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Chemo done, scanxiety sets in

abita's picture
abita
Posts: 681
Joined: Dec 2017

Everyone is telling me how happy I must be to have finished chemo. And that is true. I don't know what normal is going to be like after I finish with the side effects of this last round, but am looking forward to figuring it out. BUT, I am terrified of the post scan. Even though the expectation is that it will be clean, I am still terrified. Guessing that is normal. Does it get easier as the years go by and get clean scans?

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 4960
Joined: Jan 2013

Each scan comes with the same fear of recurrance.  Having been there once, and finding mets to the liver, I'm sure not ever to take a clear scan for granted.  BUT, you do learn ways to cope with that anxiety. Everyone has their own way, and you'll find yours. 

Good luck!

Tru

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

I don't get as stressed as I used to but I'm on anti-depressants so maybe that takes the edge off. I do remember getting results last summer that were quite good and finding myself crying for about 45 minutes after. It was just a release of emotions, not sadness. Happiness, if anything. But it made me realize how scared I'd been when I didn't think I had been.

I tend to not get terribly upset, though, and tend to not have trouble sleeping the night before results or anything like that. But, I haven't had a whole lot of good news with my cancer battle and it seems like if there's a side effect or something can go wrong, it will, so it's made me rather pessimistic about the whole thing. I expect bad news every time. I'm as prepared for it as I can be.

I think I encapsulate the cancer part of my life. After almost five years I still don't think I've fully accepted it.

Jan

abita's picture
abita
Posts: 681
Joined: Dec 2017

That makes me sad. You know, I think of you when I wonder about a recurrence that cannot be removed. And I take hope that just as you do. I can have a meaningful life where I am on medication to keep the cancer from growing. 

I have been having breakdowns the past few weeks. I guess my brain is no longer blocking that people thought I was going to die. So it is all flooding out now.

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

I'm sorry, I wasn't looking for sympathy. But I do wonder sometimes why it doesn't bother me more than it does. Maybe it's not being able to accept it. I still kind of feel like one of these days I'll go to the onc and it'll all have been a mistake. On a cerebral level I know that's stupid but in my heart it's what I hope for.

At the same time I get angry about it. Not that I have it, odds are pretty good almost half of people will. Just that it affects so many other things. I can no longer work so money is a huge issue. It makes me feel bad that it has not only taken away my dreams of the future but those of my husband as well. My daughter is 29 years old and still lives with us in our basement suite. I strongly suspects she's scared to leave. The other nasty things that have happened because of the cancer make me angry, too. And I'm sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. 

So maybe my anger covers the fear. Or maybe I internalize it in a different way. Or maybe I've just reached my capacity for fear and worry. No idea. I'm so sick of the black cloud of it hanging over my head, though, I do know that.

Jan

SandiaBuddy's picture
SandiaBuddy
Posts: 958
Joined: Apr 2017

I guess the best thing that I can say is that people on this forum understand.  My doctor tells me the first two years are the most critical, so maybe after this time period passes I will be less anxious, but I think anyone who has experienced cancer, surgery and chemo will be apprehensive of any chance of more of the same.  Perhaps it is just another aspect of "the new normal." 

abita's picture
abita
Posts: 681
Joined: Dec 2017

I think a big part is that now I know I am a mere mortal. 

SandiaBuddy's picture
SandiaBuddy
Posts: 958
Joined: Apr 2017

Everyone is mortal, it is just that our expiration date is printed a little more clearly Smile.  I spend a few minutes meditating every morning where I think specifically about mortality.  It really seems to have taken some of the edge off of it.

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
Posts: 1014
Joined: Aug 2013

I've ridden that coaster up three hills that came with rising cea numbers, biopsies, extra scans[pet], and years of "something's there". Anxiety was always there. Since the last hill[4 years] the anxiety has lessened with each 6 month's good numbers and it feels easier, but one bump in cea, one something is odd about the scan come January, it will all ratchet up again. It's just part of human nature, unless one is exceptionally calm about such things.  The one thing that gets better with time, is what Jan touched on. You learn to compartmentalize the cancer stuff, and keep it seperate as much as possible from the regular stuff. At least that's been my experience, over time..................................................Dave

abita's picture
abita
Posts: 681
Joined: Dec 2017

Thank you. I forgot that I did get tumor markers, so it is a good sign that they have not gone up. Mine were off the charts high before my tumors were removed.

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6306
Joined: Feb 2009

First off congrats on finishing.  You should just dwell on that for the near future.  Does it get easier everytime you have a test - for me - no.  It's never easy.  It's always the same fear but the longer you go without having any problems the more you think nothing can crop up, but we've seen so many times that the fear is still there with many years later.  If you never fear another test, I'm thinking they are lying.  Enjoy life before the testing and worry about it when it comes near (if you are a worrier).  When you get a clean scan that gives you a reason to go out and enjoy BIG TIME.  Wishing you the best.

Kim

Mikenh's picture
Mikenh
Posts: 777
Joined: Oct 2017

I'll be partially there next week with a CEA test and scans to come. Yes, I will worry. At least a bit. But we'll move on from there.

Cindy225's picture
Cindy225
Posts: 172
Joined: Feb 2017

Like others I get major scanxiety. Just thinking about it is giving me heart palpatations.  It's been almost 2 years since my diagnosis and I am so nervous about recurrence. Every ache, pain, change in weight or bit of fatigue and I think it's cancer.  Right now I have a pulled groin muscle that I can't shake and I keep thinking it must be cancer related.  My husband and I were so relieved at 18 months that I was NED as we thought we had hit a major milestone.  When we shared our excitement with our oncologist he said the only watershed date to focus on is 5 years given the nature of how agressive my cancer was. It really bummed us out...

Getting ready for another 3 month check-in with my Oncologist and I have a long list to review with him... sigh.

That said, when I work myself up into a state, (as I'm doing right now) I take deep breaths and remind myself to "Be Here Now In This Moment".  I also keep a blue chip on my kitchen counter that I look at or hold that reminds me to be grateful for family and friends and a scallop shell that reminds me of my happy place at the beach.  Cool

Cindy 

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