My mom just found a word that helped me a lot: scanxiety, a state of continuous anxiety brought on by scheduling, waiting for, taking, and waiting for the results of scans.
Yep. That’s the word.
The only thing in my previous life that ever upset me so continuously for so long was waiting for the results of sending out my writing for consideration–for a contest, or publication in a magazine, or whatever. Awaiting some stranger’s judgment on my most personal of endeavors is beyond nerve-wracking. Honestly, for me it borders on personality-destabilizing. The only thing worse than waiting for word, is if there’s a way for me to go check for word. I check so many times a day I lose count.
Scanxiety is the same bloody way, except it’s not just about the wait for the results. My insanity starts before the scans are even done.
The next month is a non-stop parade of medical horse-puckey. Therapy today. Neurologist on the 3rd. Blood work on the 9th. MRI the 11th. CT and TTE on the 17th. Likely another MRI on the 22nd. Therapy and blood work again on the 23rd. Philly visit #4 on the 25th. Dentist the 30th. Skin scan on September 6th. Bare days go by without some form of upset. A week between is a luxury.
I’ve had so much blood work done that the best phlebotomist in town can no longer reliably get blood from my best vein. “Yeah, we’ve gotta let that one rest. Sorry,” he says, wincing as he does good work with my other, more temperamental vein. He gestures at the insides of both my elbows, now bandaged and taped. “I hate to have anybody go out of here matching.”
Dude, at this point, the tape on my elbows is nothing compared to the mess in my head and heart. I haven’t even bothered recording the tightness in my chest in my symptom diary for TJU; the feeling is so continuous, so grinding that it can only be anxiety.
Scratch that. Scanxiety. Because even when I’m not actively in the medical pipeline, I know I soon will be. The only thing more invasive than medical procedures is living with the thoughts of them on continuous loop in my head.
I’ve got 21 days left on my chemo. The scans won’t reduce frequency for another year, but at least the blood work might.
I’m beyond ready.