Home » Clinical Trial » Distraction is the better part of valor

Distraction is the better part of valor

Photo credit: Flickr user Francesco (Creative Commons)

Photo credit: Flickr user Francesco (Creative Commons)

Today I’m again boarding a flight to Denver, Colorado, for my bi-monthly scan and clinical trial check-in. Packing and traveling for my clinical trial is pretty routine after  2+ years. Despite the best effort of my conscious mind and having No Evidence of Disease for 28 months, some small part of me still gets nervous as scan time approaches.  Even seasoned cancer survivors can sometimes experience scanxiety.

Perhaps spending March dealing with pneumonia prompted this feeling. I caught an upper respiratory virus shortly after my husband did. Since I could see his symptoms were similar to mine, and my symptoms started only a few days after my last clean scan, I wasn’t worried the severe goopy cough might be lung cancer progression. However, the goop got caught in my radiation-scarred lower lobe of my left lung, and set up residence. It took me two Z-paks of antibiotics and a couple of extra weeks to knock it out.

I suppose that reminder that my lungs are vulnerable could be enough to explain my edginess and need for more hugs. It’s not overwhelming, it just slows me down a bit. I just wish my rational mind and faith had learned by now how to silence the vague unease.

Fortunately, a new science fiction story idea popped into my head yesterday and is vigorously trying to elbow out an article I’m struggling to finish this week. I’ll try to capture the concept on my flight to my Denver clinical trial today, before it fades in the chemobrain fog.  My mind will be productively preoccupied during this trip.  Maybe if they work together, the two writing projects can throttle this low-level scanxiety.

Distraction is the better part of valor.

6 thoughts on “Distraction is the better part of valor

  1. So sorry to hear your husband died…when, in February?? That is hard to deal with along with your own situation. Try to think…”whatever is good, and honorable and just….think on these things”……I know it’s hard to think positive…but just think of “good” things….like being NED for two years….that’s good….or think of flowers or gardening…or whatever makes you happy.


  2. Oh, so sorry….I read you caught a respiratory infection shortly after your husband “died”!! not after your husband “did”!! So sorry!! Glad he’s still there for you! Just have had too many deaths I’ve known about lately….and somehow transpired the wrong word in my brain! (blame it on the chemo 🙂 Science fiction ….hmmm….how about a book on your experiences with cancer? I know you have all these blogs and things…but how about a book for children of parents with cancer? Just saw a video of a Dad (who has PTSD, who wrote a book to his daughter…saying “Why Dad is mad”…..maybe a short booklet that cancer patients can give their kids…as to how to help or understand feelings…cause no one really seems to know what we need. That would maybe help people. Just an idea….there’s alot of books about cancer….but not about feelings of people who have it.


  3. Janet, here’s my daydream (not quite science fiction) that I’ve told my running buddies: I’m driving alone, in a city different from where I live. I’m going straight, and a pickup truck runs a red light and T-bones my car. I’m knocked out, and transported to a hospital by ambulance. They perform an X-ray and I’m coming to (awakening). The ER doctor looks at the X ray and says he can see something wrong with my airway, and I’m promptly knocked out. I awaken again, and the doc says I’m lucky, he got it. I say “you got what?”. He says, “there was a popcorn kernal lodged in your airway, it must have made it hard for you to climb stairs, or run”. In that instant, my lung cancer was cured. It had been popcorn all along!

    (too bad the fancy ct scan and mri don’t agree). I wish this was really my story!

    Distraction and looking past the truth is part of my new normal!




  4. Hi Janet,

    I’m relatively new to the cancer battle, but have also found writing to be not only a convenient “distraction” from the physical and emotional discomfort, but also a greatly therapeutic in the way it helps me to sort things out mentally.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Jim Watson
    Portland, Maine


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