After my last bout of “difficultitis” early last month the day has finally come for the next CT scan. Usually I get a morning appointment, which is preferable, but today it’s not until 7.30 pm. This means I’m pretty much spending all day gearing up for going. Kind of a drag, but oh well. The usual scanxiety is less, simply because I know I won’t be getting any results today, and who knows when my next oncology appointment will happen. But at the end of the week I’ll get in touch with my GP and ask him to print out a copy of the report. Fingers crossed!
I came across this the other day whilst thinking about scanxiety, and at first I thought, hey yeah, that’s cool. But then I thought, hey wait a minute.
I agree with the bit that talks about the things that cause our anxiety have already happened (so saying not to worry about things that will never happen obviously does not work here). And I agree with the part that says it’s about remembering. Because it did happen to me. Again and then again. So you know, why wouldn’t it happen yet again?
Which brings me to the part I disagree with “it’s not so much about worrying.” Sorry, for me it’s TOTALLY about worrying. And fretting, and second-guessing, and hoping, and regretting, and even panicking. Hey, it happened before, it can happen again. Why is that so hard to understand? And all those well meaning people who say “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine”… I kind of wish they wouldn’t say that. I know it’s not meant as such but it feels a bit like being given the brush off. That I am worrying about nothing. Really? If your cancer came back twice would you honestly and truly believe it would never come back again? That there is nothing to worry about? Think again.
So what’s the best thing to say to someone terrified about the possible outcome of yet another PET scan? Well, how about whatever is real for you? That you have no idea what I’m going through but you are hoping for the best. That you will get on the next plane if it all goes tits up. That you’ve been through this yourself and it’s totally shit and you’ll be waiting for me on the other side of the results. And even that you care a lot but simply don’t know what to say – that’s all totally okay and also totally understandable.
But please don’t tell me not to worry. Or that of course I will be okay. Though in fact, it turns out I am okay this time, at least for now. Yesterday’s PET scan was ALL CLEAR. And I’m still processing this. It will take a few days before I allow myself to feel all that happy relief. Or rather, I will dole it out bit by bit… once you have almost died you learn to savour things, so this happy joy of once again dodging a cancer bullet should keep me going until at least Christmas. After that, it will be life as usual again. Or at least as usual as it ever is for cancer survivors. Hey, thanks for listening. xx
Yesterday morning while I was working on the computer, answering some emails, flatmate Peter suddenly said to me, “now don’t get mad…”
Turns out while I was away in Jerez the hospital called the landline and told Peter that my PET scan was going to be on Tuesday morning at 8 am. And he forgot to tell me! Like, wtf? How the hell do you forget that sort of thing?? Anyhow, that meant the scan would be THE VERY NEXT DAY. Today.
So I spent most of yesterday fighting off scanxiety. Luckily I had a meeting in the morning with my lovely WLT chicas, and then a lunchtime tapas tour, to help keep my mind off things. Then in the evening I did just “whatever” until it was time to go to bed. I really couldn’t focus very well. Too many feelings.
By the time this post goes up I will already be at the hospital, pumped full of radioactive isotope and waiting to go into the machine. And I will be trying to remember how I felt when this photo was taken on Sunday morning. I was back from Jerez and enjoying coffee in bed with the cats, listening to the rain, feeling happy and calm. But I know I will actually be terrified. See you on the other side…
On Tuesday I started wondering why I hadn’t heard back about my next PET-CT scan so I sent a text to Isabel and that very afternoon I got a call telling me that I was scheduled for the scan on Thursday at 8 am. Which is TOMORROW. So well, fuck.
I was mostly okay about this yesterday but today I’ve kind of lost it. I checked again online to see what the proper PET scan prep is and have been sticking to it, even rescheduling tonight’s tapas tour for tomorrow so I could stay in and get an early night. But I’m such a nervous wreck.
I keep thinking about Pat and how, after four years of being cancer-free, she had a recurrence and not long after that she died. Just to say that I can never take it for granted that I’m going to be okay. And so I am, as always, hoping like mad that I will once again beat the odds tomorrow and be given another six months.
Had lunch with my friend Juan yesterday and told him how it would feel really extra cruel to get sick again after my life finally feels like it’s the one I’ve always dreamt of. I’m doing work I love, in the place that feels like my real home in the world, my social life is also fulfulling and I’m even starting to not be so hard on myself all the time. Also I have three young cats that I want to watch grow up. So please please please let me be okay tomorrow. Fingers crossed! xx