It is that time SCANS Every three to four months I get a wake up call that my life has taken an unexpected turn. Believe me, there are daily reminders of how different I am now; but scan time is big time scary time, Mentally. It takes living with cancer to yet a another level of heighten sense of mortality and anxiety. So MANY thoughts and what ifs course through my brain. SO hard to shut it off. What if I have progression.......what if the cancer is in a new area......... what if this it IT........ I have a cold right now so I wonder if that going to skew the results????? Should I cancel it? Move it? So many thoughts my mind is racing. I have had lots of aches lately too. My joints hurt, which ones? ALL of them! I am gaining weight like crazy and I am super tired. I pray that is all side effects of medications and winter blues; but it makes scan time that much more anxiety provoking. I am always hypersensitive to aches and pains thinking it is related to progression but as scans grow close it is like def-con 1 level of alertness.
A lot of time I think I am handling the impending scans fine. I just put it in a box in my brain and shut the lid. Trying not to think about it, leaving it to God. Faith not Fear. But then I have moments that the crazy emotions rise AND in the most unexpected place, like a staff meeting. Ugh, I realized that my nerves about scans were affecting me more than I thought. Scan time makes me think about life with my kids and spending as much time as I can with them. Scans make me reflect on what I have done to leave a legacy and all the crap that I have yet to accomplish; like writing a Will. And there are crazy dark thoughts, ones that I don't write about that make me exhausted and even more scattered brained than the chemo brain. IT makes me think back to choices I made and the things I can control. Did I DO enough? I know cancer doesn't work like that but it is hard to tell your mind that. Many people are well meaning and tried to be supportive. I wish that I could turn off the negative self talk in my head. I have heard it all and in the past I am sure I have said these statements to others trying to be helpful: You will be fine. Don't worry. Don't think about it until you have the results. You've got this! That one is my favorite.......Really!? I'VE GOT THIS?? I know I have a positive outlook and I am a great person but Cancer DOES NOT discriminate. I don't HAVE this, I have cancer. It is going to progress whenever it wants to. I cannot happy thought it out of my body. Don't I wish. I would be a frickin' unicorn blowing rainbows out of my butt with happy thoughts to rid myself of cancer.
Statements like this also lead to guilt and shame..... For instance if I do have progression is it because I worried too much? Because I wasn't positive enough? I have enough guilt, being a mom and a women, the list for guilt inducing thoughts is long. SO this is one area that I don't, no, I can't allow myself to feel guilt for. I visualize the cancer leaving my body and I do try to be positive as part of mental exercises to combat anxiety; but I do not think that my outcome hinges on my level of positivity. I know what you are thinking. "Well, what do you want me to say to you?" or 'What should I say to my friend that was just diagnosed?" I will pass on my thoughts. The best thing one could do is tell them that you see them and you hear them. That you want them to know that you can't imagine what it must be like to live scan to scan but you are there for them. You can listen to them vent or sit with them and maybe share a cup of coffee. You don't need to fix anything. Just being presence and saving space is enough. I have read in numerous Facebook groups that a lot of the stage 4 women feel alone and misunderstood. Prayers for me are great. I love prayers!!! Others might enjoys thoughts of positive energy and light. Even a quick text or a silly GIF could make someone's day! Please recognize that scan time is scary and I might be more sensitive, emotional and distracted until I know what my results are. Don't get me started on the waiting after scan time..........UGH!!!! So scan time is upon me. Send me prayers, love, light and unicorns with rainbow butts!!