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.”
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.