When a Blood Test Becomes a Trust Test
“We now know that when we focus on dysfunction, we risk enforcing that dysfunction: if we focus on deficiency and pain, we are likely to get better at deficiency and pain. Similarly, when we focus primarily on an individual’s past, we build skills at reflecting on the past, sometimes making personal history seem more important than present experience.”–Healing Developmental Trauma, Dr. Laurence Heller
Making Personal History MORE Important than Present Experience
The last place I wanted to be on Monday was the doctor’s office, especially a gastrointestinal doctor’s office. Yet, I found myself, once again, sitting in the familiar space of Dr. Lawson’s examination room. The previous week, I went for my routine three-month blood work and it indicated a problem with my red blood cells, possible chronic anemia, which points to possible “hidden” internal bleeding. Protocol is a colonoscopy + endoscopy + iron IV infusion.
“You haven’t been here since 2015,” smiled the receptionist.
“I’m aware,” I smiled back. “I’ve been under the care of UVA Medical since then.”
Within minutes, I was summoned back to the examination room, where I answered the normal questions and then waited.
The next fifteen minutes or so felt like an eternity. Triggering all over the place, I started shaking inside and tearing up on the outside. All I could hear was one sentence: I hope you don’t end up like this…with this bag.”
My mother’s voice. Sadly, this time last year, she found herself in the fight of her life, which also meant I was in the fight of my life. Our mother-daughter relationship is what you would call, “enmeshed,” or “too close for comfort.”
The boundary lines of our relationship blurred for decades. Decades. It came naturally, as I am the baby of the family, a good 7 and 8 years behind my siblings, and it came as a result of my father’s alcoholism + ensuing repercussions of that disease. But, I have been working very hard to clarify those boundary lines and develop a healthy, happy relationship with my mother.
Cue the “one sentence” that I couldn’t shake in that examination room.
Last summer my mother almost died. Several times, actually. Yet, she lived. She is one strong woman. Doctors all said she wouldn’t survive the serious surgery required, but she did. As a result, she was left without her large colon and part of her small, and had to live with an ostemy bag.
It is the bane of her “present experience,” and there are days when I know she would rather not be here. Watching her live through this has been the bane of my “present experience,” and caused tremendous sadness and grief. I hate seeing the end of her life be so hard. It has also made the future stare me in the face. Watching her age makes me very aware of my own aging.
Focusing on the Dysfunction Risks Enforcing the Dysfunction
I knew I had a choice to make. As Viktor Frankl says, “Between the stimulus and the response, there is a space,” and I always add, “a sacred space.” I had to NOT focus on the dysfunction of my thought process, i.e., my mother’s present reality is NOT my present reality, and focus on MY present reality, which is just a little hiccup in my bloodstream.
Because I know Dr. Lawson so well, I trust him. He diagnosed my Achalasia (2014) and led me to brilliant medical care. I know he is trustworthy. When he walked in the room, I might have had a small emotional meltdown (smile), and he let me.
“Therapists are always fun,” he laughed. “Now listen, come down from the ceiling and put your feet on the ground floor. You’ve always had anemia, so this is probably just that, but we have to be sure. I don’t suspect anything more, but I have to be sure. Figure out why you aren’t absorbing iron.”
Cue next fearful thought process: My mother is on hospice due to “mal-absorption.”
Right then and there, inside my very overactive amygdala, I closed my eyes, prayed, and activated the powerful healing tool of Aroma Freedom RESET. While Dr. Lawson typed, called in his surgical scheduler, and wrapped up his notes, I practiced what I preached.
When You Know Better, You Do Better
Every single day, I help others overcome.
In that doctor’s office, I had to overcome.
It isn’t easy, but it is a choice.
I can choose to make my personal history MORE IMPORTANT than my present reality OR I can choose to believe what I know to be true: With God’s help, I overcome all obstacles in my path and as a result, I experience life to the fullest.
Taking Joy in Our Present Experience
Today is Freedom Friday, and I hope my words somehow bring you HOPE and HEALING and offer you STRENGTH to overcome any and all obstacles that were placed in your path this week.
We’ve got this.
How can I be so certain? Because we serve a trustworthy God who loves us more than anything. Yes:
- Blood tests will become trust tests.
- People will let us down.
- Words will hurt us.
- Voices will try to stall our forward motion.
- Dysfunction will demand our attention.
Yet, we come down from the ceiling and put our feet on the ground.
That is what we do.
For MORE emotional strength training, please listen to my podcast, Speak Healing Words. Every word comes straight from my heart with intention to strengthen yours.
Have a blessed weekend. I’m heading to my happy place, the OBX, and am definitely planning on having a really relaxing, fun “present experience.”