Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the waiting game

I am waiting for results from yesterday's CT scan. My oncologist said that I should call him for results after five days, so I am going to start calling on Friday (it's only four days post-test but what have I got to lose by calling?).

I did have bloodwork done yesterday and was very relieved to see that all my liver functions are well within the range of normal. I actually startled the nurse who was hooking me up for chemo by giving a little yelp of pleasure.

It is still possible to have tumours on the liver (or nearby) and have normal liver functions. However, abnormally high liver functions can be a sign of a problem.

And I will embrace every indication that all is well.

I have a new post up (I wrote it on Monday) at MyBreastCancerNetwork.Com. It's about how hard it is to play the waiting game:

"I have no real reason to expect anything but good results this time, yet I can’t escape the feeling that something is wrong. My digestion feels a little off and I can’t decide if the pain in my side is a phantom one.

The truth is, I am scared. I am trying to reassure myself with the fact that I have been feeling pretty good, that I have been biking and running But I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was feeling the healthiest and most fit that I had in years. And I was diagnosed with liver mets three weeks after I returned to work, at a time when I was feeling strong, energetic and (so I thought) on the road to reclaiming my life from cancer.

I have been fairly racked with anxiety these last few days and yet today I feel calmer. Perhaps I have had the time to come to terms with the fact that I have no choice but to meet whatever challenge lies ahead. Perhaps it has helped to keep myself really busy. Or maybe I am in denial."

I also wrote in the same post about how I how I cope with the anxiety. I was a little
crazy on the week end but there are definitely things that help, when I can remind myself to do them:

"My advice to women awaiting test results or doctor’s appointments remains the same.

Try not to torture yourself with worst case scenarios.

Go out and play (I went to the National Art Gallery with my family yesterday).

Get together with friends (I had a great time at last night’s book club meeting).

Get some exercise (I am going running with my son after school today).

Write it all down (I procrastinated over doing this but I can’t tell you how much it helped."

Cross-posted to Mothers With Cancer.

10 comments:

Lovebabz said...

Listen to me:

Wait the 5 days. That test is not going to change your life. It is not going to confirm anything. You are living and vibrant and in love.

That test is not going to give you anything that you need for your journey now. You are lving your life like it's golden. Will knowing the results make that less so, or more so?

Behave as if you have already gotten the best possible news/results.

Girl, let go of that waiting anxiety and just be your beautiful self. That test can't tell you anything about who you are, what needs to be done today, tomorrow and the next day at your house.

Let it go and wait in serenity and not anxiety.

Take a breath.

Lovebabz said...

I do so love you. You are a magical woman. Just go on and be the very best that you are right now.

Nothing else matters.

Allie said...

Chiming in here with another tip that helped me. Started when I read an article about Taxane chemo's and how they (and not other chemos) are being linked to longer term anxiety problems (years) - the theory being that neurological inflammation is still present. So now I take my anxiety with a grain of salt - it might just be an exaggerated response because of the chemo - AND NOT because I'm not managing my life well enough.
I end up experiencing my anxiety like a hot flash or bone ache (sometimes quite disturbing effects of my maintenance drug).
This is not minimize the experience which for me is sooo much worse the two weeks before and right up until I get test results but to rather get some distance from it. So I "anxiety flash" and just wait for it to pass because it will. I'm no saint I also whine and curse the drugs that make it happen. But I also don't beat myself up and take a Tylenol or a anti-anxiety at night for a couple of days. Don't know why tylenol works but it does.
Not sure if this makes sense - to treat it as a medical symptom rather than a true reflection of one's state of mind....but its helped me turn a bit of a corner on this one.
Cheers, Allie

Allie said...

Opps forgot to say that I'm trusting in clear scans for you. Your onc is pretty confident you'll have a long, long run on your traztuzamab. The difference from the time when you were diagnosed is just that - a major drug deterrent to run away and sudden changes.
Wish I could lift the worry away - you don't deserve it.
Allie

laurie said...

Babz and Allie-
You people are so wonderful. Thanks so much.

karlien said...

Hang in there girl!

Meaghan said...

Good advice! I get PET Scans every six months and its just plane torture! I can't stand it when people tell me, don't worry. Are they kidding me!?! Congratulations on being such a strong fighter and trying to make lemonade out of the basket of lemons life has put in front of you!

karlien said...

Since I usually am on the other end of bringing (good or bad) news I am sometimes faced with the dilemma when to tell. Should I wait for a regular appointment with bad news? Should I tell bad news as soon as I know it even if I cannot follow up at that time, say Friday afternoon late, with a plan on how to continue. Should I only tell good news at once (but then, what if the person senses that and has bad news?).
I tend to tell it like it is, with all the uncertainties at the time. Sometimes that is very hard, especially if I give bad news on said Friday evening, knowing that I have ruined an otherwise perfectly good weekend. On the other hand, I once delayed telling a patient who had no treatment options until after New year rather than giving the news on Xmas eve. What do you all think?

karlien said...

Oh and Laurie,maybe this is not a very appropriate comment at this time for you. I'm (obviously) rooting for you.

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