This Christmas didn’t turn out quite the way I’d hoped it would. I thought 2014 would be the last time I had to wait for a biopsy diagnosis over the holidays.
That Christmas, I had stabbing pains when I talked and had been losing my voice. I’ll never forget the relief I felt when I got the call on Christmas Day that I didn’t have thyroid cancer.
This year, I was fighting symptoms that reminded me of the time I had Salmonella. But the tests for C. diff, food poisoning and parasites all came back negative.
My symptoms persisted and I couldn’t keep food down. At times I felt like I would collapse from weakness. The loud gurgling sounds in my stomach kept me up at night.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. ~ Isaiah 40:29
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint, heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony ~ Psalm 6:2
My symptoms felt like loud screams from my body telling me that something was majorly wrong and I just wanted to know what it was. My colonoscopy appointment was only a week after Christmas but it felt like too long to wait for answers.
Every time I convinced myself I was getting better, my symptoms made me question if I should go to the ER.
Google made all my symptoms point straight to colon cancer. Or Ulcerative Colitis. But none of the possibilities seemed very hopeful to me.
My mind was spiraling down with thoughts like scenes in a movie as I watched myself starve to death, live with an ostomy bag and make an appointment with my hairdresser to shave my head.
Cast all you anxiety on Him because He cares for you. ~ I Peter 5:7 NIV
It didn’t help that I had no way of communicating with the GI specialist as I wait for the results of the colonoscopy and biopsy. After the procedure, I was so happy to hear that I didn’t have any polyps and that it’s probably not cancer! They did find an ulcer which they are testing for Chron’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, and cancer.
And so now I wait for the results. But I can honestly say I feel God’s peace now.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! ~ Isaiah 26:3
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. ~Psalm 94:19
I’m not an expert. I don’t really have all the answers on the best way to wait for a test/diagnosis. But I could probably classify myself as an expert at thinking about the worst outcome for myself in any given situation.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~Matthew 6:34
But I feel much better after having the procedure and knowing that I will hopefully have answers soon.
If you are waiting for a diagnosis or a test, I feel for you. I hope to share some things I learned that will help comfort you as you wait for that test or diagnosis.
Tell God How you Feel
I tried hard to not think about the what-ifs and felt guilty for not being the model of a super-Christian who takes every thought captive and has an aura of faith exuding from every expression on my face.
But then a kind friend reminded me not to beat myself up for my feelings and just cry and let it out to God, instead of letting the enemy make me feel like I’m not a strong enough believer for being worried about my symptoms.
It’s scary when something is wrong with our health and we don’t know what it is. And it’s normal to feel scared in these kinds of situations. So stop beating yourself up and tell God all your worries and fears.
Ask Him to help you with your thoughts when they go to those dark places. Take them captive by recognizing each one—“Lord, help me to stop worrying that “name the exact thought” will happen and instead help my thoughts to be filled with your peace that surpasses all understanding.”
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5
Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!~Psalm 116:2 New Living Translation
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. ~John 14:1
Don’t Jump to the Worst Conclusion
Google can help us be informed about our symptoms and find out steps we can take to get better. It helped me learn how to eat better in order to calm my digestive system. But if you already suffer from anxiety, you will probably read the worst-case scenarios about your symptoms and doom yourself to a slow and painful death.
Instead, remind yourself that the worst-case scenario is probably unlikely. With the advancements in technology and medicine there are many conditions which are treatable with lifestyle modifications and medicine.
Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”~Isaiah 35:4
The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.~ Romans 8:6 NIV
Talk to a Friend Who Can Give you Perspective and Wisdom
I’m so thankful for my best friend. She stayed in contact with me daily to see how I was doing. She talked me down when I was overwhelmed with panic and anxiety and wanted to rush prematurely to the ER. She was genuinely concerned and helped me communicate my questions to my primary doctor. I found great comfort in knowing I could text her at any time and she was always there for me.
Be Your Own Advocate
You know your own body. Don’t be afraid to email your doctor and ask questions. I requested blood tests and an X-Ray that helped ease my mind as I waited for my appointment over the holidays.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7
Remember, God is Your Great Physician
I’m a planner and a researcher. I looked up the doctor performing my colonoscopy and found great comfort when I read he was the Chief of the GI Department—especially when I was reminded that my Grandma’s colon was perforated during her colonoscopy. But when I got to the hospital I heard a rush of nurses changing orders from my doctor to a different doctor.
Turns out, a new doctor from another facility would be doing my procedure. A doctor I knew nothing about. I fought back panic and tried to question my nurse whose matter-of-fact attitude made me feel like an annoyance.
But I knew I needed this procedure and had been painstakingly waiting over the holidays for it. So I signed the consent form, and as I did, I told God that He was in control. He was my physician.
And God took care of me.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. ~Psalm 46:1
Get Some Fresh Air and Look For the Sparrows
Maybe you can’t even take a walk. But maybe you could sit outside or look out a window from your home. It’s amazing what some fresh air and some praise music does for the soul. Fill your mind with verses to combat fear.
And if you see or hear a sparrow, remember that you too, are in God’s constant care. No matter what the results. He will never stop taking care of you
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside of your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows. ~ Matthew10: 29-31
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? ~Matthew 6:25-27
*A doctor called me a few days ago and I was so thankful to hear that although I have an ulcer and colitis (probably from an ongoing medication I was on) it is not cancer and is nothing as serious as Chrons Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.
Are you struggling with symptoms that are scaring you? Are you waiting for a test/diagnosis? Please share your prayer request below and take some time to write a prayer for someone else. I would love for you to share any tips to help others deal with anxiety as they wait for a diagnosis. Please share in the comments.