out of the way, fear

The past two weeks have been unexpectedly stressful. Early on, I visited the doctor for a very overdue physical. While he examined me and ordered a battery of standard tests, I finally took the opportunity to also get tested for a particular health concern I’d been worried about for years. Until that day, fear had always prevented me from getting checked. Fear that the truth might be horrible. Fear of what that could mean for my life. After all, I hadn’t exactly made the wisest choices when it came to my health. And there had been certain symptoms that were potential indicators.

So I got tested. The days passed. I tried to focus on other things. It wasn’t that hard, really. Life goes on and so forth, right? Plus there have been very good, exciting things happening right now. Manuscript progress. Production company progress. Meetings with new people. I’m really thrilled and surprised by it all. But as I drew closer to my follow-up appointment, I was reminded more and more of the step I’d taken. If something was wrong, there would be no more chances to pretend otherwise. God. I looked back on all my crappy decisions with regret.

Finally, the day came, and I no longer had any idea how I ought to feel. Hopeful? Pessimistic? Blasé? What did it matter, really? The results were the results, regardless of how I faced it.

Bless my doctor. He wasted no time and began with those results. First he said it, then he showed me. I was in the clear. All negative. It wasn’t until then that I realized the enormity of the anxiety and doom I’d wrapped myself in.

It’s been a revelatory experience, feeding not just the storyteller in me (as most experiences do), but forcing me to reassess a lot of things in my life. In a good way. But the doctor wasn’t’ done with me. After running through the rest of the lab results (I’m in surprisingly great shape, given my appearance), he threw me a curveball with an unexpected diagnosis. And while it’s not nearly as serious as what could’ve been, it’s still a bit of a game-changer that demands some radical changes. I’d already been on the road to change, but now there’s a real necessity to pursue it a little more aggressively.

A co-worker told me to consider it a wake-up call and not something so negative. My mother agrees. They’re right, too, though it’s harder to apply that perspective than it is to agree with it. Despite all that, I’m incredibly lucky. What surprises me most, I guess, is that I actually feel lucky.

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