Different types of testing go along with any type of chronic or acute illness. From blood tests to MRI’s, I have gone through the ringer with testing. Every test comes with different emotions. Some tests are painful, like the different injections I had to get in my hip. Other tests are emotionally taxing, like a three hour MRI of your brain and spine. All testing comes at a price whether it be physical or emotional. The more you try to escape it, the worse your experience will be. Here’s how I deal with endless testing.
- Radical Acceptance
There will be tests that suck. Painful, traumatizing, and horrible tests will occur. Acceptance has gotten me through a lot of different types of not only examinations but scans of any kind. My spinal tap sticks out as one of the more easygoing experiences that I’ve had. That was only possible because of the amazing individuals performing the test. It wasn’t painless or pleasant but I focused on breathing and answering questions about my life. I got through it and that’s all that matters.
Breathing is key. Most of us breathe quickly when we’re nervous. This always exacerbates the pre existing issues I have. Recently, I had to have a bladder scan. The procedure itself is quick and easy. When they made me sit with a full bladder and wait for forty five minutes that was painful. I think that it’s the most cruel thing they could’ve done but that’s my anxiety talking. Either way, I focused on breathing. I took it one moment at a time. After what felt like forever, they called me back and in ten minutes it was over. I didn’t have a panic attack and life went along as planned.
- Asking Questions
When I first started going through all of this, I was scared to ask questions. The more I became comfortable with having procedures done, the more questions I asked. Some of the answers are hard to swallow. It’s not always good to hear what’s going to happen but most bring me comfort of some kind. Depending on how nervous I am, I ask them to explain everything as they go. Other times it’s easier to have them get it over with.
- Sitting with Uncertainty
Even if the procedure itself goes great, there is always a waiting period. That can be more brutal than the test itself. It’s important to learn to be comfortable with uncertainty. I have not mastered this. I have not even come close to being comfortable. Right now, I am waiting for my nerve biopsy results to come back. The wait time is 3-4 weeks and I’ve made it through almost a full week. Luckily, I have other things to focus on during that time but waiting is not my strong suit. The more I’ve dealt with it, the easier it gets. Every experience is different.
Testing is not easy. I’ve had every type of experience out there, at least it feels that way until I encounter something new. Depending on my mood or fears, some are easy to deal with and others aren’t. Allow everyone to have their own experience when sympathizing with someone going through testing. Don’t be judgemental. Don’t compare yourself. Everyone is different. Everyone will have a different perspective on their experience.