“Scanxiety” - Sound familiar?

by Brittany McNabb-WhatNext

Scanxiety,” that anxious feeling you get when heading into scans or awaiting tests results, causes a lot of WhatNexters stress. Here is how WhatNexters have handled scanxiety; their firsthand insights may inspire you with ways to do the same.

Ct Scan 5980

Focus On What Is In Your Control
Many WhatNexters talk about realizing what they can and cannot control; they say part of the struggle is conquering their mind.

“I have decided I will deal with what ever will be at the time I have to deal with it, and try not to worry about something I cannot control.” - UpandUp

“Worrying about the results steals another "good" day. I did a lot of worrying and planning in the beginning but now it is a matter of dealing with the issues as they come up, not before. If I have control over something, like planning ahead, I do it. If there isn't anything I can do, then I try hard to let it go until I need to deal with it and focus on what is still positive in my life.” - advice4me

“I try to face stress, fear, and anxiety by asking the question “Is there anything in my power to do which will eliminate the issue?” If there is, then I make a plan. If there isn’t, then I must wait to see what develops from the issue. I have found that whatever I can do to feel “in control” of my life also helps. It may be something as small as determining how to spend the day or as big as what plan I have for dealing with cancer.” - lovekitties

Replace Negativity With Positivity
Especially when waiting for scan results, negativity can take over. Instead of having a negative attitude, try to find a positive way of thinking that works for you. Actively remind yourself of the positive things such as the quality of your care team, the support you are getting from family and friends, little victories, and your good days.

“I have found the ONLY way I can shut up the negative voices in my head, is to speak something positive out of my mouth! When the ideas of fear and death start coming I shut them up with positive uplifting words.” - WendyLew

Try Not to Dwell on “What Ifs”

“I have found that being busy, both mentally and physically, helps a lot. They leave little time for the “what if’s” and the “should have’s”, “could have’s”.” - lovekitties

“There are gazillions of “what ifs” in life. I try to focus on the what is rather than the “what if..” - nancyjac

Worrying Won’t Change the Results

“Worrying about it for a week while I wait, won't change the results and only robs me of peaceful thoughts during that time.” - Julesmom

Find the Right Combination of “Stress Busters”

“It took at least a good two years of counseling, medication, exercise, good diet, shopping (yes, retail therapy!), and staying active with friends and family before I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. The anxiety and depression have finally melted away. I still exercise regularly (swim or walk), practice Yoga, and try to take good care of myself.” - lynn1950

“One of my favorite things to do when I feel anxious is to take a nice hot bubble bath. The hot water has me completely relaxed in no time. Also great for me...a good book or movie, a cup of my favorite coffee or tea, and a nice cuddle with my pet.” - stillkickin

Do Things You Love
In addition to doing things you love, you might want to get creative and find new things you love doing. Things like a new hobby could help keep you less stressed.

“I have found that doing the things that I love doing does a lot to help me relieve the stresses that come with cancer. When I was first diagnosed in 2004 I soon started kayaking daily. It was a very peaceful exercise that I still enjoy. I also enjoy swimming and hiking and I've always enjoyed playing guitar. The same goes for photography. Spending time with my kids goes without saying!” - PhillieG

Exercise for Mental and Physical Benefits
There are health benefits to exercising and staying in shape, but some WhatNexters find that the mental benefit of exercising is what helps keep them happy.

“I run, walk, ride my bike, and workout at the gym several times a week. The workouts themselves help me "turn off my brain" and give me stress relief. Feeling like my body is strong and in shape helps me feel like I have a step up on cancer. Plus, in terms of body image, feeling as though I am in shape helps tremendously as well.” - Clementine_P

Find Distractions

“Whenever I am anxious I like to distract myself with something I like to do. Cooking, Watching movies, playing games with family you love, or even going for a walk are good options for me.” - Elizabeth

Stay Busy - Organize Your Life
Often times when our life, home, desk, or even bedroom is organized it is a lot easier to keep our mood up; plus it gives you something to do if you feel up to it.

“As long as I was doing "something", I was fighting back. Even cleaned out closets and cabinets to feel productive.” - Debbie

“Dedicating time and energy to something pleasurable helps my mind to be busy with another subject rather than to be thinking and guessing how my next scan will result. I paint some furniture, change paints from one room to the other or plan a dinner or barbecue for friends at home so I get busy and distracted from the day of the exam.” - glam

Music Therapy

“Music has been a great source of therapy for me. I make happy positive song playlists for during the day. For nighttime I make a sleepy time mix. I originally made one for my kids a few years back and it always works. Pandora also has a great relaxation music station.” - Lirasgirl33

Talk to Family and Friends

“Try to take things one day or hour at a time. If you are overwhelmed, call a friend, get out of the house, or watch a comedy. For me, what helped the most is talking to family and friends. I told them how I felt and let them help.” - 1lovinglife

Correspond With a Fellow WhatNexter

“On my most stressful days I reached out to a pen pal/friend in another state via email whom I had met on WhatNext and vented and virtually cried on her shoulder. She and I have been going through similar journeys and have been helping each other every step of the way.” - Bashiemn

Help Others

“I like crafts so a few suggestions to coping with anxiety are to make blankets for children in the pediatric department at the hospital where you will be having surgery. They're very easy and it may help to know that you are helping others. If not, create some cards on the computer or with construction paper for the children. Or you could volunteer your time and sit at a senior home and play cards with the seniors in their common room.” - IKickedIt

When “scanxiety” takes over try your best to be proactive and find a good combination of things that seem to help you relieve stress. If you are feeling too overwhelmed, consider speaking to your care team about how they can help. Feel free to share your tips with other WhatNexters so that they can gain ideas and insights from your success stories.

Blog Home