I’m tired today. Maybe my fun-filled life of activities is catching up with me. Maybe I got a little too much sun this weekend. Maybe I just didn’t sleep well.
Out of all of those potential reasons, I’m gonna have to say that it’s probably because of the third.
I have written before about how I haven’t been the best sleeper over the past couple of years. I go to bed late and I wake up early. I don’t always sleep through the night. I drool a lot. But ever since this whole cancer thing was no more, I have to say that my sleep has been improving. Well, I still drool a lot. But, for the most part, I’ve been sleeping through the night a lot more often.
Until I saw a commercial that really freaked me out.
Yesterday, as I’m minding my own business eating the stuffed peppers I made for dinner, a commercial comes on TV and I hear “Hodgkin lymphoma” and “relapse” in the same sentence. I think I stopped chewing (something I do not do while in the middle of a meal. Once my younger brother started choking during dinner and I did not stop eating the whole time it took him to cough up the food). The commercial told the story of a woman who had Hodgkin lymphoma that relapsed after being cancer free and so she was recommended to go to a different hospital and now she was going through a different treatment and was feeling so great that she even moved to a different house during chemo. That’s pretty impressive to me because I couldn’t even move to a different side of the bed most days after chemo.
She really did look great though. Her big line was “I’m like everybody else. The only difference is that I go for treatments every two weeks.” Me and you both sister.
Anyway. Why I stopped chewing my food was because an actual panic set over me. Next week I go for three-month follow up scans. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t wanna throw up just thinking about it. Scanxiety is in full swing and I hate Every. Single. Moment. I try and push it out of my mind, but it’s there and I’m accepting it. And I know that this fear is irrational. I don’t feel any lumps or bumps, I haven’t felt sick, I don’t show any symptoms at all. But that little stupid fact that there is some percentage of a chance the cancer can come back has moved from a place very far back in my mind to right up close.
So, I’ve already been bugging that I have scans next week. And then I see this commercial of a woman who had RELAPSED with HODGKIN LYMPHOMA. Like what the heck, man?!?! Is the universe telling me something? Am I relapsing? Did I forget to swallow my food? Is this lady even a real cancer patient or is she just an actor? I must call the hospital being advertised to find out.
The commercial ended and I just said “what the hell?” And then I looked at my beautiful stuffed peppers and forgot about everything I just saw. Food has and will always be my coping mechanism, what can I say.
But then when I was trying to fall asleep, the images of that woman planting flowers at her new home came flooding in. And this time, there were no vegetables stuffed with rice and turkey meat to help me. And I freaked. I did a full body check for lumps. I took my temperature. I tried to talk myself out of this total freak out. I came close to emailing my doctor to move up the scan.
After however long it took me to work myself up, I talked myself down. I feel great. I look great (tooting my own horn but I got a compliment on my hair AND my tan today so I feel GUHD). I’ll hear from my doctor in two weeks about the results of my scan, and until then I can’t do anything. I’ll live my life the way I’ve been living it, before that commercial threw me for a loop.
Someone I work with had cancer years and years ago. And next month she goes for a scan. She told me that she still gets nervous leading up to her scans, every year. And that nervousness is normal.
It sucks, but this scanxiety comes a long with cancer. I will go through this same exact feeling three more times over the next year, then twice a year and then annually for the rest of my life. This won’t be my last late night freak out. But now I know to always keep a snack in my nightstand drawer.
I already titled a post about scanxiety and I couldn’t think of anything else so I just went with stuffed peppers. I’d share the recipe but I kinda just threwsome turkey chili and quinoa/rice mixture into bell peppers and hoped for the best. And then I didn’t take a picture because I just wanted to eat and I didn’t know they would be a focus of today’s blog. Bye!
Also, here’s an article about my doctor at NYP, Dr. Lisa Roth, who I share a lot in common with. She rules!!!!