctor said to cut back on red meat (no problem, as I haven’t had it in years) and cheese (a big problem, as I eat it every day in great quantities). But considering all of the horrible things I was worried about being wrong with me, I’m pleasantly surprised to learn the worst of it is cheese.
This should prove (for the thousandth time) that the things I worry about hurting me rarely happen and, in fact, it’s the worry itself that usually ends up hurting me the most. But worry plays tricks on you. It wants you to think it’s like that burn you get when you’re exercising. That it might hurt, but it’s good for you. With the help of my worry journal, I will continue to remind myself that it’s just not true.