Tomorrow is my first PET/CT at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville since we moved from Miami to Orlando last month. It’s not my first scan, more like the 20th or so since my de novo Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) in 2017, but it’s the second one after the cancer in my body spread to my liver and the first after the end of the IV chemo Taxotere. This scan will tell us if Xeloda on its own is doing the job of keeping the Mets in check.
I’ve written before about scanxiety, that persistent anxiety no matter the specific circumstances once you’ve had a diagnosis when a scan is coming. You can read that post here. I wrote that post when I’d been stable on my first line of treatment (Ibrance and Letrozole) long enough that the interval between scans had been extended from three months to six months.
It’s very different this time.
The scans in October of 2021 and January of 2022 were bad and signaled progression, the most significant game changer was January when we discovered the liver Mets. Yes, my scan in April was good and indicated that the combination of Taxotere and Xeloda was working. But the last two scans looking at the efficacy of the oral medication I’d been on were bad, life changing bad.
And in the back of my mind, I’ve been waiting for that other shoe to drop, to have to again enter into the chaos of changing treatment with all of the adjustments to side effucks and insurance issues galore. Having never suffered from anxiety like this before my diagnosis, adjusting and finding coping skills to handle this regular anxiety no matter what is going on, has been a significant challenge. And I incorrectly think I’m equipped to handle it each time.
But each time, I find myself in this valley of certainty that things will go badly. Sometimes I think this just might be my brain attempting to prepare the rest of my body for bad news so that good news is unexpected. I can get myself worked up quite a bit as I’ve convinced myself that bad news is coming.
Generally, I’m pretty good in a crisis. I’m good at delaying the emotional freak out while needing to make decisions. It’s kinda my super power in handling MBC and the stresses of life. When things are bad, I get calm and clear and focused. At the same time, that reaction takes a toll and the eventual emotional freak out is probably worse because it was put off and allowed to fester a bit, plus it comes out sideways sometimes. I should probably send a blanket apology to some of the hapless insurance people who caught the edge of that reaction. 🥴
So, if you think of it today, I’d appreciate all of the prayers, good wishes, juju, glitter, happy thoughts or whatever floats your boat. I’m trying to remain hopeful and positive as I go about my day and prepare for the trip up to Mayo tonight.