The spark plug for writing today was reaching a very personal summit. The climb started at base camp when I mid life decided to quit my six figure job, be more present for my teen daughter, and start back to school to do something more than make money. Initial I wanted to be a counselor, but then headed toward being a radiology technologist - ultimately a mammographer.
On my first clinical site visit, I watch a steroid injection being given under imaging guidance - and promptly fainted. It was a long held phobia - shots, needles, pokes, injections - the very words could turn my mind to a racing jungle of panic vines. The most maddening part was that I wanted to progress in my program. I'd mastered getting a 4.0 on my pre-recs, I was selected as first alternate to get into a high competitive field, I attended class every day before being official enrolled until the day one person in the class transferred to the ultrasound program and I was in. For all the work being turned back by a phobia wasn't an option.
My life has been scripted to put this fear in my face and make me deal with it.
I received daily injection from my husband as we attempted IVF years prior to re-entering school. My inner voice during this was that of a prisoner of war being tortured without logic. I'd scream, cry, run, feel faint, but in the end get through it. In a clinical setting I couldn't let the savage emotionally beast show and then the betrayal of my body in fainting when I tried to bottle it up. I turned to hypnotherapy to deal with my phobia. It didn't take away the phobia rather it felt like putting a piece of glass between me and THE fear.
Watching injections was base camp. Mastered - thought I was done. But then actually touching a syringe and drawing up lidocaine for trays. More mind adjustment. Then having my own blood draws to check my own health, an IV placed for a surgery, discovering I needed frequent phlebotomies to reduce my high hemochromatosis iron levels, having a needle aspiration without lidocaine, starting weekly injections of methotrexate to control not having emesis with the pill form, having every five week infusions (translated that crazy needle stay in your arm for four hours)....each step of the way adjusting my mind a little bit more closer to the prickly phobia monster - the glass gets closer and thinner.
Then the world made a big shift for me this morning. Normally, I use an auto injector device for giving myself the MTX. During the prep, it is like setting up a tray and then the syringe is put inside the device so it is then hidden when placed against the skin and the button pressed. Today I filled the syringe and had the momentary thought how much time loading it in the devise was taking and just put it in my skin. Slowly the plunger went down, out, done! Hit the summit. No glass between me and the monster. I instead found the monster just plain wasn't there. I've broken out of the the shell that has contained my life.
Looking back it feels like, "what was the big deal?" I want to yell from the mountain top to all those with phobias that it doesn't just get better, but there is a day that you are free.
I've been attempting not to blog as much as read others blogs more. My world during illness gets very egocentric and claustrophobic. I really want to break out of this lifestyle and figure what I can do. Time to break some more shells and make myself a fat cat omelette to celebrate letting go of fears and gaining freedom.