A TGB READER STORY: The Sunflower Meditation
Oops. Sorry About My Wednesday Mistake

A Week of Worry

While some of you are reading this today, I am at the medical center to drop off a couple of vials of blood with the phlebotomists (wonderful word), meet with my new oncologist and then undergo an ultrasound scan to (gulp) determine if the chemo I've been taking for two months is doing what it is meant to do.

What that is, is to slow the growth of the cancer – it cannot cure the cancer - thereby giving me some number of extra months of healthy life.

Because the scan happens every two months, it is easy to forget about it for six or seven weeks and get on with everyday life.

But not this week.

My previous chemotherapy regimen failed at its job so I know what that conversation with the doctor is like.

This is my first scan since the new chemo began and I'm nervous. You might even say scared. How about frightened, terrified and unnerved?

They all apply and sometimes, this week, it had been hard not to cry. Anticipation is a bitch.

There is no dearth of advice on coping with what a couple of websites call “scanxiety” - itself a grossly inept attempt to make light of a serious health predicament.

Worse, the advice itself doesn't improve things. It ranges from surrounding oneself with positive people and thinking of scans as maintenance (clearly written by someone who never had cancer) to this deeply misleading nonsense:

”Even when we do find that cancer has spread, we can usually craft a plan to control the disease so it doesn’t continue to spread and cause more problems.”

Not true.

Which leaves me exactly nowhere except to tough it out. I wish it were not so but I'm pretty sure that a not small percentage of you, dear readers, have been exactly where I am right now. Somehow we survive the anticipation.

I'll let you know what the scan reveals.



Comments

Good luck, Ronni. Hoping to hear good news.

Thinking about you today and every day.

Good luck. I hope your trepidation is for naught!!

Waiting for test results sucks.
Thinking of you.

I am in your corner! I hope for the best of all news. If you don't receive good news, I hope you are not given annoying platitudes. If my comment gives you a smidgeon of fortitude that would make my day.

Love
Peggy

Hoping with you for the best.

I would cross my fingers, but they've become so arthritic I can't do that anymore. Regardless, I am hoping for the best possible news for you.

Would it help, to try to summon back the insights you received in your psilocybin experience?

The scan doesn't change anything. Whatever it tells you, already is. Your body and the chemo have been interacting, one way or another. Is it better to know how that's turning out, than not know?

My answer might be different from yours. On the one hand, knowing lets you plan and set priorities. But on the other... if you've been focusing on living as well as you can, having your attention wrenched back is stressful.

And, maybe ask your doctors why they are doing the scan. If there are adjustments they might make to the chemo based on the results, then sure, you really want them to have that data. If not, then... whether you have any more scans should be your choice, not theirs.

Thinking about you and wishing I could hug you. Hope the wait for results is brief.

Hopefully you will know the results today without more waiting. Wishing you much relief and successful chemo results.

You are in my thoughts and heart.

I don’t know good words to write to you but I’m here to read yours and send you my love. Hugs,

More thoughts, prayers, support, and good vibes to get you through this day and the days ahead...whatever they may hold. Hugs, Carol

Sitting in the unknown has been my life’s biggest challenge. It’s a bitch.

Ronni, have you ever seen the Wim Wenders movie, Wings of Desire? Perhaps it will help even the tiniest fraction of a bit to think of all your commenters and well-wishers invisibly and silently hovering around you during today's ordeal, like those protective angels. But you may not see these comments until day is done. Still, we are here, coast-to-coast, and there, with you in spirit, hoping for and with you for a good result.

Anxiety sucks! And waiting for test results suck! I’m so sorry and I hope the moments of calm return.

Like all your other cyber friends, I’m thinking of you and sending all kinds of good vibes your way. By the way, tears can be very therapeutic too!
We all love you.

Imagine that all the comments from your devoted and loving readers were a quilt of post it notes . Wrap yourself in it while you wait and take it with you to the dr’s.
Thinking of you.
Love ,
Lynn

You are in my thoughts today and every day. And there really are legions us out here in cyber world who care about you.

We have so much love for you here, Ronni. Best of fortune today.

Patty...NY - that's one of my favorite movies and you penned the scene beautifully.

Ronni, I read your blogs to prepare me for when something like this happens to me. Just reading a blow-by-blow account of your tests and emotions is very moving and educational. I've had enough medical tests to visual a little of what you are going through, but it's near impossible to imagine your fear. However, reading about it will help me deal with my fear when my time comes. You are providing a useful service to your readers. Except when we're taking care of dying parents, we seldom think about what our lasts days will be like. I think knowing more will help us. I believe reading about your fears and anxiety will help me with mine in the future. You are ten years older than I am, so reading your blog is a lesson about my future.

"On very bad days, when I’m sure I can’t take anymore, I try to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days is 100%"

I wish I had written this.

