CSN Login
Members Online: 14

'Scanxiety' countdown......

adman's picture
adman
Posts: 268
Joined: Jul 2012

 

Scans and bloodwork in a few weks, wish I could frickin' relax.

mrs_blkjak's picture
mrs_blkjak
Posts: 92
Joined: Apr 2013

I understand. My husband has his scan tomorrow and results Tuesday. We are both anxious. I keep telling myself "worrying doesn't change what's going to happen," sometimes over and over. Wishing you great results and peace for your brain during the wait!

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

The irony is that Michael knows that he has far less to be worried about than just about anyone else on this forum, in fact really nothing at all, but that still isn't much help when anxiety takes hold, because the anxiety is basically irrational.  The best thing is to get suitable counselling to handle the anxiety and develop a long-term coping mechanism to deal with it, whenever it arises and from whatever source.

adman's picture
adman
Posts: 268
Joined: Jul 2012

.....Your mouth to God's ears, my friend. 

All true -- Note to self: must learn to cope better!!!

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

I'm very happy that you have so little to worry about but (as you know) I'm always sad that it bothers you so much - I just hope that whenever the crunch time comes of getting results there's a crumb of comfort from re-assuring you that your future is much brighter than it feels at such times.

Galrim's picture
Galrim
Posts: 278
Joined: Apr 2013

...what you can hope for is to limit the length of time up to the scan. As time passes thats what i have experienced, the anxiety doesnt get better but at least im now down to start worrying just a week or so before the scans. Actually, being 1 1/2 years away from being taken completely off the scans, Im now starting to think about how i will handle NOT to be routinely checked...

/G

DonMiller's picture
DonMiller
Posts: 102
Joined: Feb 2013

Adman.  I wish I had something helpful to say but I got nothin.  Although I am at high risk of reoccurrence, I don’t think my anxiety levels would be any less if I wasn’t.  Oddly I wasn’t that anxious at all about surgery or the first couple of scans. This summer really got to me.  I kept thinking if I had the balls of Fox or the other guys on the Board or if I could handle IL2. I admit about 2 weeks out I finally called the Doc and got some zanax.  I am not proud of it but I don’t apologize either.   I am certainly bot recommending it ,but it sure helped. 

FiatDriver
Posts: 11
Joined: Jul 2013

My doctor prescribed xanax prior to surgery and I didn't like it.  All it did was put me to sleep.  This is fine in the evening but not so much in meetings at work.  The doctor switched me to Ativan which seems to work better or at least not put me to sleep immedicately.  I would prefer not to take any medicine and use jogging and working out to help with anxiety but I am not really working out at a level that fully works yet.   

To the OP and everyone else, I am really low risk for recurrence according to my doctor yet my first scan, which is all the way in December, is already worrying me so I understand the anxiety.  In addition to scanxiety, I also have developed hypochondria.  Every muscle pain, headache, or heartburn sends me into a panic.

For those that have tried counseling, is there any certain type of doctor I should try?   

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Ideally a good clinical psychologist is the person you're looking for, but it must be someone who knows the area - there are many specialisms within clinical psychology so you need someone with experience of helping people in the situation we're in.  Your primary carer, GP, or hospital can probably put you in touch with someone appropriate. 

Alternatively, there are less high-powered and qualified people who act as counsellors, and also specialist cancer nurses, who have all the experience and understanding that's needed to be able to give you a tremendous amount of help so it's worth enquiring about and personal recommendations ae often a good source.

Like you, I much prefer the route of using exercise rather than taking drugs but what's crucial is to find whatever works for you and go with it.

A major merit of the 'talking therapies' is that they help you to get things in proportion and to spot when you're actually creating  problems for yourself unnecessarily.  You aren't turning into a hypochondriac, any more than the rest of us - we all know the anxiety about every new twinge, ache etc that we fear may be recurrence.  In fact it's very useful in keeping us watchful, just so long as we don't let it get out of control and dominate our approach to our everyday life.

FiatDriver
Posts: 11
Joined: Jul 2013

I am on the fence about counseling.  I think that if I could just find some motivation to work out, I would be able to handle it on my own.  It is funny but my wife went to counseling about a year ago and while she didn't get much out of it, her counselor recommeneded some great books by Eckhart Tolle and others.  My wife didn't read them but I did and they made a big difference in my ability to deal with stress, even after diagnosis.  Maybe I should go back and reread them.  

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Now, that sounds like a really sensible, practical idea! As I recommended above - "Go with whatever works for you."  If those books helped you then, then they will help you even more now because you've tested them in action. 

I don't know Tolle but I see that he's a proponent of meditation (I'll take a further look at his website) but the main styles/schools, have much in common.  I only managed to sleep for two hours last night and, aside from getting us a couple of meals, I've been busy reading and writing for the last ten hours, at my PC, without feeling at all tired.  I managed to fit in eighteen minutes of Transcendental Meditation early morning and that, I reckon, has helped.  Not getting too het up about anything helps a lot,  if you can pull it off.  I'll probably carry on the same way at my PC for another ten hours or so, but I'm wanting to fit in another TM or a guided imagery session. 

