Fear of Going to the Doctor

Yes, I am a medical student aspiring to be a physician. However, I still get nervous and have some fears when I need to see a doctor concerning my endometriosis.

Today I had my follow up appointment for an ultrasound I had done last week for pain I have recently been having on my left side. As I sat in the waiting room, I was anxious and my heart was racing. I had to tell myself to calm down so my blood pressure reading wouldn’t be high. Being back in a waiting room after 8 months brought back all the fears and thoughts about worse case scenarios and the struggles I have faced in the past. While I am now lucky to have a doctor that knows my medical history well and understands my illness, it is still hard to forget about the last 10 years of appointments, countless doctors, and endless treatments. The worries I had running through my mind today were numerous: Do I have another cyst? Is the endometriosis growing back? Will my doctor believe that I am having pain only 8 short months post-op? Will I need another surgery? Do I need more bloodwork or additional tests? Why am I having this pain? Is there a solution to this pain?

The pain I have been having on my left side over the last couple of months is not excruciating pain, but it is definitely there. Most times it feels achy and as if there is a heaviness in my lower left abdomen. Occasionally though the pain is sharp and takes my breath away. Despite my initial concerns about a recurrent cyst on my left ovary, my ultrasound was clean. Well, as clean as it can be – there was no evidence of a new cyst. My doctor explained again how endometriosis growth cannot be seen on ultrasound, and when I asked him if it’s possible my endometriosis is already growing back his short answer was yes. Yes, the endometriosis could be regrowing or very small growths that were previously present and not visible during surgery could be bigger now months later. There are many possibilities. Ambiguity in endometriosis is common. There never seems to be a definitive answer or a straightforward solution. My doctor is well aware of this and quite supportive, which is comforting. He understands that it is a constant battle and assured me that if the pain gets worse or I have any other worries that I can always contact him and get a repeat ultrasound.

Overall, I did get good news today. But I still don’t know how I feel about getting good news. Yes, it is a relief that my ultrasound was normal, but with endometriosis and persistent pain, I almost hoped they would have told me something was wrong. I want to be able to pinpoint what is going on, put a name to the pain I am feeling, and fix it then and there. Unfortunately, endometriosis does not usually work like this. Sometimes it’s just ‘normal endometriosis pain’, which can be hard to accept. For now, I am thankful for the good news and will continue to monitor my symptoms as I wait to see when my next appointment will be.

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