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#428510 - 03/20/13 11:42 AM reversing a trigger
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3509
Loc: somewhere in Africa
My wife insisted that I have a complete physical – inside and out, top to bottom (pun intended!) To be fair, she was having one, too. But she – though not enjoying medical exams and tests - does not get triggered by them and though sympathetic to my plight, was unrelenting in her determination. I have had some bad times with both dental and medical procedures. I was not looking forward to this. I’ve written about some of that before. I saw that a couple of posts on this topic just came up – and I totally understand that. But I don’t want this to be about the bad trigger experiences. This one is about something good that came out of it. My T says you have to be triggered to learn how to deal with them.

I had gotten through the prostate test OK – turned out they did it by ultrasound – YAY!!! And most of the other tests regular scheduled were finished – except for the colonoscopy. But I could get put under for that, fortunately. I wasn’t thrilled about the loss of consciousness and control - but thought I could endure it.

BUT - one of the tests showed that I had an irregular heartbeat – occasionally skipping beats. And I also have mitral valve prolapse – a valve that doesn’t close fully and allows a backwash of blood going the wrong way. I also have an artery that joins the heart at an odd angle – I was told I have a “kinky heart.” So they decided that in addition to the treadmill stress test I should also have an echocardiogram after it to see how it looked. They postponed that until the last. I was somewhat concerned but not worried about it.

I went into the small room not knowing what to expect. I was surprised to find that I had to lay on my side in just my undershorts, with my back to the technician, in a small, nearly-dark, closed room. The tech was a big guy who reminded me of Adam Rodriguez from CSI Miami. Not that he is a scary guy – but this guy was lots bigger than me and that was intimidating. When he started the test, he was leaning across me with his arm resting across my ribs and maneuvering the camera thingy around on my chest. He stabilized me by pressing his hip into the small of my back.

I started to get triggered. But I talked myself through it. I told myself that I was in a safe place and that this guy meant me no harm, but was actually intending what he was doing for my welfare. I focused upon the senses I could use and what I could discern about what was happening and not upon the fears that were clamoring for attention. (OK – I was praying for help, too!) And everything started to change. I started to feel as though I was being embraced and nurtured and I was able to relax and even lean into the stability of the tech’s strength. I felt enveloped in warmth and a sense of well-being – very calm and peaceful. The test took over 45 minutes and it was an amazing experience. The tech was totally professional and appropriate in every way. Nothing creepy at all. I’m sure he had no idea what was happening in me – unless he noticed a settling down of my heartbeats a short time into the test.

It was kind of like a reverse trigger. It brought some good, positive - maybe even healing - feelings that I could never have imagined. I don’t know if this means I won’t be triggered any more or if it will be an ongoing process – having to repeat the efforts each time. But I am not as anxious about future potential triggers.

Lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#428513 - 03/20/13 12:47 PM Re: reversing a trigger [Re: traveler]
Candu Offline


Registered: 06/30/12
Posts: 312
Loc: Canada
Quote:
And everything started to change. I started to feel as though I was being embraced and nurtured and I was able to relax and even lean into the stability of the tech’s strength. I felt enveloped in warmth and a sense of well-being – very calm and peaceful.

Wow that's fantastic. Actually a positive experience. Hard to believe.

I came across the following Handbook on Sensitive Practice for Health Care Practitioners:Lessons from Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ncfv-cnivf/pdfs/nfntsx-handbook_e.pdf It would be great if half of what is suggested in the book were implemented. At the least explaining what will be done and the steps involved.

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#428580 - 03/21/13 05:26 AM Re: reversing a trigger [Re: traveler]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3509
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Candu -

that is an excellent resource. i have not read the whole document, but that parts i read were very thoughtful and gave compassionate, practical practices for helping health care workers in being aware of and sensitive to CSA issues that may affect a patient later in life - whether the patient is aware of it or not. i found the following passage very insightful:

"While not everyone who reports a history of childhood sexual abuse develops health problems, many live with a variety of chronic physical, behavioural, and psychological problems that bring them into frequent contact with health care practitioners. Because health care practitioners do not routinely inquire about childhood sexual abuse, its long-term effects are under recognized, its related health problems are misdiagnosed, and it is often not met with a sensitive, integrated treatment response. Childhood sexual abuse often co-occurs with other types of childhood adversity, including physical abuse, marital discord, separation from or loss of parents, parental psychopathology and/or substance abuse, and other types of abuse/neglect.31,60,108 Even when these other types of adversity are controlled for, childhood sexual abuse remains a powerful predictor of health problems in adulthood.30,33,145,183 It is suggested that the underlying mechanism for these difficulties is “that childhood sexual abuse causes disruptions in the child’s sense of self, leading to difficulty in relating to others, inability to regulate reactions to stressful events, and other interpersonal and emotional challenges”.108p.753 Kathleen KendallTackett93p.716 describes behavioural, emotional, social, and cognitive pathways by which childhood abuse affects health, pointing out that “adult survivors can be affected by any or all of these, and the four types influence each other. Indeed, they form a complex matrix of interrelationships, all of which influence health.” In addition, research in the fields of immunology, endocrinology, and psychosomatic medicine has demonstrated clear physiological relationships among stress, illness, and disease (e.g.,71,95,101,104)."

a couple of other comments that i should have included in the original post - that became clear to me while telling my T about the experience today:

this was one of the best experiences i have ever had of being "in the moment." i mentioned that the procedure lasted more than 45 minutes. but i was not even aware of the passage of time. i just was aware of being. and when it was finished, i felt a sense almost of regret that it was over.

the later part of the experience was also the first time i can ever remember being touched by a male - especially one bigger, stronger or more authoritative - without feeling a sense of danger or anxiety or defensiveness. it was not just neutral - though that would have been a welcome change from past experiences - but a very positive one - without a trace of any undertones.

my T was elated by this story - said it was exactly the kind of progress he was hoping and praying for.
Lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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