When I read comments in my private Facebook community group, I can see that many people do get concerned about upcoming scans and other rest results. I think the imaging results cause the most angst because those are probably the most telling results someone with Neuroendocrine Cancer will get. Has it grown, has it shrunk? What if …….
Many patients experience fear, anxiety, and worry while waiting for imaging test results. It’s a completely normal and understandable feeling. How can you conquer this fear or is it just something you have to live with?
Personally, I look at things more clinically than the average person, perhaps that’s just the way my brain is wired. For example, I try not to be concerned about results over which I have little control once the test had been completed. I sit tight and don’t try to second guess what the doctors will find. One of the clichés I use is “Don’t cross the bridge until you come to it” and I think that is great advice. However, during the discussions which then ensue in such threads in my group, it appears some people need a little bit more help. Some people call this “Scanxiety” (I don’t). The original meaning of this proverb was to deal with a situation when and not before, it occurs. If it occurs at all. I accept not everyone will be able to deal with this in a similar way but if you have this issue, here are 8 tips that might help you feel less anxious waiting on results.
1. You’re not alone! Remember that your feelings are normal.
2. Don’t assume the worst. Easy to say but think about all the other tests you’ve had done where there was suggested stability or even less tumour load seen. Remember, your doctor is not ordering scans simply to find tumours. They are checking for stability while hoping for a reduction too. Think of imaging surveillance as a good and positive thing!
3. Take control! When your doctor orders the tests, keep a record of the what, why and when. Make it feel like you are in control of the process.
4. Neuroendocrine Cancer: turn surveillance into a positive – click to read
5. Be careful online. Googling stuff related to your situation can often produce negative results which worsen your anxiety.
6. Keep busy and keep normal. Take your mind off the waiting, keep doing all the things you need to do. Don’t cancel stuff you would be doing, don’t change your routine, that will just make you focus more on the waiting and worrying.
7. Take a walk. Go for a walk, scenic if possible. Regular exercise has been shown to help with anxiety. You don’t have to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or the London Marathon to get this benefit.
8. Ask others for help, write what you feel. This is where my group helps I guess. Talking with people who have been in the same situation as you can help you feel more connected, more empowered, making you feel more normal.
Remember, don’t cross the bridge until you come to it. If you still find yourself trying to cross, go back to number 1 and start again.
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