Scanxiety

I have spent the last 10 days mentally preparing for several diagnostic tests that have become a regular part of my life. A mammogram, colonoscopy, and my 3 month check up. I have been getting annual mammograms for at least the last 15 years and colonoscopies every two years due to a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis. After completing my last chemo treatment in May 2016, I spent most of the summer in a fog. I had my mammogram and a 3 month check up, but I didn't really acknowledge the effect they were having on my overall mental and emotional well being. Maybe it is the addition of the colonoscopy this year, maybe it is all the media attention that cancer is getting lately, maybe it is the fact that the chemo brain is fading, but this summer I seem to be perseverating on the outcome of these tests more so than I did last year. Sleep has definitely been an issue lately, and I am having trouble focusing on my daily, weekly, and long-term to do lists.

According to Medscape, "Scanxiety is cancer patients' fear and worry associated with imaging, both before and after a test (before the results are revealed)." They go on to say "Nevertheless, scanxiety can induce responses akin to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)." The good news is that there were no issues with my mammogram, and the gastroenterologist said that my colonoscopy looked "normal." I am still waiting for the results of the biopsies he took during the procedure, but he didn't expect there to be any issues. I still have my 3 month checkup when I return from vacation. Until then, I guess than scanxiety continues.