I’m on a private Facebook group for cancer patients and caregivers who all have one type of cancer. And one thing that gets talked about a great deal is both patients and their caregivers getting scan-anxiety or scanxiety. As both a cancer survivor and a caregiver I can relate. But what worries me is how many folks seem to cope with alcohol and drugs. There is a lot of chatter about mowing while drunk, or popping several xanex to cope, etc. I get being nervous I do, but those behaviors really don’t help you or your charge.
The quotes below are one I believe in when it comes to worry. My first boss taught me not to worry by having me write down everything I was worried would happen every morning, then every evening, before leaving he would go over my list with me and we would see how many actually came true. Very few. Then he started working with me to make plans for preventing the ones I could control and even fewer came to pass. He taught me to take action on the ones I could do something about and to ignore the rest. It put you in charge of your day and your life. He trained the worry wart right out of me.
Here are my favorite quotes on worry:
When my anxious inner thoughts become overwhelming, your comfort encourages me.
Tips for coping with scan anxiety:
Distract yourself and stay busy Staying busy leading up to your scan will keep your mind occupied and keep you from focusing on the upcoming scan or scan results. Take a short trip, make a new recipe, watch your favorite TV show, read a book, listen to music, try a new hobby or call a friend to take your mind off your nerves.
Share your story Many survivors want to share their stories to encourage those facing a new diagnosis and give back to the community of support that helped them through their cancer journey. It can help take your mind off of your own anxiety by talking to other people who are in a similar situation.
Meditate or pray What relaxes you? Music? Walking? Yoga? Relaxing is not only good for your overall health, but it can also help with anxiety. Accepting that you cannot control your results can help reduce your scan anxiety. Whether your way of meditation is praying, yoga, sitting quietly or listening to calming music, find what helps you relax and do it. Two apps I like are Aura and Calm. Reading the bible and praying for others in worse shape than I am or my charge is in helps me appreciate that regardless of the results, we are doing ok.
Exercise I’m not a big exerciser even though I know it is great for me. And I know exercise helps bust stress. You feel more energetic after exercising than before, go figure. So look for ways to add into your day. Park further away so you get more steps in. Walk the entire grocery not just the two aisles you need. Set a alarm and walk at least 5 minutes of each hour. Bend deeper with each reach picking something up. Realize Yoga or walking are good even if you can’t do cardio.
Treat yourself One way to take your mind off your is to treat yourself. What is fun for you? What is your favorite hobby? I enjoy painting, someone else might enjoy a drive through the countryside. Bob loves drives and puzzles. Watch a funny movie together, get with a friend and give each other a mani-pedi, swing by and get your favorite ice cream cone or other dairy treat. Take your dog on a walk. Simply enjoy the day..
Know when and how you will receive your results Ask your doctor how and when the results will come. Will you be called, will they be posted online or will you receive a letter and when? Knowing this information will make you feel more in control of your journey. Plan your “results day” in advance so you can make the waiting period less stressful. It is better to feel anxious for 10 minutes than for 10 days. Ask a friend or family member to be with you for morale support. if you are super worried.
Acknowledge your anxiety Feeling anxious is normal. Talk to your family, friends and healthcare provider about your nerves. They are a system of support for you in your journey.