Saturday 29 August 2009

A Phobia Put To Bed

For over 30 years I have nurtured a phobia to needles. I mention it to folks and they'd say "Yeah, I don't like them either" or "I just close my eyes". I'm not talking DISLIKING needles, I'm talking PHOBIA.
Twenty three years ago when Mark and I got our marriage license, you needed a blood test. It took 3 nurses, Mark and drugs to hold me down - and I really wanted to get married!!
Over the years I've fainted, had full blown panic attacks, crawled off the back of dentist chairs, cried, screamed but most usually just avoided the things like the plague. My doctors have suggested counselling, but I didn't want to be 'brain washed' into getting needles (yes, I know that makes no sense).

This spring I found out that there were some things in my life that I was more scared of then needles - like cancer.
During some routine testing for a small health concern I had last winter (Bless the Canadian Health Care system!) they found that I was very anemic and that I had a large mass in my liver.
Instantly things kicked into high gear. Many doctor appointments, ultrasounds, blood tests and CT scans (involving IVs) followed. I cried and hyperventilated my way through most of them.
Then I decided enough was enough - it was time to give up this ridiculous fear. So I did. Just like that. It is amazing what you can do when your motivation is high!

Last month I practically skipped home from the hospital after sitting up, drug free (my doctor used to give me cool little white pills to help take the 'edge off' before a blood test), and tearless for a blood test.

Yesterday I had to go in for a series of scans. It involved drawing blood, making it radioactive (cool eh?), re-injecting it into me and then scanning and x-raying as they tracked it through my body.
The tech poked my left arm over 6 times trying to find a vein. Months ago that would have turned me into a puddle on the floor.
I sat through it all without even flinching (BTW - the nurse apologized PROFUSELY and the second one found a vein in my right arm on the first try).

I can't decide whether to wear long sleeves for the next few days so I don't look like a junkie - or wear short sleeves to show off those needle marks off as badges of pride!

Oh, and as for the whole 'health scare' thing - don't worry, I'm fine. There is no cancer (and they have looked everywhere to be sure. There will be a bit of surgery down the road, but it's all under control) and thanks to getting my phobia and anemia under control, I actually feel mentally and physically better then I have in years!!

In fact, I'm thinking of donating blood sometime down the road - I've always wanted to do that!



Helen Thorgalsen said...

You are awesome and such an inspiration in facing those things we fear the most.

Huskymom said...

Great news on both fronts--conquering the anemia and the needle phobia. Have a fantastic season!

The Joyners said...

You go girl! We're proud of you for facing your fears! And thinking of giving blood- AWESOME!!!

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear the health "scare" may now just be a health "concern" Now if I could just conquer that snake phobia!

Beth G said...

You just continue to amaze me! You are a true inspiration. THANK YOU!!!

Unknown said...

Congratulations, Karen, for overcoming your fears! Maybe someday you'll help me overcome my fear of running a large team of dogs =)

granimar said...

Karen, I have a son, who has fought that fear for over 45 years and I understand how very real it is. How wonderful for you that you have taken charge of it---truely an awesome accomplishment.

Susan Sterling said...

FAntastic Karen.....thanks for sharing.

Theresa Przybylski said...

Pretty scary stuff! I'm so glad all is well.

Summit the Super Mal said...

Glad to hear you are "C" free and finding out what's going on...AND championing your way to a new tolerance for the evil blood draw. Next time ask for a "butterfly" in your hand. Feels like a mosquito bite. I "talk" through mine...usually about the dogs. It doesn't hurt any more than the dreaded "claw" if I do that.
Shelly in Iowa (who would dearly love it if they could start an IV in only six tries...haven't been so lucky finding the right "team" to do "that")
Best wishes that you get good care and those issues get resolved soon.

Summit the Super Mal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andi Louise said...

YES KAREN! donate blood, please! Coming from somebody who works in emergency services, blood is needed more than you think. I do it routinely, it's not so bad.

ElizabethMC said...

Way to go Karen! Love that take charge attitude! I have a problem with needles - but I have found that if I don't look at them, then they are not a problem.

Louise Cooke said...

Oh i have the exact same phobia! I've got used to having needles over the years but don't like it. As for drawing blood, absolutely not, no way, they tried once and I threw up and passed out so they gave up lol! Then I HAD to have blood taken last year to get my Permenant residency, it was either that or get thrown out the country so it had to be done. I was so scared, but the nurse was so nice, and once she did it, I was like, 'is that it?'! Then I kept my elastoplast on all day and kept showing Rob so he could tell me how brave I was LOL!