Thursday, March 11, 2010

Don't Panic! I'm Getting a Grip...

PET scan of a normal 20-year-old brain.Image via Wikipedia

I freaked out just a little bit today.

I got an unexpected call from my neurologist's office asking me to call back and schedule an appointment with the doctor so she could go over the results on my SPECT brain scan done yesterday. Now granted, I planned to call and schedule a follow-up appointment today as I was told my doctor would have the results by Friday, next week Monday the latest. But what is up with my doctor calling me? I always call them.

Then I got worried. Early results? Is that a bad thing? Did they find something?

Since I found myself already on the road, I decided to just go there. I went down the road of worry. I had myself a big, whopping catastrophizing session. I just let go and let every horrible thought about my scan results enter my mind. I allowed myself a few, short minutes to let all the worries out.

I won't freak you out with the details. But it worked. After my catastrophizing session, I found myself able to calm down and get refocused.

I reminded myself that it was my questions that prompted my doctor to order the SPECT scan. I wondered out loud at my last appointment if my brain was damaged from the chemotherapy I received 22 years ago. After all, I've been diagnosed with dysautonomia secondary to my cancer treatment. Plus I have fibromyalgia, a pain disorder thought to be linked to the brain's inability to process pain signals correctly. So she sent me for this scan that can tell her if my brain is damaged and where, based on brain blood flow.

Then I reminded myself of this article that I found when I researched what a SPECT scan was. Researchers in France found that persons living with fibromyalgia have abnormally increased blood flow in the part of the brain that processes pain intensity and abnormally low blood flow in the area of the brain that processes the emotional response to pain. The conclusion of the study stated that fibromyalgia may not be such an invisible illness after all.

So if there is something the radiologist found on my scan, chances are the results support the fact that I really do have fibromyalgia and it is all in my brain. This may not be a bad thing. It may be the validation and respect my real illness deserves.

So I'll let you know after my appointment, next Thursday, March 18. That's the earliest date I could get so Robert can come with me and provide support as needed. A week seems like a long time to wait. So until then, I'll be re-reading this post, taking deep breaths, focusing on positive thoughts and staying in the moment.

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