Tag Archives: scanxiety

Aspirational amnesia

I’ve been traveling a lot. So much so that when my alarm sounded this morning my first thought was ‘where am I?’.

Oh yeah.

Before dawn, warm bed and suddenly I felt a delicious sense of avoidance. What if I just decided not to drive into Boston. Didn’t look at that scan, didn’t read that report.

Cancer, what cancer?

This would be a great day to just sit one out. Close my eyes, count to ten. Forget about it. Really, just forget about it.

Emotional hooky.

But no. The dog needs to be walked, Alice will be waiting, the world will keep turning.


Before my last scan–the one that showed progression–I was anxious. But that was because I knew something was up.

In the four plus years prior, I had let go of scanxiety. However, that was possible because of a sustained period of stability. Stability was the closest thing I’ve had to feeling truly safe in the last fourteen years and it was freaking glorious.

Now that I’m back on that active cancer rollercoaster, scans are once again something to be dreaded. However, there is a difference in how I feel this time around. It is not anxiety. Hell, I know what’s coming; it’s more like I just don’t want to know. It’s as if there’s a big fat court summons lying in a sealed envelope on my kitchen table and as long as I don’t open it I can keep pretending that it’s just not there.

Scanvoidance. That’s my new terminology. The goddamn it why-do-I-have to-live-these-month-to-month blues.

Gets old, it does. But then again, so have I. Older. And that’s something to embrace.

I’ll keep you posted.

An uncommon degree of anxiety

Last Tuesday I had a chest CT scan and tomorrow I have an appointment with Alice (Dr. Shaw) to go over the report.  Generally, Alice calls as soon as she reviews the films, but last week she was in Japan for the Xalkori launch.

I am experiencing a wicked case of scanxiety;  a term often used by cancer patients to describe the dread one feels in regard to scans.

Per the protocol for the LDK378 trial, I have CT scans of my chest and abdomen every six weeks. Usually, the whole process feels a bit routine and I don’t find myself too troubled as I wait for results.

I slept fitfully last night; twice roused from sleep by terrifying dreams. Between one and four in the morning, I couldn’t sleep at all. Today, I found my thoughts returning again and again to the scans.

I am trying to understand why I feel so anxious. Symptomatically, I have become aware of increasing shortness of breath. When I lay down at night the wheeze in my left upper lobe is quite audible.

This morning, I found a brief email in my inbox from Alice. She made no mention of the scans. I am currently in such a state, that I have interpreted that omission as a bad omen.

Hopefully, this is all a bit of nonsense on my part and I will return from the appointment bearing news of a reasonable report. For the moment, it is fingers crossed, ativan at the ready.