Thursday, August 05, 2004

a friend in need

One of my best friends called me yesterday afternoon. We hadn't spoken or e-mailed since I got back from my trip to DC and I figured she was calling to find out how that all went. And sure enough, that was the first thing she asked about. I explained to her that we had discovered the source of the problem, that my blood tests came back within normal range and that we now seem to have two options as how to proceed. As soon as I mentioned that we had a few more tests to do, one of which is the HSG to make sure my tubes are clear for takeoff, she interrupted me.

"What was that thing you had a few years back?"

"The bleeding?"

"No the other thing."

"The cysts?"

"Yeah, that. I have that."

And I suddenly realized that she was calling from work and knew perfectly well that I had had cysts, but couldn't say it aloud on the phone, fearing that someone would overhear her.

"Can you hear me?" she whispered. "I went to the doctor and he told me I have five cysts."

The word "cysts" was barely audible.

"He did an ultrasound and saw them. Have you heard of P-C-O-S?"

"PCOS?" I asked, pronouncing it as one word- peekos.

"Yeah. I looked it up online and there were pictures of fat bearded ladies all over the place."

"Well, not all women who have PCOS have those symptoms. And I have a hard time believing that your doctor could diagnosis you with just an ultrasound. Are your periods regular?"

"Yeah."

"Did he say anything about blood tests?"

"Yeah, I have to have my F-H. . "

"FSH, TSH, LH, Estrio. . ."

"Wait, wait, what was that last one?"

"Estriodol and Prolactin. Those were the ones I had."

"Okay, okay, I'm writing that down."

"Did he tell you to do the FSH on day three of your cycle?"

"No!! Wait, why? What is that exactly?"

"Well, let's say the first day of your period, the first day you see red blood, is a Monday. Wednesday would be day three. And that's when you should go in for the blood test. But make sure to ask your doctor, okay?"

And suddenly the conversation escalated. My poor friend was terrified that she had she wasn't ovulating, that she had PCOS, that she was going to be diabetic by 40, that she had a tumor on her pituary gland.

"Look, my cysts went away on their own after a couple of cycles," I tried to sound reassuring. "And most women have cysts at some point and many don't even know it. Often, they don't even cause any problems."

I read to her from "Taking Charge of your Fertility". I read to her from "Our Bodies, Ourselves". I promised to send her more information about cysts and PCOS. I assured her that having a tumor on her pitituary gland was not likely. But still she continued to panic.

This friend happens to be good at panicking. Years ago, having slept with one man, one time, with a condom, she took an HIV test and convinced herself during the waiting period that she was going to die of AIDS. Right after September 11, around the time of the anthrax scares, she was stockpiling Cipro and wouldn't take the subway to work. This past winter, she called certain that she was dying of a kidney infection, when in fact, she had just pulled a muscle in her back. I have mor examples, but you get the idea.

And while I put on my best social worker voice during our phone conversation and tried to give her the best information I have, I was feeling frustrated with her level of anxiety, the panic in her voice.

When my husband came home and I told him what happened, he reminded me how panicked I had been a few years ago when I first found out that I had cysts. He reminded me that just a few weeks ago, waiting for the results of my own blood test, I had been sure that I had PCOS. How easy it is to forget our own anxiety, our own crazy obsessions.

And the thing is, this friend is a great friend to me, to everyone. When I first told her about not being able to get pregnant, she asked all the right questions, she listened, she was supportive and kind. And I know that mutual friends of ours are going through rough times, have been through rough times and she was right there with them, holding their hands if they needed it, cheering them on if that was what was called for, being a true friend to them, just as she has been to me.

Before my friend and I got off the phone, I told her to call me if she had any more questions or if she just wanted to talk. She apologized for monopolizing the conversation and I told her the truth, that it was a relief not to talk about my own infertility for once and while I hoped that everything was fine with her, I was happy to listen to her worry aloud. I told her to call her doctor and discuss her fears with him. And she promised to do that. Promised that she would try to relax.

I got an e-mail from her this morning thanking me for being there, for giving her good information and advice. And she had already called the doctor, was planning a trip out of town this weekend to help her relax. "You're the best," she wrote. And all I could think was, "Isn't that what friends are for?"

3 Comments:

Blogger spiller said...

You exemplify what friends are for.

Tou are my template for ideal friendship, actually, and I dont't know how you do it- it's a gift.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Instead of immediately forking over large amounts of money for over-the-counter drugs, go to the kitchen cupboard and see what you can find to relieve your symptoms including social anxiety disorder.

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A simple hot compress applied to the face is very soothing to those throbbing aches and pains of a blocked sinus, while a few drops of eucalyptus oil on a handkerchief can provide welcome relief for similar conditions. While supplements of vitamin C, D and zinc will shorten the lifespan of a common cold, a hot lemon drink is also extremely good. And be sure to cuddle-up in bed when you have a cold, as it will make the body sweat out the germs.

Cool lemon juice and honey are a great soother for a sore throat and gives the body much-needed vitamin C at the same time The juice of one lemon in a glass of water is sufficient. Melt the honey in a little hot water for ease of mixing.

A smear of Vaseline or petroleum jelly will do wonders for those sore lips and nose that often accompany a cold.

A 'streaming cold' where the nose and eyes water profusely, can respond to drinking onion water. Simply dip a slice of onion into a glass of hot water for two seconds, then sip the cooled water throughout the day. Half an onion on the bedside table also alleviates cold symptoms because its odor is inhaled while you sleep.

People prone to catarrh may find that chewing the buds from a pine or larch throughout the day will clear up their condition in just a few days.

Do you suffer from sore eyes? If your eyes are sore from lengthy exposure to the sun, try beating the white of an egg and then spread it over a cloth and bandage the eyes with it. Leave the preparation on overnight. Soft cheese (quark) is also a good remedy for this condition.

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social anxiety disorder

7:23 PM  
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4:34 PM  

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