Home » Clinical Trial » My Scanxiety Won’t Listen to Reason

My Scanxiety Won’t Listen to Reason

To promote the value of blogging transparency, I must make a confession.  I have a PET-CT scan on Monday to check the status of my cancer.  For the past several months, I’ve been pretty relaxed about scans.

Right now, however, I have a raging case of scanxiety.

There is no logical reason for this.  My scans for the past 11 months have been clean, and I have no symptoms that would indicate this scan should be any different.  Even if I do show a recurrence on this scan, I know I have treatment options.  Even if I didn’t have treatment options, I am not afraid of dying.

Decades ago, someone taught me my emotions can be influenced by how I choose to view a situation.  If I hear a rude remark, I choose to think “They’re having a tough day” and I don’t get angry.  If I screw up on something important, I choose to think “I’ll do better next time” and I don’t feel frustrated with myself.  This technique allows me to sidestep most negative emotions and continue moving forward instead of getting stuck. It even works with scanxiety. Usually.

So why the heck doesn’t my scanxiety respond this time?

I suppose recent events as well as past history have something to do with it.  A neighbor who was diagnosed with lung cancer after me died from metastatic tumors in her brain covering a few weeks ago.  A friend in my lung cancer support group who had been doing well on a targeted therapy developed brain tumors in early October.  A friend in my online support group, and who is in my ROS1 lung cancer clinical trial, may have progressed (I blogged about that here). The clinical trial in which my onocologist planned to enroll me if my cancer recurred just stopped accepting new participants, which means I don’t know for certain what my options are when my cancer recurs. And in December of each of the past two years, I was coping with a recurrence of my cancer.

I guess my subconscious processing of all these events trumps the thoughts I choose to think in my conscious mind.

So here I am, preparing to fly to Denver for yet another scan.  Inside, I feel like my entire body is about to explode from pent-up tension.  Outside, I’m strung so taut that I erupt at a single misstatement from a family member.  My scanxiety hasn’t been this bad since my first recurrence blossomed into a very visible tumor on my collarbone.

All I can do is eat healthy, try to get a good night’s sleep, listen to lots of Mozart while I pack, and keep to myself until Monday afternoon so I don’t bite anybody.

17 thoughts on “My Scanxiety Won’t Listen to Reason

  1. My best wishes to you, Janet. Sometimes that scanxiety just won’t let us alone. Fortunately, it is
    usually not borne out of fact but it’s the way our brains work when a scan looms. I wish you everything good on Monday, Diane

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  2. You have a remarkable way of investigating your emotions and coming to understanding. You also deal with difficult things in an amazingly tranquil way for the most part. The scanxiety makes perfect sense to me. Thinking of you. Praying for clear skies and clear scans.

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  3. Everyone’s entitled to a little anxiety occasionally, and you’re no exception. I think you’ve done a great job of handling all the challenges that have been thrown at you since your cancer was diagnosed. So give yourself a break this one time, and have a little chocolate with your Mozart.

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  4. My scan is within the next 2 weeks also….I read your blog…printed it out to show family members…I too,have been crazy with anxiety….and I do believe I see bite marks on my family members!….sending out positive vibes to you…XX

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  5. Hi, its Kathy in Florida..praying for you and I know all will be good…we as cancer survivors have a hard time being positive. When I feel good, I take it to the limits , laugh, joke and tell God I have no time for being sick. I have sick people to help who have cancer and need me, you too are needed. You have a great way with words but now its time for more happy music. Mozart is good but listen to some oldies and sing sing sing till you can’t sing no more. My son taught me this and it works most the time. Try it, only upbeat music. You can also get some Zen from Allergy Research for your nerves. My son takes it and so do I, helps you sleep. I get it at Vitacost.com It is GABA and L-theinene…….very calming and good for scanxitey for sure….I will be taking in in two weeks when I get a pet scan too. Try it…and magnesium helps you sleep. My radiologist told me to take it and it works also 300 mg I take. Ok now get out the crazy oldies and start singing. Prayers and thoughts are with you.
    Love ya
    Kathy and James in Edgewater, Florida

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  6. This always happens to me also and it’s been over 3 years. I have been stable not NED. Every scan says stable and not change to my remaining little nodules. Yet……….I tense up and am irritable and crazy until I get the results. I think that if I get to relaxed and assume the scan will be good that if it’s bad I’ll have twice the shock and that keeps me from thinking all is OK. Good luck to us both, stay strong.

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  7. Another clean PET-CT scan, another 2-month cancer reprieve. Take THAT, scanxiety! Maybe next time you’ll listen to reason.

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  8. Pingback: 15 Tips to Cope with Scanxiety (Scan Anxiety)

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