Learning to Take and Scanxiety

I have been a care giver for most of my life, even as a child. That caregiving led to the need to control situations that I could not influence, which led to constant levels of anxiety that were exhausting. My anxiety and desire to control did not allow me to be the mom I should have been. I’ve been struggling recently with some decisions that are needed to improve my quality of life.

When I was first diagnosed with de novo MBC, it was right during audit week at my company – the busiest time of the year for me. On top of reeling with the news and trying to digest what that meant for me, I also knew it was up to me to get the end of fiscal year activities completed, since I am a department of one. I have continued to work since my income is needed by my family and because my health insurance comes through my employment there. I think I also needed to continue working to prove that cancer would not change me; would not get the best of me; would not slow me down. Fast forward 2 years and I find myself in the same busy season at work – the audit is next week. I will be working in the elevator office everyday next week and I’m worried how my body will handle it. I also know that cancer has changed me and has slowed me down. I really don’t feel the need to prove anything to anyone now.

LEARNING TO TAKE

My priority goal now is to accept help; to allow others to care for me. I am hiring my house cleaned, since there are things I cannot do physically and others that make me so tired that I cannot do anything else the rest of the day if I clean. That is no way to live. I am napping when I am tired. My body tries to tell me what it needs and I am determined to stop and listen to it. I am re-thinking meal planning and grocery shopping since Dave and I will soon be empty nesters. I am not a fan of cooking so I need to shop differently so I don’t eat junk food just because I’m too tired to prepare a meal.

SCANXIETY

Tomorrow I have treatment 33 at Barnes. Dave will get home from work around 4:30 am in time to shower and grab a quick nap before we leave at 6:30 to head to St Louis. After my treatment I will get a brain MRI. It has been 3 months since I had the second round of gamma knife on my brain tumors so it is time to see what is happening up there. The word I want to hear from the result is “unremarkable.” That would mean the 9 tumors that have been treated are the same or smaller and there are no new tumors. When you have MBC you live your life in 3 month time spans. “Good scans” let you breathe a sigh of relief for another 3 months. Bad scans mean you have to gear up for another battle. I won’t get results until late Thursday so I need to just let this anxiety go, which is easier said than done. No amount of worrying will change what is happening in my brain now in terms of cancer. I need to have the scan so we know what we are dealing with. Still, I’m typing this at 3 am so that pretty much tells you where my mind is.

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