Monday, 23 March 2015

Scanxiety-maybe it is...maybe it isn't...

Oooh yes ive had an MRI/CT Scan before they're not nice bla bla bla.


It's so not the same.

Yours was most likely for something non life threatening and easily treatable and you'd most likely forgotten all about it when your results were back in, you weren't jumping everytime your phone rang, or answering with held PPI calls because you thought it was the hospital calling.

On diagnosis I had a CT and Bone Scan. Both were "standard" practice for my hospital trust,both terrifying. CT scan fine, bone scan showed a "little something" which was "non concerning" but my oncologist (the fact that at 31 I had an oncologist and a "team" is terrifying enough) wanted to get an MRI "just to rule everything out" and when I broke down he re-phrased this to using it as a "baseline" for further scans.

2 things 
1) ruling stuff out less than a month after diagnosis is not good and is quite frankly terrifying.

2) a baseline for the future reiterates that my life from now on will be one long road of scans and waiting, and waiting, and re-scanning and re-scanning and waiting.


But Cancer won't change me, im not going to let Cancer win,im going to fight this. Brilliant, try telling this to yourself whilst waiting 7 days for the MRI results, or as the medics breezily say "Erm ONLY 6-7 days", which should actually translate as being the longest 6-7 days of your entire life.

During this time you will have every symptom going, it will keep you awake each night, it will give you anxiety in the back of your throat (which you can't now have a ciggie to take it away because Yep you have Cancer and smoking is something else you've had to give up), so instead what happens is that you cry, and cry, and cry, and then when everyone has gone to sleep you cry some more and Google the symptoms that you have now convinced yourself that your having, and then Yep you guessed it,you cry some more. 

So then the big day arrives, and your at the clinic and someone casually puts up a notice saying that the clinic is delayed by 45 minutes. Obviously this is because they have seen my MRI results and it's bad news so that've called a last minute MDT (multi-displinary team) meeting. The fact that the onc,surgeon, radiographer, Breast care nurses etc all need to be present in these meetings and wouldn't be able to do this last minute doesn't enter your head. This is the only reason that the clinic is delayed, for sure. 

So you wait, and you wait, and you stare at the corridor listening to your heart pounding in your chest, the person you have brought with you is making small talk or trying to make you laugh but all you do is think that when you go into that room your world is going to be turned upside yet again.

"Aimee Fletcher" -oh shit, oh crap, oh god. Suddenly you don't want to go in that room but you have to,so you do. The doctor will most probably smile and ask how you are, you want to scream "how do you think I am?" "Fabulous" "loving life at the minute" but instead you squeek "ok." In this particular instance I was casually told "oh yes,don't be worried,it's fine,it's all clear, most likely wear and tear or a weakened bone."


And all is well for maybe the rest of the day? Week?
Ok,this scan was now 7/8days ago,what if something has changed in this time?  And so it starts. Urgh. This isn't on the Cancer adverts, no one does a 5k run to raise awareness for Scanxiety but it's real,very real and it's up there with the worst things about having Cancer.

I can say that 6 scans later (and awaiting an MRI date for my pelvis) that you some how learn to except that this is what has to happen, this is now your reality. Crying and worrying won't change the results, it's happening anyway regardless of the scan so the scan just informs us and lets our "team" get a plan together OR in MOST cases it turns out to be nothing more than a baseline to go from in future (yay).

I will remind myself of this the next time im awaiting results, I could also write about the on going you might have bone mets saga but I will save that for another time.