Holding you in my heart! Ali

Sending love, Ronni.

Waiting for test results really builds those emotional control muscles, something none of us actually ever would want to do. My heart aches for you.

We're all grateful you're sharing this experience, though, because we all wonder "what if?" with each doctor visit. Well, this is "what." So generous of you!

Ronni, of course I am thinking about you and wishing you well. I have this vision of all of us -- a la Patty-in-New-York -- hovering around you and protecting you from the malign forces. But our words have to suffice at this point. I know that I have had terrified moments at various times - I suspect most of us have - but following you during this ordeal, with all the trepidations and fears that you of course experience, has taught me a lot. But not just the trepidations and fears -- you are producing a memorable record of insights and moments of great depth of understanding that enrich all of us.

As somebody who spends much of her life writing or thinking about writing [on days when I am blocked--], I often return to your blog and find that I gain insight and courage with every re-reading.

I know we all will be waiting for what I dearly hope will be encouraging news post-scan. You are one amazingly strong woman - but you also possess the enviable ability to share, via amazing words, your thoughts and your feelings with us.

Hang in there. Ruth-Ellen

Sending love and prayers! May God give you peace!

Thinking of you, Ronni. So appreciate your honest portrayal of these hard moments.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings on this journey. You are a brave woman. It is a privilege to know you, at least virtually. Remember to breathe. Won't solve the big issues but the breath can help with anxiety.

I keep you and several other friends in my thoughts, and think of each of you individually before I go to sleep at night. I wish you could feel the love from so many old and new friends out there.

Like all the others, I am sending positive thoughts.

waiting … and hoping for positive report.
with you in spirit.
hugs.

Sending you my very best wishes for a good outcome. The waiting for results is awful - I hope they are able to give them to you sooner rather than later.

I have to have an annual lung CT scan every year because of having been an idiot smoker for 20 years (quit 31 years ago) with a couple nodules that require monitoring. Just had this year's scan last week, didn't like thinking about it both before and after while I was awaiting results. Fortunately everything is okay. At least until next time.

Lots of love and prayers, and no advice. Your words, "tough it out" are sometimes all we can do. There are days when I actually feel mad at all the good stuff that isn't cutting it. The meditation that is so good, the knowing how to note, the positive thinking, hey, I'll cop to it, honey, I pray, look in the mirror and tell myself, "I love you, honey," oh, all that good stuff that is usually so helpful. But then, oh then, there are those times when it's more like, "Oh spirit, universe, beloved, god, amma, where the hell ARE you? " And more in the same vein. One night, I sat in front of my cement statue of Kuan Yin, drank two shots of good bourbon, and just let it all hang out. You get the idea............an old teacher of mine used to say, "Those of us who leap high must, sometimes, crouch very low. But who thinks of that when things are really bad?

Do I wish you weren't feeling scared, terrified, or downright miserable? You bet I do! Do I want to make it go away? HMMM. So from afar but near in heart, I sit with you, hold your hand if you want, and just honor whatever it is you're going through. Emphasis on whatever. You have your history to support you, you can do this.

Much love, and some extra prayers.

Wishing you an outcome you can live with---no pun intended. Well, unless it made your dark humor kick in. But seriously, the best of luck today.

(((xxx))) ... no words, just emotions.

Fingers crossed, Ronni.

Yikes! Sure sounds anxiety-provoking to me. We're all hoping for your best.

Dear Ronni
I always read all the Comments and marvel at the wisdom, strength and generosity of your followers and friends. Since English is not my maternal language, I will only say, as we say in my country, « let their words become my words», to better wish you a favourable outcome

Thinking of you, keeping fingers, toes, eyes crossed hoping for a good outcome today.
o/

((((((Ronni))))))
We're all here for you!

In all our thoughts today.
There's nothing wrong with a good cry.

Thinking of you, Ronni. Hugs

My fingers are crossed. I can't possibly speak half as well as those above my in these comments but I can bow my head and pray an agnostics prayer for you - give her more time dear god. More time please.

I am hoping for good news and agree with all of the other friends who have so eloquently expressed their love and concern.

I too am hoping for good news!!

SO hoping for good news!

You are in my prayers. Sending you love and peaceful aqua light.
((((HUGS)))))
Pat C.

Calling all guardian angels.

(((((((((Hugs)))))))))

I can relate to your "scanxiety". My husband is waiting for his results on biopsies taken yesterday. February 8th will be the first anniversary of his cancer (esophageal/gastric) diagnosis. He is glad to be alive given the dreadful prognosis a year ago. We have learned to live one day at a time like so many we know and read about in blogs like yours. Thank you for allowing us to join you on this journey. It has helped us so much! Peace.

Dearest Ronni,
Holding you in my heart. And your name is in my daily prayers. Who cares if anyone is listening?

