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.