After my CT scan on Friday, I will be in vacation mode! I will be off chemo for at least three weeks straight. I’m so excited. Today I felt fantastic – I was able to go outside and move around and really do anything I wanted. I got to see my son in yet another school performance (yay!) then randomly ran into TWO friends at Whole Foods. What a great start to the day! I live on that kind of energy.
Back to the CT scan – I had a choice to have the scan this week, or to wait until after my doctor’s vacation and have the scan then. I chose this week – I wanted it to be as close to my most recent chemo as I could bear. But that meant that I wouldn’t get the results for over two weeks.
That was fine with me, and the nurse practitioner noted that that was unusual, to wait that long. So I thought I would explain, in case you are wondering or in case this helps you.
When I first started down this road, I couldn’t wait to hear the results. In fact, I would ask if they would let my husband (a radiologist) in the room during the scan so that he could read the scan as they did it. On days when he couldn’t be there, I would request a disk of the scan and bring it home for him to read.
At some point, he admitted that this was stressful for him, so I started to wait until my doctor could tell me the results, ideally as soon as possible after the scan.
One of the things that I HATED about that appointment was this: I would be feeling fabulous, walk into the exam room where they would give me “news,” and that news would dictate how I felt when I left the room. It was like that room was some transformation booth: I walked in one way, and walked out another, unpredictable way. I disliked the powerless feeling of that situation.
So, I turned it over in my mind several different ways and decided that I was letting their projection of the future, based on my scan results, determine how I feel. And I needed to change that. So I started to look at the “news” as simply data. The scan information was data, and their feelings about that data were simply their points of view.
Receiving scans about every six weeks, I had lots of opportunities to practice listening to the results in this new way. I would try to distinguish which was data and which was their point of view. Then I would scan my body to see how I felt. Did I physically feel any different than when I walked in? After doing this a few times, I noticed that I generally felt good, and that feeling outweighed any data from the scans.
The other way I looked at this was this: No matter what they said, someone, somewhere was receiving worse news. That person would prefer to be hearing my news.
So I had to make a decision this time: Have the scan sooner and wait to hear the results? Or wait to have the scan, though the results might be ambiguous: Is the chemo working? Was it simply that I took a break from chemo?
I decided to have the scan as soon as possible after chemo, because I want a chance to show that the chemo is working. I decided that I could wait to hear the data.
Really, the most important data is that I am feeling good. And I finally am feeling really great! So I’m holding that closely and treasuring that.
Now, I talk a good game. Let’s see how it goes. But I get a chance to practice a new way of being. And it will help to have this wonderful break!
Thanks for your prayers for a good scan! Here’s hoping that you can, today, trust your inner feeling more than anything anyone projects onto you.
Sending prayers for a good scan, Marie! Love, Beth and Chris
You captured what scanxiety feels like & gave great advice on a positive way to approach it Marie – thank you for posting! Have a great vacation & I’ll be praying for good results!