Like you, I'm trying to get geared up to some exercise again.  It's been too wet today for any gardening and I'm afraid to risk golf for fear of slipping on wet grass and hurting myself badly.  I mean to try to do a little bit of rowing, or some tai chi to get started again - it's not so easy sometimes to find the motivation, is it?  Got to pick a sensible time and then just go do it, hey? 

Have another look at those books and make a start on working out - the first step is the hardest - it gets easier when you've got some momentum again, doesn't it?  Good luck!

 

 

 

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

To Galrim:- that's an intriguing new take on it - starting to worry about how you'll handle it when you don't have scans  - getting anxious about NOT having the scans to get anxious about!!

It's truly a helpful thought in reminding us that the purpose of the scans is to help to keep us safe from what they're monitoring for.   We're keeping a careful eye out for an enemy so that it won't catch us unawares - much better than not knowing what could be happening.

There's no doubt that the level of anxiety isn't related to the justification for it (one for M G, that).   Funnily enough, at the bad end, it can be liberating. For folks in the situation of Fox and me, there's no longer the element of doubt that is so troubling for most of us - we've had the bad news and so the situation simplifies to just getting on with it and doing the best we can with it.  I'm now at the stage of weekly blood tests, fortnightly onc consultations and a CT scan interval cut down to 6 weeks because things are moving so fast.  However, paradoxically, I'm feeling mentally stronger - even if the news is worse then the worst you'd feared, the draining effect of the uncertainty has been removed which gives a sense of relief. 

So if you know you're worrying more than you probably should be, don't let it add to your burdens - get whatever help you need in controlling the anxiety.

danbren2's picture
danbren2
Posts: 211
Joined: May 2013

Oh my Gosh, I know exactly how you feel!  Had my scans in June, and I go back in October, I have a 20% chance of no re-occurrence, and I keep telling myself everyday that I am one of those 20 percenters!  It's really hard, but try to keep yourself busy, and thank God for the "every 10 minutes that he gives you that you do not think about the scans"!

Keep coming here, these are the best people in the world on this Surviors Network! Just reading and realizing that we are not alone, and these people know exactly what we are feeling cause not only have they been there, but they are there with us right now.

Realize you are not alone, there are people that care what you are feeling and wish and pray for clear scans for you!

Love and Prayers of good health to you!

Brenda

Stros2013's picture
Stros2013
Posts: 31
Joined: Aug 2012

the nervousness and lack of sleep were debilitating for me when the 6 month scan approached.  When they all came back clean...it was apparent that most if not all of my fear was in my mind and a complete lack of faith in my version of God.

It was with my wife's support that i reached out to Livestrong here in Austin for help.  They matched me with a counselor that i met with every couple of weeks at first and then monthly.

In retrospect, what i noticed was that the counselor understood what we as cancer survivors go through.  We real quickly worked towards the root of the problem or perceived problem.

 

Once my greatest fear was on the table; we were able to work towards potential solutions and acceptance.  

When i went for my scans in July of this year and notations of small nodules appearing in my right lung....it was ok.  I was present and focused.  I was able to move right into the "what next".  More than anything i realised that i wasn't going to die.....at least not on that day in July (or at least not by RCC).  

I guess, i wanted to respond that you may very well have a recurrence in your future.  but with canceling i've found the ability to continue living and more importantly living with grace.  

Reach out for some help.  Give Livestrong a call or a local group for recommendations on folks that work with Cancer survivors.

 

Peace.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Thanks for adding that practical demonstration of how helpful it can be and it's good to hear that it not only helped you at first but what you learnt is standing you in good stead further down the line as well.

NewDay's picture
NewDay
Posts: 182
Joined: May 2012

I want to chime in that counseling can be a tremendous help with any type of depression or anxiety.  Many years ago when I was dealing with something from my past, it took a lot of arm-twisting to get me to counseling.  I just could not imagine what the point was of talking to some stranger about something they have never experienced, especially when they can't do anything about it.  But, it can be a tremendous help.  Sometimes when I'm talking to them and hear words come out of my mouth, I think, "Huh, that sure sounded different in my head than it did out loud."  It also helps that you are talking to a stranger instead of friends or family.  You don't have to worry about worrying them.  You don't have to worry what they will think of you.  I just want to encourage anyone who is considering it.  Also, don't judge yourself if you find you need medication to help as well.  I have not found a counselor specifically for talking about the cancer, but think I need to.  Right now I'm only seeing a psychiatrist and for those that don't know, they don't necessarily take the place of a counselor.  They are experts at knowing the right meds to prescribe, not always experts at listening and counseling,

 

May we all find some peace and joy each day.

 

Kathy

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2015 © Cancer Survivors Network