The Answer May Surprise You

I went to the podiatrist yesterday. But before that I spent the morning fixing a design for a shirt Derek and I will wear at the Transplant Games next month. It’s just a test to see if we like the place that’s making the shirts and to try out the design, it is not even remotely a big deal. But I submitted the design and it had a little problem I needed to fix. So I called to get clarification from the company and I internally flipped out. Massive spike of adrenaline, dry mouth, anxious gut, the whole deal. Because I needed to call a stranger.

The good part of this story is I was keenly aware of what was happening while it was happening. I couldn’t stop it, but I knew, despite all the signals my body was providing to the contrary, that I was not being chased by a deadly creature and that the fight or flight response waging a war inside my body was my anxiety physically manifest. Knowing is helpful, but it would be more helpful if I had a way of shutting that whole thing down.

I fixed the design, resubmitted and then waited for a response. Meanwhile, I had to drive less than a mile to the foot doctor. I would have walked but, my foot hurts (dur) and it was the 6th or 7th day of 90 degree weather. I would have arrived with not a dry stitch of clothing on my body. By the time I actually saw the doctor I was pretty worked up. I’d convinced myself that my toe or foot or both were broken, that I’d damaged it even further by continuing to walk and run on it and that she was going to tell me I’d be in a cast for weeks if not months. Wow.

She pressed on my foot until she pinpointed where the pain was, then she sent me down the hall to get an x-ray. Which was a huge relief for me because I was afraid I’d have to go somewhere else for an x-ray thus dragging this whole thing out even longer. After the x-ray in a closet, I walked back to the exam room with the nurse who then pulled up the x-ray on the computer and went to get the doctor. I flipped. It was worse than I thought. The x-ray looked bad, really bad. What were those floating circles near the ball of my foot? Why were my bones all crossed like that? What’s with the sharp angle of my big toe? Do I need to have emergency foot surgery?

When she walked in she saw the look on my face and kind of chuckled. “That looks bad.” I said.

“Actually, it looks perfectly normal to me. Let’s take a closer look.” And then she said, you’re fine, you’ve got some inflammation around one of your sesamoid bones (the circle things), nothing is broken, here is a pad to help when you’re walking and running and a prescription for an anti-inflammatory, I’ll see you in three weeks. Huh. Ok. Well. That was a whole lot of worrying for nothing.

I’m glad I went, she was very nice, I know now I can keep running and I won’t damage myself, it just might hurt a little. It’s amazing, despite all the proof life consistently serves up that worrying is not helpful, I still worry about things that don’t deserve the time or energy I give them. I will keep trying to train myself that worrying does not help. It won’t change the outcome of the situation, and in the meantime it will make me feel worse. Maybe if I keep writing it, someday it will stick.

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