I’ve grown.  You only need to look at the events of the past week to see how.

First, let’s start with my mild emetophobia (fear of throwing up).  The last time I violently emptied the contents of my stomach was at 15 years old after getting food poisoning from a bad burger at my high school.  I was so viciously ill – not to mention seriously grossed out about the epically foul patty – that I didn’t touch ground beef at all until about 2005.  And for whatever reason, the powers that be smiled down on me and decided I’d had enough and I didn’t toss my cookies ever again…until Tuesday. 

Normally, Mr. Upchuck is preceded by minutes or even hours of nausea and sweating, and for me, thick swallowing, crying, digging toes into the carpet, whining, panicking, palpitations and praying that either it will happen RIGHT NOW or never.  Bless those powers that be though for making this unpleasant event occur without warning.  Granted, this created a much bigger mess that I was then forced to clean while my insides continued to clean out with the help of 4 liters of sodium bicarbonate prescribed so that I could endure what is known in the gastrointestinal world as a “double whammy” — an endoscopy and colonoscopy.  Fun stuff, let me tell ya.  But hey.  At least I wasn’t sitting in a puddle of fear waiting for the inevitable.

Anyways, sparing you all the gory details, is it pathetic that I’m actually proud of myself for making it through?  I threw up, so what?  It happened and now I don’t have to worry about it anymore.  I had a good streak going there for 16 years…maybe I can go another 16.

Secondly, I had to undergo the afore-mentioned invasive procedures as part of routine maintenance for a suspected mild case of Crohn’s Disease.  If you’re not really sure what it is, don’t worry.  I’m not 100% sure either, except that it involves swelling in the colon and can cause narrowing of the intestines and can be really painful, embarrassing and make you feel very abnormal in the abdominal region.  I’ve probably been living with this (or IBS or IBD or all three, or colitis or a number of other issues) for years but this time around we’re hoping for a definitive diagnosis. 

I’d previously had two colonoscopies and one endoscopy as well as an MRI, several blood tests, and even a test in which I had to drink something weird and blow into a machine every fifteen minutes.  So this wasn’t all that scary for me…except the part where I had to drink the massive jug of metallic salty-tasting solution designed to shrink your stomach to the size of a pea, give you a supreme case of the shivers and keep you on the toilet till midnight.  I was so dang nervous about drinking that stuff because it makes me gag and dry heave…but not at all concerned about getting knocked out or about what they might find.  I’m mostly okay with needles, so the IV was a cinch (except for the part where they couldn’t find a vein, but what else is new).  Nope, it was the drinking that I was afraid of…that and the fact that during my last colonoscopy 4 or so years ago, I just so happened to wake up during the procedure.  (shiver)  But I requested that my doctor give me extra anesthesia this time so I was out like a light, and even once I woke I continued to act so drugged that I asked Greg the same question no less than four times in the space of about ten minutes.  Hilarity! 

So, for drinking MOST of the 4-liter jug of sodium bicarbonate and living through the yucky gastrointestinal procedures, I must pat myself on the back again.  I faced these challenges with dignity, tissues jammed up my nostrils so I couldn’t taste the putrid liquid, and my favorite fuzzy bathrobe, and only whimpered and moaned a few hundred times.  I was a champ.

Now, while awaiting my -oscopies, the hospital was running seriously behind.  I was told to check in at 9:30 am, so we left the house at 8 (hey, rush hour traffic on LA’s infamous 405 South is nothing to scoff at), got to the hospital by 9 and proceeded to wait…and wait…and wait some more.  I was not called back till about noon, when my initial appointment was scheduled for 10:30 am.  I had hoped to be leaving the hospital for home by noon.  So besides proving that waiting is the worst part of any medical test, a new fear sprouted in my mind.  Our dog Brody was at home alone with full run of the living room, dining area and kitchen for the longest time since he’d eaten an eighth of his weight in dog food just two weeks after he was adopted.  Since the incident that dragged us to the animal emergency room on Valentine’s Day 2010, Brody had been crated.  And my four or five replacement pairs of shoes had been happy.

However, lately we’ve been leaving Brody for up to 3 or 4 hours uncrated as an experiment.  With nothing out of place, we figured leaving him for the morning would be fine.  What we didn’t expect was that we’d be getting home 6 hours later. 

All signs point to Brody having slept all day, so feeling oddly confident, I suggested leaving Brody uncrated for seven hours while we were both at work on Friday.  This was completely out of character.  For the past two years, I’ve been the worrywort.  I always knew that at some point I’d be ready to leave him out of his “house” (partially because he was destroying every last towel we put in there) but I didn’t know I’d be ready now. 

So that’s the third thing I’m proud of this week.  Plus, I’m very proud of Brody for being a good boy and not touching a thing!  My shoes and I profoundly thank him.

As a side note, I apologize for being a bit too busy these days to write or to accomplish any crazy fears, but as you can see, I’m still working on my anxieties…even the little ones.  So I hope you’ll continue to support me on my journey!

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