Ronni, we don’t know each, and wished I could you a friend hug.
M

Fingers and toes crossed in Albuquerque!

We greatly appreciate your courage in sharing your experiences, Ronni. We also love your frankness and your sense of humor!

My sister's initial Stage 4 cancer diagnosis was in 1991, yet somehow she managed on until 2017 so she lived with scans, the oncologist visits, etc. for a very long time. But she always said that no matter how much she loved us and knew how much we loved her - the only people who could fully understand what she was going through were fellow passengers on the same train.

"What if" and "if only" are some of the deadliest words in English. Mostly because they are provoked by helplessness. I have found it useful to follow the implications to the dreadful end. What if your treatment is not helping? Then: you may die sooner than hoped for and many other events associated with that. Can you face it? You already are facing it. If only you had known earlier! Then: you might have had longer to live, healthy. That's true. And you might have been hit by a car and killed. Who knows what differences would be created in our lives by a change of events in the past?

Timor mortis conturbat me. We are all going to be terrified, at times, as we face dying, unless we go in half a second. It's really hard to imagine yourself ending. And the rest of the world going on, almost as if you had never happened. I very much hope your test show that your treatment is helping, Ronni. Maybe all of our good wishes will affect the outcome of your illness for the better - I hope so. Life's a bitch, and then . . .

Thank you, Mary, for these gentle calming thoughts.

Sending thoughts of hope. You are facing such formidable challenges. Your open dialogue about your cancer and thoughts and fears are so valuable to so many of us who read your blog. Thank you for your insight. Having never met you, I still wish I could reach out and hug you.

Waiting for test results is one of the stressful aspects of medical treatment. Holding you in love. Wish you good results.

I sure feel for you, Ronni.

A good cry really can help.

Waiting to hear.

"There is no dearth of advice on coping with what a couple of websites call 'scanxiety' - itself a grossly inept attempt to make light of a serious health predicament."

I take exception to that sentence for two reasons.

First, "scanxiety" is not a term of just a "couple of websites." It is a universally utilized term employed by virtually every cancer patient in every cancer support group and forum that I've ever read online.

Second, it is not a "grossly inept attempt to make light of a serious health predicament." It is a serious portmanteau that aptly and soberly conveys the terror surrounding learning test results that may determine whether one is healthy or faces imminent death. Just because it is an invented word does not, ipso facto, make it a frivolous one. I usually agree with you, so I am amazed that you could have gotten this so wrong.

"This is my first scan since the new chemo began and I'm nervous. You might even say scared. How about frightened, terrified and unnerved?"

This is completely normal and understandable, but it conflicts with the equanimity that you've written about that you gained from your psychedelic mushrooms experiences. The results of those experiences, you wrote, made fear of death a thing of the past. I found that amazing. Now I'm wondering if that serenity was a temporary phenomenon, and if one needs to keep taking the psychedelics in order to obtain the perspective on life and death that you eloquently described last month.

I find you next to my heart each day. Never alone. Sending love.

I think of death often...I’m older, a widow, cancer runs in my family, I have a dear friend with a returning lung cancer, my Mom died of ovarian cancer and I follow your blog. Beyond that, it’s true, I can’t really relate but I can feel fear and dread.

I’m fairly pragmatic and feel no amount of meditation, thinking of your energy or consciousness going on forever, anxiety drugs (legal and otherwise), positive thinking and the like, changes anything. I’ve even read that the mindset of "fighting the cancer" has no effect on outcome. I don’t know if you ever come to terms with dying, but as someone said, you just endure it.

We can all wish for a sudden heart attack or brain aneurism to take us quickly, but that’s not what usually happens.

Lately I’ve been in this "I just don’t want to know" mindset....let me eat, drink and sit in my garden..fat dumb and happy...

We are with you.

What's the plan for this blog? Out in time, the farther the better, but when "the battle ends" will we be able to re-read "Time Goes By" for some span of time? Perhaps there is a designated successor already in the wings for seemless handoff. Or, it is (irreplaceable) Ronni or nothing and TGB will simply just be gone. In the meantime I hope for a low tumor activity marker result so these questions can be relatively moot.

Whatever the result, you are so loved.
And of course you are scared! You care, so you scare.
Love from Amsterdam

I love you.

You're one profound, creative, and vibrant role model.

You are in my daily prayer.

Ronni, sending love and support.
Lots of hugs too💙💕💙

I think your conflicting feelings and expressions of them here are likely to be expected in times like now, so I do not expect consistent positions in your attitude. Frankly, I would be surprised if it was otherwise. At any one time your view is likely genuinely certain and that’s okay. You don’t need to expect more of yourself. Thank you for allowing this glimpse of what I imagine to be a highly unique experience for each of us. Continuing positive thoughts coming your way.

Holding you in my heart.

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