Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer
a creature about to bite a man

The Aftermath of My Annual Scope

The scope procedure took the usual 10 minutes, maybe. The doctor was professional and courteous. The nurse was new to me, and I cannot say I would choose her if given the opportunity. In fairness, she did her job well, it was more an attitude than a performance issue. Perhaps she was having an off day, I know I was. But as I said, the test itself went off without a hitch, and my next appointment will be in 12 months.

The floodgates burst open

After the doctor and nurse had left the room, I sat quietly for a moment. I said a prayer of thanks. I took a couple of slow, deep breaths, and then I waited. It didn’t take long, maybe 30 seconds or 45 at the most and then the floodgates burst wide open and the dammed-up emotions poured forth. I sat there silently crying and shaking until I was empty. I got myself dressed and straightened away and then slipped out of the exam room, around the corner and into the restroom.

Breathing exercises to manage my anxiety

Once the door was shut and locked, I took a couple minutes to wash my face and run my fingers through my beard. I checked my attire to make sure I was fully myself. One of my go-to meditations includes an exercise where I am guided to take deep breaths, inhaling all the negative thoughts I have inside of myself. I then have a time to imagine an old black metal box with a small opening, just big enough for the breath I am holding to go in but not escape. When I exhale, I am again guided to breath out all my negativity into the box and rid myself of all the anxiety I am holding. Picture putting an evil genie back into a lamp.

So I stand in the restroom and take several full, deep breaths. Each exhale is directed into the box and carries out any anxiety, stress, and ill feelings. Once I feel the breaths are cleansed, I take the box and return it to the shelf, where it sits, harmless, until I need it again. Now I am fully readied to return to my full life.

My desperation to cope with the stress and anxiety

This is all a mental exercise. I did not come to it easily. There was a time, not long ago, that this type of work would have felt off for me. My desperation to find a way or ways to cope with the stress that is surviving pushed me to open up to different ideas and views. Stress and anxiety are insidious opponents. They creep slowly along, taking bites at my mental wellbeing. Over time, they gain ground and weaken my resolve. In a weakened state, my mind begins to conjure all manner of thoughts. Thoughts that, left unchecked, could lead to some horribly dark places. Places that might be difficult if not impossible to return from.

Instead, I am continually on the hunt for tools and weapons to combat the stress and anxiety and fears that have set themselves against my best life. I have the better part of a year to strengthen myself and prepare for the next annual scope battle.

Training for this fight

Tonight, I will meet with a new therapist. He is certified in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), and I am hoping he may be able to help me take the next steps in forming a healthier mindset. I am seeking more podcast options for my driving time and studying different meditation techniques. In short, I am training for this fight. I am taking an active role in getting better. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, of any type or grade, there is no room to be a spectator.

Get curious. Get angry. Get whatever you need to get to become involved. Study, pray, burn incense, chant, run naked through your neighbors’ lilies. Just make sure you are taking care of yourself.

Be well.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.