Today was my 16th cystoscopy. My bladder cancer fighting buddy and I call the appointments ‘knicks off’ for obvious reasons. I’m still having 3 monthly ones due to the recurrences but at some point, they’ll be 6 monthly and then annually. Always. Like every other bladder cancer patient / fighter / thriver I’ll be having them for the rest of my life.
On the one hand it’s reassuring to be able to see that everything is alright (or not) but on the other the lead up is so nerve wracking. It’s called ‘scanxiety’ for a reason. Not only stressful for me but for all my family and friends too.
Today’s scope was all clear thankfully and my urologist was almost as jubilant as I was. I have 4 strategies for dealing with this ‘scanxiety’:
- Let the people around you and near to you know. The love and power they can send you beforehand is palpable and worth its weight in gold.
- Stay focused on the present and don’t spin off into the ‘what if’s’. At the point you are feeling ‘scanxiety’ there is nothing you can do or change about the outcome, but you can change what your mind focuses on.
- Breathe. Take deep breaths in and out through your nose. Inhale to a count of 4 and exhale to a count of 4. Do this for 90 seconds or longer and you will feel less anxious.
- Meditate. Meditation makes the biggest difference to my overall state. With every meditation the sense of calm increases and the anxiety decreases. All you have to do is sit in silence and listen to your breaths. Kris Carr has some tips on mediating and on scanxiety (she’s a longterm cancer thriver) and Headspace are expert mediators.
May all your next scans be all clear too and may you find more peace of mind beforehand!