“Scanxiety”

Most cancer survivors are familiar with the word “scanxiety”; if not the word, then I am certain they can relate to the feelings of anxiety, terror and worry that come with each “scan”. Has the cancer returned? Has it spread?    How will I ever cope with going through chemo again? These are just a few of the questions that were going through my mind as I awaited the results of my recent bone scan.   How did it turn out? Well, they say a picture paints a thousand words, and this one was taken minutes after I got my test results:

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Happy Flo after her good report!

YES! That pesky back pain was not (as I had feared), from metastatic breast cancer, but rather the result of nothing more than some minor arthritis. Not only did my oncologist give me a clean bill of health, but she also discharged me from the cancer clinic! That’s right folks, after three and a half long years, I am no longer considered a “cancer patient”.   You know what that means, right? I am CURED! Enough of this healthy living crap, I can go back to living the way I did BEFORE I had cancer. Hello barbequed steak! Welcome back soft serve ice-cream!! Don’t even bother to re-cork that wine!!! I am CANCER FREE and there is no way that cancer can touch me now!

Well, not exactly, although I do think that some people see it that way. The reality is, I got a good report, THIS TIME. The reality is, there is still no CURE for cancer. The reality is, the very treatments that saved my life, are known to CAUSE cancer. The reality is, for the rest of my life, I will have about a 30% chance of having a cancer RECURRENCE. The reality is, the only way I will ever truly know if I SURVIVED cancer, is if I die from something else.

Don’t get me wrong, I am over the moon with happiness about my good health. I am also overwhelmed by the show of support from my family, friends and colleagues who celebrated this good news with me.

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My wonderful colleagues decorated my office in celebration of my good report.

But don’t fire up the barbeque just yet. I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but I will repeat what you have probably heard from me many times before: my best defense against cancer is still my lifestyle choices.   If only one good thing could come from me having cancer, then I hope it would be the opportunity to share this message with other survivors.

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8 thoughts on ““Scanxiety”

  1. I’m so glad your scan was “just” mild arthritis (funny how things are all about perspective after bc)! I can totally relate, I feel the same way. Every little weird ache and pain lurks in the background of my mind as a cancer recurrence, which I can usually brush aside, but every now and then it gets to me. So glad you’re healthy and ned for NOW! Here’s to a full life xo

  2. This resonated with me greatly. A bit after my one year anniversary, I had my physical which included a pelvic ultrasound for “female problems” I’ve had since I was 13. My GP’s admin called me at 7:30 AT NIGHT stating I must come into the office ASAP. I spent the night in a frenzied panic. What was found? A small kidney stone. The stone never caused an ounce of pain & I just celebrated 4 years of survivorship.

  3. Florence, you are not only Beautiful, you are a true inspiration to all of us !!! THANK YOU for being you & for teaching us that we should Never give up !!! I wish you MANY more Happy & Healthy years to come sweetie ❤

  4. As a breast cancer patient i totally could have wrote those paragraphs myself! Its exactly how im feeling this week . Mine came back as arthritis too. Yet i couldnt understand why im not on top of the moon like everyone else it because i still dont feel safe or cured.
    I also belive ive survived my cancer when i die of somthing else 🙂

    Your words really helped me i dont feel batshit crazy now !
    Thankyou xxx

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