Does Waiting for Test Results Become More Stressful Over Time?

Does Waiting for Test Results Become More Stressful Over Time?

Living & Loving with Prostate Cancer

I went to my doctor a few weeks ago complaining of pain on my right side. He thought it was a hematoma. He told me to use a heating pad twice a day. He wrote out a prescription for me to have a sonogram, which he said he'd place in my file. I was to call his office for the referral in two months if the pain didn't go away.

Because of a mistake in his office, I received my referral for a sonogram in two weeks rather than two months. You have to have faith to understand what I'm about to share. Before I could tell them the referral was a mistake, I heard from the Holy Spirit. It was made clear to me this was God's way of overruling the delay and that I needed to get a sonogram now. So, I made the appointment for a sonogram. My sonogram was on a Monday. I was told my doctor would receive the results by Wednesday. I expected to hear from him by Friday. As I waited for the results, I asked my wife about an issue I found troubling. With all the waiting for test results we've been through over the past six years, I asked her if waiting for test results became easier or more difficult over time? Without hesitation, she said, “Much more difficult.” I breathed a sigh of relief because I wasn't alone. Waiting for test results is significantly more stressful for me now than it was before I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It's obvious to both of us that we are not getting better at waiting as we
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Rick Redner received his master’s degree in social work from Michigan State University. He has spent many years working as a medical and psychiatric social worker He is the author of the award winning book I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours? His second book Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Erectile Dysfunction and Penile Implants won the Beverly Hills International Book Awards in Men's Health in 2016. Additionally, the book was a winner in the 2017 IAN Book of the Year Awards.

5 comments

  1. Wayne English says:

    Not long after my prostatectomy I was given an appointment to an X-ray clinic for a bone scan. I was somewhat concerned but I went, and after the appointment the technician pulled me aside and told to immediately contact my doctor for an appointment and wouldn’t tell me what the problem was. This was at 4:00 pm on a Friday, I then had to worry all weekend with the thought that my cancer had spread to my bones. When I did talk to my doctor the next week she told me I had two compressed vertebrae and the technician was concerned. Boy was I happy to have a screwed up back, but I did a lot of unnecessary sweating and worrying all weekend.

    • Rick Redner says:

      Fear of a potentially life threatening diagnosis will cause anxiety and/or fear. Since most cancer survivors worry about a reoccurance or spread of cancer, we have shorter triggers than the general population. Glad your scare didn’t become a reality!

  2. Jerry Grimes says:

    Looking at a possible recurrence, watching the PSA every two or three months is like torture. It’s not waiting between a blood draw and the results. It’s waiting over the longer term. And it’s worse every time.

    My only real strategy is distraction, attempting to occupy myself with work, hobbies, or even reaching out to other survivors.

  3. Robet kempton says:

    I am waiting for my biopsy . I had blood work and saw the result online a week before my next Dr opt . My mss had gone from 1.85 to 6.66 in 4 months .waitti g for the Dr apt and now waiting for the biopsy and then waiting for the results is brutal .I lost 11 lbs in one week , not hungry could sleep .just waiting in the Dr office I waste sweating my blood pressure was the highest it ever been .I have had other surgery . But the thought of cancer has me so stressed .

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