A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Weight Loss Wednesday: Fear of the unknown at the doctor’s office

on August 13, 2014

Yesterday, I had my annual exam at my doctor’s office and I have to confess you guys that I was reluctant to go. As someone who has already experienced health complications related to my weight, I have this fear of finding out what is next. I know I’m not the only one who experiences this – anxiety about knowing the results of medical test that makes you want to put off the testing. Logically, I know that’s ridiculous. If I have a medical problem, not knowing about it won’t make it go away. Not knowing about it will actually likely make it worse as it goes undiagnosed and therefore untreated. Still, I was reluctant to undergo the testing that might tell me that my high blood pressure is back or that I have tipped over the edge of the insulin resistance curve into diabetes or worse, both.

Blood pressure was 118/78 - good considering how nervous I was!

Blood pressure was 118/78 – good considering how nervous I was!

Don’t worry, I went. My blood pressure is still fine without medication and I reminded her that I need to be screened for diabetes given my family history, my high fasting glucose even after weight loss and my personal history of gestational diabetes. I’ll go on Friday to get my lab work done like a good girl because if I have diabetes, I need to know and start treatment before it progresses to the point that I have symptoms. So many of the health problems related to obesity and my prior poor lifestyle are asymptomatic, like high blood pressure (hypertension), cholesterol or triglyceride disorders and diabetes. This makes it so important to seek out the screening to get treatment early if you need it and means we have to brave enough to face that fear.

So, if you’re like me and reluctant to go to the doctor for the screenings you know you should be getting, how do you get over that hurdle?

Tell someone else you need to go. This does a couple of things. A) You’ve got a layer of accountability now because someone else knows you’re supposed to go. B) If your fears are realized and you do end up with a new medical diagnosis, you’ve got built in support because someone out there already knows you were going to get tested and will be waiting to hear how things went.

Honestly assess your worst case scenario and what you’d do about it. In my case, the worst case scenario would be that my high blood pressure was back and my blood sugar was high enough that I was officially diabetic, despite all I’ve done to change my diet, weight and activity levels. In the grand scheme of life, that really isn’t that bad. I would make further tweaks to my eating, I would need more check ups and blood work and I would possibly need to start medication again. All of those things aren’t ideal of course, but the alternative would be not knowing and letting things progress until I had further complications. When you have an honest conversation with yourself (or with whoever you’ve talked to about going in) about the pros and cons of the screening and the best/worst case scenarios, you’ll be able to make some plans for the various outcomes and feel a lot more in control of the events at hand.

My husband insisted I ask about my freaky cold hands and feet since I lost weight, so that was on my list along with the screening issues.

My husband insisted I ask about my freaky cold hands and feet since I lost weight, so that was on my list along with the screening issues.

Make a list of all of the things you need to talk to the doctor about. It’s so easy for your nerves to get to you and forget to ask something important! I sat in the waiting room before I went in and wrote down the issues I needed to address. In the past, I’ve gotten so worried about what my blood pressure would be that I ended up forgetting other things I needed to check into and had to call back later!

Think about bringing someone with you. They can be helpful moral support and having an extra set of ears to hear all the doctor has to say and to be sure you’ve asked everything is always a nice safeguard.

For some reason, testing for things that are a result of my weight make me particularly reluctant and uncomfortable. I’ve never had a health care provider make me feel as if my medical problems were my own fault because of my weight and yet I always felt a sense of guilt and shame because I believed that. It is so much more complicated than that, so if you find yourself getting in the same mental places please don’t do that to yourself. Take care of yourself.

Anybody else “afraid of the doctor” even though we’re all old enough we should be over that? O has a well child check today and he’s excited about it, not nervous, but I suspect that’s because a) I’ve told him there will be no “owies” and b) he’ll get a sticker. Why don’t adults get stickers? I totally feel like I deserve a sticker for volunteering to get the bloodwork I need!

 

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7 responses to “Weight Loss Wednesday: Fear of the unknown at the doctor’s office

  1. Angela says:

    I’m not a fan of blood draws and my aunt once gave me the advice to ask the nurse to praise me for doing a good job when I’m done having blood taken. I did once freak out a student nurse who was sure I was going to faint or scream or something when I told her I’d like her to tell me I did a good job afterward, but generally it is a nice reward at the end. I also have been known to call my mom afterward and tell her what I just did so she’ll tell me that I did a good job. 🙂 But stickers would be even better!

  2. I’m not really afraid of the doctor I just hate going. Sometimes I feel like they waste my time. I’ve had it happen too many times where I am sick as a dog and they are just like oh it’ll go away. I just want to be like you went to school to tell me that? The least you could do is write me a prescription to help some. Gah! lol Off topic much? Anyways, annual exams aren’t fun but I am a would rather know person vs fearful of the doctor.

    • I’m a “I’d rather know” person for everything but weight related things. Just a weird hang up I guess, which is funny given how much I prod my family members into going to get their screenings!

      On Wed, Aug 13, 2014 at 5:34 PM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

      >

  3. leannenalani says:

    I don’t usually mind going to the doctor except for the times when my husband tells me I should go when I complain about little things like, “oh, I had pain in my foot when I worked out today but it went away” and other silly things. One time I got a major bruise from snowboarding and he was worried I’d end up with a blood clot (weird, right?) so he told me to see the doc and of course she looked at me like I was an alien. Or the time I kept getting sick over and over and over again. Doctors just treat me like I’m a hypochondriac so I prefer never to go unless my husband prods me enough.

    • That stinks – no one should be treated like their concerns aren’t serious. Sigh. If you rearranged your time to get there, you should at least be treated with respect.

      On Fri, Aug 15, 2014 at 11:32 AM, A Little More Each Day wrote:

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