Whose gut is it anyway?

I wish I could tell you I’ve always trusted my intuition, but I’d be lying. When I do listen to my gut, I make fairly good decisions, like pursuing psychology as a profession, developing a relationship with J., and parking far away from those evil shopping carts.

Still, I often doubt myself and stress over even minor decisions. For example, I marvel at people who fly through the produce section, selecting items by the handful rather than examining each one painstakingly like I do. Oh, the time they must save!

I have come to rely on J. for guidance when my gut’s stuck, and I often trust her intuition more than my own. She is wise and thoughtful and she is much better at weighing all options rationally and fairly. She also helps me to trust my own gut when I’m floundering.

I was thinking about our respective guts last week when I was feeling quite unwell, and not just because I’d lost my appetite. My energy had been tanking in recent weeks. I started stewing about how my daily productivity was on a decline, and I feared my CML was progressing. Then, last Tuesday, Dr. Blood confirmed I had become anemic over the past 6 weeks. Anemic enough to feel crummy but not quite enough to require a blood transfusion. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

My mood tanked even lower following my ER visit the next day. I’ve told you before that doctors new to me don’t understand my complex body and predict doom in a way that my usual doctors do not. I wish I could let their comments slide, but because I’d been confronting my mortality of late, I was primed to focus on every scary thing each of those unfamiliar doctors told me. I became increasingly overwhelmed following this visit.

Being scared is not a good place for me. I stew, I stop sleeping, I feel hopeless, and ultimately I get depressed. I’d advise you to skip this path; it’s not helpful when you’re trying to work through an emotionally challenging issue. But occasionally I go to that dark place because, well, I do have cancer.

I shared my worries with J., and she paused, considered what I’d said and, in her thoughtful way, responded: “Oh, shut up (in a loving tone of course). You’ve been through periods like this before and you’ve recovered. The doctors just need to sort you out. And Dr. Blood said recently that your leukemia is so well controlled that your death from cancer is potentially years off.” Did Dr. Blood say that? Yes, she did. Amazing how fear makes it hard to retain the good news.

I want to trust J.’s gut on this one, but considering how poorly she’s done in her hockey pool, I’m not sure I can anymore. If you recall, J. entered herself in the pool based on her first choices, and then entered me based on her runners up. And guess who’s in the lead? I am! I’m at the top of the pool as of this morning and a solid 8 points ahead of J.

Clearly I need to start trusting myself, except for those times when I need a swift kick in the pants. I’ll still call on J. then.

Quote: Trust your instincts. Intuition doesn't lie."

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