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Author Topic: Help with not seeking urgent medical attention. (Some TMI)  (Read 416 times)

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Offline AndromedaWay

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Help with not seeking urgent medical attention. (Some TMI)
« on: January 26, 2013, 05:07:54 PM »
Hello all,

Background: 26 year old female, UK, with chronic OCD/HA, diagnosed for eight years, have tried multiple medications and therapies to little effect. Currently in a really bad patch and trying to cope.

Problem: Rectal bleeding, repeated.

I first had rectal bleeding about three years ago, during a time when I was deeply avoiding medical contact so I ignored it. It's always the same type of bleeding; bright coloured, copious, on the toilet and paper, not apparently in the stool. So, haemorrhoid, most likely - it seems to fit that type of bleeding in the many descriptions I've read. Since the first time, there have been two or three other times separated by several months.

Last November, it happened again. As I'm now back in the medical fold, I mentioned it to my GP who said it was likely a haemorrhoid and to leave be.

It happened again a couple of weeks later, and then again after a few days. Talk to GP again, who suggests a colonoscopy to put my mind at ease, but stresses she doesn't think it's essential and if I don't have any further incidents of bleeding I can cancel it.

I didn't have any further bleeding (about six weeks) until tonight. Same type of bleeding. I feel desperately upset and terrified and for some reason my usual self-calming methods aren't helping. I had a really vicious anxiety attack earlier this week and had had a crackdown on checking and the like, but now this has happened and blown everything apart.

There is a 24-hour GP at our local hospital and I'm desperate to go and get it checked, but I know there's not much point. They might not be able to see the haemorrhoid with a basic exam (I think? If that's wrong please correct!) so I'm as well waiting for the colonoscopy appointment, which is in three weeks. I'm aware to wait is probably the right call.

Oh but my stupid mind! I'm getting "what if"-ed into oblivion here. WHAT IF I resist going on this one occasion, and it is something, and this is the time I actually should have gone? WHAT IF I wait for the colonoscopy, there is something, and then get told three weeks would have made a huge amount of difference to my prognosis?

I keep thinking maybe they would identify some kind of warning sign, admit me, and do a colonoscopy in a couple of days rather than three weeks, and that that time difference might be imperative. What if, what if, what if.

I desperately don't want to go, but I know if I will end up going if I can't get some handle on these thoughts. Even if that just means they look, say nothing is there (well, not without a colonoscopy) and send me home, I'd be able to handle it better knowing I'd tried - but if I did that for everything, I'd pretty much have to camp out at a doctor's office. 

Any suggestions on resisting the urge?

Thank you!
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Offline ejmommy

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Re: Help with not seeking urgent medical attention. (Some TMI)
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2013, 09:56:21 PM »
I know the waiting is very hard (been there!), but it doesn't sound like your doctor is concerned about it, so you should try to relax a bit. It sounds like classic hemorrhoid symptoms. Also, it's been happening for years so I'm sure you would know by now if it was something serious.

Even if you went tonight and they told you they thought hemorrhoid, it wouldn't make you feel any better. It didn't help when the doctor told you.

You really just need to do your best to wait for the definitive test. I think that is the only thing that is going to give you peace of mind at this point because you are having a hard time accepting anything else. Three weeks seems like a long time, but it will be here before you know it. Good luck!
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Offline it is well

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Re: Help with not seeking urgent medical attention. (Some TMI)
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2013, 10:20:26 PM »
oh, i agree with ejmommy.

make plans for yourself for the next hours...minutes.  live alongside the "what ifs" until they pass.  i know this so well.

if there was really something very wrong you would know it.

i've been living with stomach twinges of pain for the last 2 weeks and i've forced myself to stop googling symptoms (because they all lead to potential death anyway).  i have to trust that if it was really bad, it would get worse, worse, worse.

you sound like you have a good sense of what is going on with your body and mind.

peace to you.
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Offline Hohum

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Re: Help with not seeking urgent medical attention. (Some TMI)
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2013, 10:47:55 PM »
I wonder - is your GP aware of your health anxiety? Given your age and symptoms it sounds absolutely like a haemorrhoid or a fissure to me. She may think that scheduling a colonoscopy will put your mind at ease, but it's a band-aid and not a solution. It'll give you reassurance (which we all crave as anxiety-sufferers) but what about when the next thing comes around? And sadly as much as we like to think there won't be, there's always a "next thing" until the anxiety is fought head-on.

It sounds as though you've suffered with your anxiety for a long time and have tried several avenues without success. I have lived with HA for over 20 years now and have found the best coping mechanisms to be the ones I discovered on my own. It sounds as though the medication route did not work for you - I am personally not a fan anyway, but it works for some people. Therapy can give us the tools to fight anxiety, but it's up to us to find ways to use those tools for our own benefit.

Fighting anxiety is an ongoing battle which requires effort on our part every single day. You have to remain absolutely committed to it, as much as you possibly can. If you run to the Doctor for every ache and pain, it needs to stop. If you Google every symptom on a daily basis and convince yourself that you have cancer or some other terrible condition, it needs to stop. There are good days, and there are bad days, but it does get easier over time.

