And just like that it’s scan day. This is the first scan I’ve had without treatment and I’ve kind of been a nervous wreck.
I met with my therapist last week before my scans to check in on how I was doing leading up to scan day and I was already starting to get nervous. As today inched closer, the nerves increased. It didn’t help that I wasn’t allowed to exercise a few days prior to my PET, so I can’t even release some nervous energy in a spin class.
I told my therapist that I’m often scared of these scans because I feel like I’ve had such a great response and I know I’m not the average. I feel like other people have so many twists and turns and in comparison, my “journey” seemed much easier. But, she reminded me that the average is just that — the average. One single person can’t compare themselves to the average — it doesn’t match. The average takes into account outliers on either side. I guess it just makes me wonder if I’m out of “good news” and overdue for a curveball. I’m kinda laughing though as I write that because maybe stage IV cancer is enough of a curveball 🤣
I learned some important lessons in coping with Scanxiety this week and wanted to share them. I’m trying really hard to not let fear get the best of me.
One thing in particular that I learned was the scans are a delivery mechanism. They aren’t an indicator of how things will end up, rather they’re a measurement of how things are at this time. I keep reminding myself that these scans are just scans. I’ve had so many and will continue to have many more for the rest of my life.
The other thing I learned was to open my mind and walk down the different thought paths. Suppressing my fears will only cause them to bubble up and explode at a later date. So I’m assessing the threat, the likelihood of it, and then what would happen after that. In this case, the threat is unfavorable scans. I know I’m at more risk for reoccurrence for 2 years after terminating treatment. But I also know what happens if the cancer is back. Should I have a reoccurrence, I’d most likely start immunotherapy again. We’d probably discuss if we could do combo, Ipi only or Nivo only. The fact that I know what all that is like is somehow a little reassuring. I responded so well the first time, there is no reason I wouldn’t respond well again.
I, one million percent, do not want to go back there. I want this part of my life to be behind me, but I also know going back there isn’t the worst thing. Would it suck? Of course!! But I tolerated treatment relatively well and I know so much more now. I wouldn’t be stumbling through things this time around. And that thought process has sort of helped me cope with my anxiety and fear this week.
As far as scans go, it was pretty uneventful. I had a PET first thing this morning and got a nice nap in while I was waiting for the radio-active stuff to do its thing. Then, we walked over to the hopsital for the dual MRIs. They changed this one up a bit and set me up for the brain and heart all at the same time. Normally they take me out inbetween and I have a chance to readjust, but this time I was stuck in there for a little over 2 hours without moving. My shoulders and knees were aching but Taylor Swift in my headphones helped a bit. No tears this time, so I consider that a win.
So, I’m hoping for the best. But I’m also doing my best to prepare myself for unfavorable results because it just seems irresponsible not to.
Also, if you have any extra prayers or positive thoughts laying around, please direct them to my dear friend, Grace. She’s having a hell of a time battling stupid fucking melanoma and it’s breaking my heart. Sending you love from across the country, girl. 🖤 I brought out the coloring book this week to distract myself and I’m dedicating this one to you. Cause cancer is a dumb bitch!