Scanxiety

I didn’t coin this term, but it is the anxiety that ramps up prior to the next CT scan to check on the progression, or not, of cancer. Mine is scheduled for Monday; today is Saturday, so the anxiety is already there no matter how I try to minimize it. There is the hope that the tumors have reduced in size since the last scan; and the fear that they didn’t. If they did, then all is well, but if they didn’t, then what’s next? I admit to not only anxiety, but a little depression, too. It’s difficult to keep a positive focus all the time, and I occasionally find myself almost reduced to tears. And the anger; can’t forget the anger. Those emotions are all kin to each other and feed off each other and make each other worse. And I know it’s a downward spiral and hard to stop once it gains momentum, so I can’t let it gain momentum and usually don’t.

And on a related note, the more I read in journals and from other lung cancer patients on support sites, the more I feel overloaded.  My brain races a mile a minute at times, and I find it hard to slow it down. So many options that depend on so many different things. Since I am the one responsible for my care then I must be the one to be aware of what’s available. I trust my Oncologist and my treatment team, but I still need to be able to have an intelligent discussion about available treatments, clinical trials, and the latest new treatment coming up on the horizon. It’s exhausting. Sometimes I wonder if my parents’ generation was right in always deferring to the doctor. And they didn’t have access to all the research out there on the internet. Maybe ignorance really is bliss. But as soon as I have that thought, I get rid of it. The information is out there, and I should be able to read it and understand it and be able to discuss it with my team members. So I just keep on going the best I can and trust that all will be well.

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10 thoughts on “Scanxiety

  1. Ruth,

    I understand your anxiety … my next CT is not quite so soon as yours but it too is coming up in the next few weeks and there are always the same concerns as you mention. I will be having especially good thoughts and prayers for you Monday and know that you will be surrounded by the love and prayers of many others!

    Rennie

  2. Thank you, Rennie. My last one showed good results, but I had to change my treatments as I had really bad side effects from the first one, so I’m hoping the new one is as good as the first one!!

  3. We’ll hope and pray that this one is as good as the last.

    Of course you know there are more options than blissful ignorance or information overload, and I suspect you’re keeping a good balance. Still, the internet can be like quicksand – tread lightly!

    Enjoy tomorrow. I hope it’s a lovely day.

  4. Ruth,

    Does your local hospital have a “Cancer Navigator”?

    There is one here and although I think her true purpose is to be there to help people who are newly diagnosed and to coordinate support groups, I use her to look for information on subjects of interest to me. I figure that she has a better grasp of what is being done by reputable sources in the research community as well as being better able to quickly get that information.

    I spoke to her several times in the beginning, but I don’t go to any of the support groups. However, I’ve talked to her (both on the phone and in person) several times when I’ve had questions and/or when I wanted information on a particular subject or diagnosis. I prefer to get information from her since there is so much information on the internet and it is very difficult to figure out exactly what is reliable and/or current.

    She is a nurse and her service is provided free by the hospital. I hope that you have a similar resource where you live …

    Rennie

  5. I don’t know if there’s a Navigator here or not. I used to be a nurse, and I have access to medical journals, so I can read up on what’s happening. I also check Lungevity, and Cancer Commons, and Lung Cancer Alliance; they usually have the latest news with links to other sites. I don’t trust everything I read on the internet. 🙂

  6. Ruth, not in your shoes today, but have been on similar occasion – remember well the knot in the pit of my stomach. Will be sending as much positive energy your way as possible and thinking, “Shrink damn tumors, shrink!”

  7. Best of luck, Ruth xxx

    When my hubby had pancreatic cancer a friend of my son (who is studying medicine) told me not to look on the internet because it’s full of misinformation and scares the crap out of people…

  8. And that’s true. But I have access to medical journals and other medical oncology sites, so I know my information is good. I do sometimes look at the other sites, just for kicks. Especially the ones that claim they can cure cancer if you just eat broccoli soup 4 times a day!

Ruth passed away from cancer. Please remove from list

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