Managing Scan and Medical Anxiety

Last updated: March 2022

Prior to my bladder cancer journey, I was probably the weakest person I knew when it came to anything medical.

In the later years before her passing, my mother-in-law was in and out of hospital quite a lot. This was all prior to my diagnosis.

I had always had an (irrational) fear of hospitals. Hospitals were where people died. Visiting my mother-in-law made me anxious. Even going into the hospital building me uneasy and literally brought on a panic attack.

Grounded in medical matters

I'm not sure where this came from maybe it came from witnessing all of my grandparents going into the hospital at different times during my childhood but never coming home again.

I have been with my now-husband for 21 years and married for 11 years - yes, it took him almost 10 years to pop the question!

On a serious note, he always grounded me in medical matters. He was a police officer for 10 years and I think his training and experiences gave him strength and perspective in such matters.

Managing medical anxiety with bladder cancer

I don't know how or when it clicked for me but somehow the subliminal or sometimes blatant messaging from my husband worked and came to the fore when I needed it most.

Of course, the illness and diagnosis came fast and I was for sure in a state of shock but somehow even the day I was told I had cancer, had an air of calm. My real concern was how my friends and family would cope with my diagnosis.

Project management mode

I quickly used my professional experience in project management to turn my diagnosis and treatment into a project - a project I was managing.

Like at work, I wasn't responsible for all the component parts, but it was me running the show and this for sure wasn't my first rodeo.

The days and weeks that followed took the project from stage to stage. With any project, there were hiccups along the way. But they were managed.

Managing anxiety

These skills and experiences have also helped me post-surgery, during recovery, and in "life after cancer" including managing the dreaded anxiety.

I know it's not everyone's natural way of handling it but for me, it feels natural and brings peace while avoiding lots of anxiety.

The scan

I am a little anxious as I am so claustrophobic that even a CT scan makes me anxious in that respect. However, I don't worry about the scan itself as that project milestone is already written. Worrying about the scan won't change the results.

No one likes waiting for the results themselves of course but why should I worry? Again, the results are already written before the scan is read. I can't change the results. Worrying won't change the results.

Managing scan anxiety with bladder cancer

Next week as I head for my 4-year scan, I will subconsciously hope for the best while preparing for the worst. In reality, once the results are known, I will cross any bridge I need to.

Or hopefully, the wind is blowing in the correct direction, I will once again be able to raise a glass to my surgical team who saved my life.

How have you managed your scan and medical anxiety through bladder cancer treatment and surveillance? Tell us about your experience in the comments below, or share your story with the community.

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