When My World Slows Down

Hello anxiety my old friend.

Three times a year everything gets weird, slows down. In May/June, when I get my annual diagnostic mammogram. Then in September, when it’s time to see the oncologist (although maybe this year will be the last time, fingers crossed), and then when I see the gynecologist, although that’s the least worrisome (sometimes). So the first and worst approaches, this Friday.

I tell myself I shouldn’t be so paranoid, shouldn’t dread this so much. Then the other half of my brain perks up and reminds me of being so caught off guard when I got my first-ever mammo back in 2010, got that false negative, and then a month later had a whole bunch to worry about.

Yes, I am worried that I am not worried enough.

So I do this dumb thing, every year. I cannot plan beyond the date of the mammogram. Well, not literally of course. I have work gigs set up for the next couple of months, even one for later the day of the mammogram. That’s something I usually avoid. I remember all too well taking a morning off from work that one day, thinking what an annoyance it was to get an inverted nipple checked out. Then spending the rest of the day bouncing around various hospital screening departments. Even seeing a breast surgeon that very same day (who moved away shortly after I met her, so she was never really a part of that whole thing).

It’s odd that my memory of this so clear, that I’m so marked by it to the point I am still, STILL, skittish about making any plans for the day I get a mammogram. I get very focused on the day (Friday, this time) and cannot allow myself to imagine what I will do on Saturday.

Argh slow down a minute please.Because I still half expect my world to get turned upside down. Again.

I know enough now to know this feeling will never go away. Yes, the dread “lead in” time is less. I’ve only begun to fixate on it today. I am so good at distracting myself now that I can hold the panic at bay, for a little while. Being busy with work helps, being an angry political activist helps, YouTube helps, stupid cat memes help. Until today.

Today I cannot think about anything beyond Friday and am vaguely annoyed by a world that keeps on spinning, by people looking forward to things that will happen later this summer. I want everything, the whole world, to just slow down for a minute, until I can get Friday over with.

Then I can go forward again.

I asked myself today to be at peace with this thing I do, this stupid habit of panic and anxiety. I cannot. I still find all of this unfair. I know “it’s not fair” whining doesn’t help, doesn’t matter. But I still feel that way.

I still hate this.

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Author: Cancer Curmudgeon

Oct 2010 diagnosed with Stage 3, HER2+ Breast Cancer. Completed treatment Jan 2012. Waaaaaay over pink. Applying punk rock sensibility to how I do cancer.

5 thoughts on “When My World Slows Down”

  1. My breast cancer was very tiny. In October 2003 I was diagnosed with DCIS Comedo Type estrogen negative. I had no symptoms. No lumps. Just had “a feeling” something was not right. Everything I saw spoke to me of breast cancer. I ended up missing my appointment and going into a panic and asking to see the next doctor available. I had a stereostatic breast biopsy in front of residents in order to get it done faster. Got myself a surgeon. Had a lumpectomy. And 12 weeks of radiation. I scheduled the radiation during my lunch hour because i read it was better to come back to people then go home. Good call. I’ve been clear for 16 years. Had thyroid cancer and CLL leukemia. Suddenly I’m getting those”feelings” again. 🥺🥺. My Gyno appt is in three weeks. I’m with you totally in hoping it’s not “here we go again”. Good luck to you 😊. Good luck to me.
    Kerry

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  2. I have refused to have any scans since my dx in Dec. of 2015,( Stage II-B invasive lobular, es/pg/pos, 3 involved nodes) though I have had a mammo since then. I am having my very first scan later this month, after giving in to my husband’s pleading. (He has cancer too, Stage IV lung with mets to brain..and our household never gets to forget about caner for a second. )
    I quit chemo after one round..could not tolerate the side effects, and likewise quit the AI pills after a few months for the same reason. If I have mets, I do not plan to have chemo now either. My plan is palliative care only. So basically, in a few weeks, I find out where I’m at. Part of me is terrified, the other part is calm. No matter what though, I refuse to let it ruin this gorgeous June!

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  3. So timely…I made an appt. with my GYN due to lower abdominal pains; 2 days before the appt. I discover a lump in my LF breast. Long story short-after biopsies, I was diagnosed with breast and uterine cancer. Surgeries and treatments – 5 yrs. later I still get that anxious, taking a deep breath wave…I’m mindful not to dwell but the memories creep back.

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  4. I so can relate to this! I worry I am not worried enough, I don’t make plans around my scan dates, I am not completely panic-free, the worry is always there…and I too hate it all. And yes, none of it is fair. It’s not about being “grateful”…this isn’t enough. Our lives have been interrupted and the interruption isn’t going away. That’s what makes it so hard. Hope you are doing well, my friend. I miss blogging and need to get back to it. But first, I need to make some confessions. Stay tuned.

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