Sunday, July 19, 2015

Getting A Handle on Things.

I never like getting certified mail. From past experience the only good thing that I've ever got that way was a passport. Usually it's some demand that the sender isn't going to let you ignore.

I got a certified letter just a couple of days before my marathon. From my doctor. And I knew immediately that it had something to do with the results of the Pap test that I'd had over a month before. And I was right.

The only saving grace to this letter were the words 'non urgent'.

There are plenty of reasons that you might get a letter like this. The first sample might have been flawed. There may have been blood in it or infection or not enough cells. The sample may have been misplaced or the slide broken. There may be cell abnormalities relating to inflammation. A recall letter does not necessarily mean that you have cervical cancer. But of course it's hard to not think that when you get a letter by registered mail.

Of course I didn't want to have to try and squeeze in an appointment in the only day that I had before the marathon but I did want to know if I was going to have to do a repeat test because there's no point in scheduling an appointment for a repeat test while it's that time of the month. So I rang the receptionist and asked if I was going to have to have a repeat test and she said that I would but that there was no urgency. So I decided that I wasn't going to waste any energy worrying about it when I had bigger fish to fry. So I shoved it to the back of my brain to deal with at another time.

Doing that was like trying to sweep a small pile of manure under a rug. Most of the time I could ignore that it was there but occasionally a waft of something unpleasant would come seeping out to remind me that I hadn't actually dealt with it yet.

Well today I dealt with it. I'd made the appointment last week after telling a friend that I had to. So I'd feel accountable. I had to wait a while to see the doctor and I tried to placate my over-active imagination with a game of sudoku - which I couldn't finish because my brain was elsewhere.

When I was finally called in, the doctor asked why I was there and when I told her that I'd gotten a certified letter about my results she pulled them up and found ...

Nothing! The results were perfect. But the medical centre had recently had a computer upgrade and there had been a few glitches.

Not a particularly exciting or funny story but it's another lesson on worrying for a worry wart. Most of the time the things we worry about never happen. And if they do worrying didn't stop them from happening so it's a complete waste of time and energy.

I'm a little bit proud of myself that I did manage to control any anxiety about it most of the time and certainly didn't let it overwhelm me like I might have in the past. Maybe I'm finally getting a handle on my anxiety.


  1. Well, glad that was nothing! Although I personally do not bother with the pap smear. It has a high false negative rate in addition to a high false positive rate, and I have no risk factors. I hope your doctor gave you a sucker or something for troubling you to make an appointment!

  2. Oh, I am so glad for you that it turned out to be nothing! I actually had the same experience two years ago this fall, and it turned out to be "something", but my doctor is keeping an eye on it (i.e. frequent pap smears - yay) and thankfully it has recently cleared up on its own, as she hoped. But it is so scary when you get that letter, I know how it feels. Good on you for keeping your anxiety in check.

  3. That same thing has happened to me but I put on a turn and nagged the nurse until she told me on the phone. I'm a terribly anxious person when it comes to medical results and I always think the worst. Glad it was nothing at all :)

  4. The doctor wrote the words 'non urgent'.twice in that letter. Glad it was nothing!

  5. Awesome that it turned out to be nothing, and good on you for not getting crazy about it. Michael had a "false positive" of sorts last year with some tests and we were on pins and needles until we got the good news. Glad you're okay.

  6. How incredibly frustrating! I can't remember the last time I got a certified letter. One from the doctor would certainly freak me out but I'm pretty sure mine would ring with any bad / big news. She's very sweet.

  7. Thank goodness everything is OK!!!! But what an odd letter LOL!!!

  8. They should have let you know that when you called. Registered mail for something like that IS worrying for even someone who isn't a worry wart. You are amazing to not have ripped them a new one!

  9. I would have been so anxious. Medical things can really send me. You did well to keep it in the background.

  10. Oh I got one of those once ... can't remember if they marked the call-back non-urgent, but it was where you have the pre-cancerous changes and I needed a biopsy as well? Everything was okay. And then more recently, I needed some growths taken out after some yucky symptoms, as I wrote about on my blog, but that was in my uterus. I knew they were most likely benign, but you still worry until you get the all-clear. So hard not to let the anxiety go into overdrive. I think you did really well x


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