Scanxiety, a reexamination

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.

48 thoughts on “Scanxiety, a reexamination

  1. Sending you every hug, wish and beautiful thought. Is there anything nice you can visit or do in Jacksonville that isn’t cancer related? Something to take your mind off…..

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  2. So much love !!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️😘

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  3. Sending prayers and healing vibes. This road isn’t a nicely paved on for us. Potholes, dusty, bumpy and the occasional obstacle we must turn around and take a detour for. Here’s to the scan showing you a beautiful paved road you get to travel on for a long while. ♥️

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  4. Lots of good thoughts and prayers for you. Our paths are similar. They discovered it was in my liver in January, had spread in my bones, and is in my bone marrow. It has been a nightmare of biopsies, scans, tests, and failed medication (Xeloda did nothing but leave my lip numb). Now my blood counts are bad and they keep delaying chemo. I have this vision of Cancer gleefully running rampant through my body! and I have no control. My scans are in a couple of weeks.

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  5. Dear Abigail,
    Praying for an overwhelming flood of God’s peace, that His presence would be known to you during this Mayo trip, kind-hearted people with loving words as they accomplish their clinical tasks, clarity for next steps. ❤️🙏❤️🙏🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️

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  6. Praying for your peace and most of all, good results. Every time I see an email that says new results posted, usually with an exclamation point, like it’s fun or exciting, I get a wave of anxiety over my whole body immediately. You are not alone, but it sucks. I’ll be waiting to hear the good news. 🙏🏼❤️🙏🏼

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  7. Abigail, you have endured so much already!! I’ll be praying for you and will share your post with my cancer support groups.🙏❤️

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  8. Prayers and good thoughts to you Abigail. My sister had Mets on her liver and they gave her Taxotere and Carboplatin for 6 treatments 3 weeks apart (along with Perjeta and Ogivri). She was going to have radiation also but when she had her scans before radiation the liver had no evidence of disease so no radiation! They have continued with the Perjeta and Ogivri for 11 more treatments (because she is HER2+) and she was going to “ring the bell” last week and her Oncologist decided to continue a little while longer since her scans have been good. She has another PET/CT coming Monday. There is good results and I hope you have a great scan as well.

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  9. Wishing you can a favorable report, Abigail. I can totally understand why you’d have scanxiety. Hoping you sleep well and don’t stress too much.

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  10. Sweet Abigail, I pray that your day went well. There is no need to try to sugarcoat what you are going through. You are honest, and I believe that is what God desires. I pray that you will be healed in Jesus’ name. Amen and let it be so.

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  11. We are in this together. I am the sister mentioned above. Stage IV HER2positive MBC. DIAGNOSED June 2021. I DID go thru radiation on my boob only. If it shows up in liver again I’ll have radiation there. Have you heard of the shot ‘phesgo’? That’s what oncologist thinks in lieu of infusion every 3 weeks. Has the same meds as infusion but doesn’t take hrs to get. So comforting to see someone else going thru this with MBC. My scan is Monday. I am praying for good news for us both!

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      1. Thank you. I’m just nervous about shot being I injected under skin. I’ve already got a port and it won’t be removed for awhile so why not continue to use It in lieu of shot?

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      2. I hear you. Sounds like maybe another conversation with your doc is in order. Or perhaps a second opinion. Sometimes what our docs think will be “better” isn’t really better for us.


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