By Brandi Granett.
I’m beginning to reject Western Medicine. I read Louise Hay’s books. I study homeopathic bottles and herbs and tinctures. I take vitamins and supplements. I use a foam roller and try to meditate. Despite all these efforts, my hypothyroid still requires a prescription and mandatory blood testing. But I’ve learned to ignore my fears and tough it out.I kept up my tough girl façade even when the tech told me he needed ten vials of blood. And then spent ten minutes searching my arms for good veins. Finally, he returned to the first arm, tied it, and poked me. Only the blood wouldn’t flow. Fasting for over twelve hours, I grew faint, and he stopped when I couldn’t keep my head up.
They gave me some water and an ice pack. And after a few minutes, I said, “I’ll come back,” and then I bolted. After coffee and cranberry juice at the diner, my blood sugar levels return to normal, but my anxiety about what happened didn’t wane. “You’re just tired,” I told myself, “cut yourself a break.”
When I returned home I sent a pleading email to my doctor about splitting the blood draw into two sessions. Then after stewing for a few more minutes, the thought of returning to the lab filling me with stomach rolling dread, I sent her another email asking to hold off on the blood work for a little bit longer. Neither email quelled my anxiety and racing thoughts.
Instead of spiraling into fear and anxiety, I decided to try EFT where you tap on meridians of the body repeating phrases that acknowledge your discomfort and perhaps plant new positive affirmations in its place.
So I began the process of tapping about my fear, anxiety, and pain surrounding the blood draw. I moved through the traditional tapping points and acknowledged my experience. In the second round of tapping, an image from my teens came up for me. In this moment, I am in the hospital being tested for the genetic blood clotting disorder my family carries.
The test for this disorder consists first of the bleeding time test; they pierce your arm with a tiny razor and then count how many minutes it takes for your arm to stop bleeding. After 15 minutes, they establish that you have a clotting deficiency and give up. Then, you are hooked up to an IV and given the medicine known to treat the problem. This medicine, if given too fast or in too great a quantity, raises your blood pressure and makes your head feel like it will pop off–or at least it does to me. Then they repeat the bleeding time process to see if the medicine worked.
Luckily while growing up, I was a healthy kid; the only time I needed to go to the hospital was at thirteen for a broken finger. This trip to the hospital, with IVs and tests and the concept of a genetic disorder that could make it difficult to one day have children, scared me. I remember crying from the discomfort of the medicine and the fear of what this disorder meant. My father, a veteran to this, brushed off my crying, telling me I was just looking for attention. His words stung worse than the treatment.
As I tapped on my anxiety and fear about the recent failed blood drawn, I was brought straight back to the fear and hurt of that moment so many years ago. Instead of just ruminating on this memory, I found way to revise it. A wise tapping mentor, Joseph Anthony, taught me to revisit these memories and inject them with new dialogue or even a new supporting cast.
To revise this moment, I imagined myself standing up to my father telling him that he wasn’t being very supportive or kind, to remind him that I was really still a kid and new to all of this. In my revised memory, I thanked his sister, my aunt, who stayed with me throughout the process and later took me out for a new lipstick to cheer me up. I imagined my husband, who I didn’t even know yet, standing next me, his hand on my shoulder providing comfort and strength.
As I tapped through another round imaging my new scenario, my anxiety melted away. While revising my memories doesn’t change what happened, a new scene plays in my head now. I could see why I was so afraid before, but I can also see a way to be less afraid in the future. Toughing it out doesn’t have to be the only way.
Brandi Megan Granett (formerly Scollins-Mantha) is an author an online English professor. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University, Wales, an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College and a Masters in Adult Education with an emphasis on Distance Education from Penn State University. When she is not writing or teaching or mothering, she is honing her Olympic archery skills. William Morrow published her first novel, My Intended, in 2000. Her books, including the short story collection, Cars and Other Things That Get Around, can be found at: http://www.brandigranett.com/books