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Thread: Help on staying calm while awaiting medical investigations and tests

  1. #1

    Help on staying calm while awaiting medical investigations and tests

    Hi all,

    I hope you are all well. I'm really struggling at the minute and would appreciate some advice. For the past 2 weeks I have become really unwell. It started off with painful stomach cramps and eventually progressed to a full blown gastric illness with severe pain and I've also lost over half a stone in weight. I eventually went to the hospital because my pain was so bad and was admitted for a couple of nights. They ruled out any gynaecological conditions and I am now awaiting a CT scan and urgent colonoscopy to be performed. My consultant thinks I may have inflammatory bowel disease such as Chrons or colitis but he obviously won't make a diagnosis or confirm anything until I've had these tests done. I'm panicking about bowel cancer because I've also got some black stools and rectal bleeding.

    Needless to say I have been absolutely frantic and so anxious during this whole episode. I suffer a lot with health anxiety so for me this is actually my worst fear come true that I have become ill, as this has actually happened to me now. I am crying pretty much all day long and I am having huge spikes in anxiety which I think makes my overall gastro symptoms worse. Just being in hospital is enough to make me so anxious as I have a horrendous fear of being in hospital as a patient. It is much worse at the minute as due to covid rules no visitors are allowed in hospital so whenever I've had to go I've been on my own and my husband has not been allowed to come in with me or visit.

    At first when all this started I was spending around 8 hours a day doing compulsions such as googling, ruminating, asking for reassurance etc. I have now got to a stage where I have managed to stop most of these compulsions, and the main thing that remains is the physical anxiety/panic as well as low mood. I am back home now and I am awaiting my GP to call me today and I'm going to discuss what can be done about my mental health while I'm waiting for these tests as well as how best to manage my symptoms in the meantime. But I think I would appreciate any advice from others who have gone through something similar and how they have kept their anxiety and worry at bay.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    7,226

    Re: Help on staying calm while awaiting medical investigations and tests

    Firstly welcome to NMP ! I honestly think you've done really well to move away from the compulsions to search and research for answers under very very stressful circumstances. As you already know, as you've made that mental jump yourself, nothing except the scan and eyes of a highly trained medical expert will give you the answers you so desperately need. Waiting for tests and procedures, particularly when you have worrying symptoms, is psychologically terrifically hard. Be easy on yourself, it is understandable that you will have fear, panic and tears. In the past I have waited for results from a very different physical problem, for a number of weeks, and it was the hardest few weeks I've ever encountered. I will say this to you - ground yourself as much as you can in planning future events, do mindfulness or meditation, throw yourself into any job you feel you can do, distract yourself (even if your mind is whirring at the same time) and spend quality time with those around you. Fill your time with anything 'productive' , as no amount of fear or thinking will change anything about the scan or the result. I know, I know, its so so hard and I do feel for you to be in this position, but all you can do is get through this time - AND - trust that IF your worst imaginings were to come to light (and I'm not saying that they will, because clearly at this point the consulant has a leaning towards something like ulcerative colitis !) then the medics will treat you and your life will still move onwards. I was wondering if your GP had called you already as you said they were calling today ?
    Last edited by Carys; 22-12-21 at 18:03.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Posts
    1,460

    Re: Help on staying calm while awaiting medical investigations and tests

    I'm in the same boat and it's so so so hard. I try to distract myself as much as possible with mindless stuff like scrolling tiktok or watching TV. I've also been drinking a lot of tea for comfort, going to sleep early, and trying to get out of bed first thing because the morning is my most anxious time. Staying in bed only makes it worse.

    I hope you get your results soon and it's something you can easily treat!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    15,466

    Re: Help on staying calm while awaiting medical investigations and tests

    Quote Originally Posted by Carys View Post
    Firstly welcome to NMP ! I honestly think you've done really well to move away from the compulsions to search and research for answers under very very stressful circumstances. As you already know, as you've made that mental jump yourself, nothing except the scan and eyes of a highly trained medical expert will give you the answers you so desperately need. Waiting for tests and procedures, particularly when you have worrying symptoms, is psychologically terrifically hard. Be easy on yourself, it is understandable that you will have fear, panic and tears. I have waited for results from a very different phsyical problem for a number of weeks, which I'm not going to elaborate on, and it was the hardest few weeks I've ever encountered. I will say this to you - ground yourself as much as you can in planning future events, do mindfulness or meditation, throw yourself into any job you feel you can do, distract yourself (even if your mind is whirring at the same time) and spend quality time with those around you. Fill your time with anything 'productive' , as no amount of fear or thinking will change anything about the scan or the result. I know, I know, its so so hard and I do feel for you to be in this position, but all you can do is get through this time - AND - trust that IF your worst imaginings were to come to light (and I'm not saying that they will, because clearly at this point the consulant has a leaning towards something like ulcerative colitis !) then the medics will treat you and your life will still move onwards. I was wondering if your GP had called you already as you said they were calling today ?

    This is the very best advice from Carys and I also agree that you have done so well to stop all the googling/reassurance seeking because your doctor is the only one who can give you the answers you desperately need. Distracting yourself when you are so anxious and physically ill is very challenging but maybe your GP can chase up the CT/colonoscopy? When you have a date at least you will feel as if things are progressing. I presume you will be on the 2 week pathway anyway for tests?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    388

    Re: Help on staying calm while awaiting medical investigations and tests

    I also just wanted to say you are doing a great job re dealing with your health anxiety. Please don't give yourself such a hard time. Hospitals are stressful for everyone and you are smashing it!! good luck with the test results, and remember the doctors are doing the tests to rule out IBD and they have not once mentioned cancer.

  6. #6

    Re: Help on staying calm while awaiting medical investigations and tests

    I found this blog which offers some really helpful advice on easing scan and appointment anxiety. It's written for people with cancer but the tips are generic to any kind of hospital check up. I hope it helps https://www.percihealth.com/articles...ancer-patients

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