They call it “scanxiety” and I totally get it now. Tomorrow I will have my first mammogram and ultrasound post-diagnosis and while I’m hoping and praying that the news is good, I’m also scared to death. Just thinking about it brings me to tears.
In the last two weeks, I’ve met with my breast surgeon and medical oncologist for routine follow-up exams and they both did breast exams which seemed to be just fine, but I still can’t help but worry. Of course, it’s no surprise that all of a sudden I’m having phantom pain in my affected breast, which could also be muscle strain from swimming, yardwork, and kayaking, but trust me when I say that rationality has nothing to do with this.
My brain automatically goes to questions like: “What if the cancer isn’t gone after all?” “What if it has spread?” “Will I be willing to go through aggressive treatment again?” “Will I just give up and let the cancer take me?” “Do I have what it takes to fight this again?”
And, assuming that I get a free pass this time, what about next year, and the year after that? And when I start having other medical issues, I’m sure I’ll automatically think it’s the cancer spreading, and in all likelihood that will be what my doctors will think as well.
No matter what I do to stay healthy and to follow my new “survivorship care plan” prepared by my medical team, this will be my life from now on. I’ll get a reprieve between scans or between medical issues, and even then, cancer will always be in the background, looming large.