Warding Off the Fear of the Unknown After Diagnosis
Fear is one of the most paralyzing feelings we can encounter. It forces us to make certain decisions, whether we want to or not. It feeds on our emotions, hoping we will crumble.
There are many reasons why someone might be experiencing fear, but for me, it was prompted by the unknown.
I belong to an online support group for people with pituitary tumors. Every day, I read posts by people who have just learned of their diagnoses, and how it makes them feel. I immediately empathize with them because I know what those initial feelings are like. They can be difficult to identify and process.
For me, as time passed, I began to better understand what had led to my own fear.
At first, there was relief
Relief was the first feeling I remember having after I was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease. The day I was notified about my pituitary tumor, I was at work. The call came in from my primary care physician, who told me the news of a mass on my pituitary gland.
Initially, I was relieved that the root of my ongoing health issues had been identified. But then it hit me, and my mind started racing.
I took time away from the office to see my wife and notify her of the findings. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, anxiety crept in on me. My heart felt like it was pounding in my eardrums, I broke out in a sweat, and my stomach felt like it was constantly turning. My mind immediately leaped to the worst-case scenario. I briefly pulled myself together, but when I saw my wife, I couldn’t hold back the tears.
Then, there was fear
The same day I told my wife about the test results, I heard about a patient who was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor and had a craniotomy. There were complications. After I heard the story, fear completely consumed me.
My mind and mouth said, “OK, what do we have to do to fix this?” But another part of me shut down as fear started to take control.
I was already dealing with the symptoms of Cushing’s, but adding anxiety to the mix made it almost unbearable at times. It was the first time in my life that I had to face genuine fear. My focus on the unknown was based entirely on anticipating a bad outcome. I decided I needed to make choice: Would I fold, or would I fight?
The word “fear” can be broken down into an acronym for various things. After choosing how I would proceed, I decided to turn “fear” into my own acronym. First, I would fight until I couldn’t fight any longer. Next, education about the diagnosis and what to expect was important. Then, I would adapt to the new life ahead, as I knew it would never be the same. Finally, I decided to be resilient.
So, the next time you are facing a situation in which fear wants to enter your life, remember that it hasn’t been given the authority or the permission. We decide whether or not to allow it in.
Until we meet again, keep thriving.
Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.