I sit at my computer watching the cursor flash at me. I don’t want to write this post but my fingers keep moving. I hate that I am scared. I hate that every six months cancer is on my mind 22 hours a day. I feel like I should not be complaining because there are so many people fighting right now. And me? I am lucky enough to be in remission. I have 18 more months of this left. Only three scans until I reach the finish line. But is it really the finish line? For the rest of my life I am going to worry. Every ache, pain, bump and lump is going to send me into panic mode. A cold that hangs on for too long will still send me over the edge. Don’t get me wrong it will be so nice to not have to roll into the scanner every six months. But does the anxiety ever really leave?
This morning I was just minding my own business when I saw something. I am sure to the non-anxious mind it looks like a blemish. To me it looks like cancer, chemo and being away from my family. The 2% of my brain that is functioning normally is telling me to calm down. The rest of me is in anxious overdrive. There have been so many people who are truly puzzled why I still worry about scans and everything that comes after a cancer diagnosis. My answer is always this ” I went in for a what I thought was going to be a simple check to make sure my baby was okay. The next day I was a new cancer patient and my life was changed forever.” I don’t think one can ever forget how they felt on the day they were given such a nasty diagnosis.
When I was told that my cancer was back I thought I was ready. I knew what was coming (for the most part) and I was ready to fight. Then it hit me. I. Know. What. Is. Coming. The fatigue, body aches, hair loss, stomach problems, low immune system and all of the other crap. Thank God it was not true and I was still in remission. Now, I am not really sure which is worse; being a newbie or a veteran going into a cancer diagnosis. It’s all so scary and unfair.
Back to the scans and blemish. I think what is so scary about scans is that they are looking inside your body. A lot of the time I feel like ignorance is bliss. If I don’t know that something is wrong it will just go away on its own. When you have a scan you really can’t ignore a huge mass inside of you. The same goes for lab work. If your lab work comes back abnormal it’s kinda hard to ignore. Or in my case, if you have a blemish that you are sure is something horrible.
I don’t mean to sound like I am whining. But this is real. This is what life after a cancer diagnosis is like. You have scanxiety, blemishxiety, labxiety and any other xiety you can think of. There are a lot of things that I try to do to get rid of the anxiety. Unfortunately, I just can’t snap my fingers and make it go away. Sometimes I can do all the things and I still feel overwhelmed and scared.
One thing that is great about us cancer folks is that we never fight alone. We have people standing by us from the day we are diagnosed and beyond. Those are your people. Take care of those people just as they have taken care of you. We also fight for each other. If we hear of someone who is fighting they are never far from our minds. We are hoping, praying and wishing right along with them.
That old scan is feeling is a hard one to ignore. My time is coming soon and I will be a sweaty palm mess in the scanner. The one thing that keeps me going is that feeling when you hear the words “Your scans are clear.” If for some reason that is not the case; I will know it was found early. That is why we need to be seen so often. That old scan feeling is rough. But we have to power through and keep fighting. Not only for ourselves; but our family, friends and every other person that is diagnosed. Maybe one day cancer and everything that goes along with it can be a thing of the past.