So I’ve had my first two cycles of the new chemo regime and soon it’ll be time for the CT scan to see if it’s having any effect. I have been doing fine in the last couple of weeks generally. While the chemo makes me feel weary and achy and nauseous, it is not hard to have faith that it’s working while you are in the middle of it. But reality bites when you face the cold hard truth of a scan. In the cancer community, the fear you experience when waiting for scan results is known as scanxiety. And I can hear it knocking at my door.
In a few days I will go to hospital and put on a fetching green gown. I will lie on a table and be conducted in and out of the scanner (which will tell me in a very polite voice to “hold still” then “breathe away”) before an iodine contrast is injected into my arm and the scan is redone. It is fairly quick. But the wait to see the oncologist and get the results will no doubt seem like a lifetime, even though it will only be a few days. In between, scanxiety rules.
I talked about this in counselling yesterday. The rational me knows that the scan itself doesn’t change anything. It simply reports. It doesn’t affect the efficacy of the chemo. It just informs. So it’s silly to get too worked up about the scan. But that’s my brain talking. My body is saying something different. My body is finding new aches and pains, new ways of telling me it’s feeling on edge. And in the fight between body and brain on the battleground of scanxiety it’s not easy to pick a clear winner.
So I am picking my tools for the psychological fight. Deep breathing. Lots of rest. A good measure of distraction through work. Contemplation. Prayers and positivity from others. The love and companionship of my husband. The humour, support and mental strength of my sisters in arms in this awful fight (I love you all). These tools will help to reinforce my mental strength and tackle the scanxiety face on.