So rather than asking "What If?", ask yourself - where is the line drawn? The ONLY person keeping this vicious circle going is you. How much more do you endure before you say enough is enough and start really and truly committing to finding the ways to deal with your health anxiety? The "what if?" questions never end. You will never have an answer, because there is no answer. There is only what is, and what is not - "what if?" is irrelevant.

My advice to you would be, make today the day you take a stand against your health anxiety. I really think you can do it - good luck!
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Offline mollyfin

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Re: Help with not seeking urgent medical attention. (Some TMI)
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2013, 07:53:30 AM »
There is no need to go to your ER for this.  Just try and keep yourself distracted until the urge passes.  And remember, the doc is there 24 hours, right?  So what difference does it make if you don't go RIGHT NOW?  Wait a while.  Do some other things.  Try and relax.  See how you feel later.

FWIW though you're right in that it likely won't accomplish anything.  Hemorrhoids for the most part just have to go away on their own.  They're not always visible upon exam.  So if you're planning on keeping your appointment in a few weeks you should probably just wait until then.
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Offline marc

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Re: Help with not seeking urgent medical attention. (Some TMI)
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2013, 08:42:40 AM »
I had a similar situation happen to me when I was 25, which was quite sometime ago. I went to the bathroom
and when I got up, the whole toilet was blood red and when I wiped, the toilet paper was filled with blood.
I had an immediate meltdown and thought I was doomed. I went to the ER and they examined me and could not
find anymore blood. The next business day, I called my GP who said that I should get a flexible sigmoidoscopy.
I called a colorectal surgeon, who performed it on me and said I had a large hemorrhoid. He explained it to me that
when the stool passed it hit the hemorrhoid which caused it to bleed. My current GI physician has said to me that
unexplained rectal bleeding should be thoroughly investigated.
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Offline AndromedaWay

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Re: Help with not seeking urgent medical attention. (Some TMI)
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2013, 06:49:50 AM »
I'm so sorry it's taken me this long to say this: I didn't actually see the post on the night (it was waiting to be approved and in the end I just logged off) but there's some really, really great advice here and I'm so thankful to those who took the time to respond! Even reading it the day after helped.

As it is, I was unsuccessful in resisting the urge to go and see the GP. I don't know why I keep failing like this; I had a handle on it for so long, but about six months ago I had a massive trigger, and although it came back all fine after tests... I just haven't been the same since. I'm trying to claw myself back to where I was. The GP was very reassuring, and I saw my own GP on Monday and it's just a 'wait and see' kind of deal. I hate that, but I'm at least doing better with acknowledging it.

 
I wonder - is your GP aware of your health anxiety? Given your age and symptoms it sounds absolutely like a haemorrhoid or a fissure to me. She may think that scheduling a colonoscopy will put your mind at ease, but it's a band-aid and not a solution. It'll give you reassurance (which we all crave as anxiety-sufferers) but what about when the next thing comes around? And sadly as much as we like to think there won't be, there's always a "next thing" until the anxiety is fought head-on.

It sounds as though you've suffered with your anxiety for a long time and have tried several avenues without success. I have lived with HA for over 20 years now and have found the best coping mechanisms to be the ones I discovered on my own. It sounds as though the medication route did not work for you - I am personally not a fan anyway, but it works for some people. Therapy can give us the tools to fight anxiety, but it's up to us to find ways to use those tools for our own benefit.

Fighting anxiety is an ongoing battle which requires effort on our part every single day. You have to remain absolutely committed to it, as much as you possibly can. If you run to the Doctor for every ache and pain, it needs to stop. If you Google every symptom on a daily basis and convince yourself that you have cancer or some other terrible condition, it needs to stop. There are good days, and there are bad days, but it does get easier over time.

So rather than asking "What If?", ask yourself - where is the line drawn? The ONLY person keeping this vicious circle going is you. How much more do you endure before you say enough is enough and start really and truly committing to finding the ways to deal with your health anxiety? The "what if?" questions never end. You will never have an answer, because there is no answer. There is only what is, and what is not - "what if?" is irrelevant.

My advice to you would be, make today the day you take a stand against your health anxiety. I really think you can do it - good luck!

I'm quite disciplined about what I talk to my GP about and I learnt a long time ago not to Google. The issue I have is with specific triggers, basically: stuff I can't be imagining. Things like aches/pains I worry and fret about, but rarely consult a doctor. It's stuff like bleeding or things that aren't refutable that mess with my internal coping systems. 

My GP does know about my OCD/HA, and she's brilliant with it. She's actually referred me for a second opinion and maybe to have some tests done if they see necessary; I don't know where I plucked the whole "going for a colonoscopy for sure" idea from! I think I just made a connection like bleeding + referral = surely colonoscopy?

I think the major issue I have is that I did fight my anxiety, and I won. For like, two years. I still had massive internal issues but I was able to lead a functioning life, no stuff-my-mind-made-up doctor visits, I even got over my pathological hatred for any kind of medical testing and allowed lots of blood tests and nerve tests (real conditions, though!). Then last summer it all fell apart and took every coping strategy I had with it. I'm finding it really, really difficult to start over and build up that resistance again.

There's some great stuff in here that will definitely help in future. Thanks so much everyone, genuinely.
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