Scanxiety Meets Coronavirus
I hope today's post is finding you all well. I've honestly gone round and round with what to post amidst all of the crazy that is spinning around not only in my mind, but in the world as a whole. To be quite honest, I'm so sick of hearing words like "unprecedented", "novel", "fluid" and "unchartered" ...enough. Let's just call it like it is. Some scary shit is happening, we've never experienced anything quite like it and to be real, we aren't really sure what to do or when to do it. Working from home is a hot mess. Parenting through an epidemic is challenging to say the least and maintaining any sense of normal is like, laughable. There have been some high points, of course, but the not knowing where this is going or how long it will last is unnerving....not really a foreign feeling to a cancer survivor, but difficult nonetheless because it's bringing up challenges that surpass just hunkering down and waiting for the storm to pass.
I noticed a couple of days ago that I started feeling a little anxious. I was blaming it all on the daily news briefings and ever changing information present on every news media outlet and social media platform. I began a run streak at the beginning of this whole dilemma not to prove something to the world about my ability to exercise during a time of complete social unrest, but rather to keep myself centered and present...with myself. I have prioritized that I spend at least 45 minutes a day outside, no matter the weather condition, by myself to think and process my emotions. It was during one of these runs that I realized what really has had my emotions spiraling. Next week I'm facing a pretty big oncology visit that includes a scan, bloodwork, my monthly injection and getting my next cycle of my clinical trial drug. In the best of situations, scanxiety is a real thing that makes you a little crazy in the days leading up to the event. Will it show cancer has returned? Spread? Have I done everything in my power to hopefully result in a positive result? The worry is next level. Now adding in the fact that I've been hunkering down at home trying to distance myself from the world, leaving my bubble is worrisome. The last thing I want to do, is put myself in a position out in the world making me vulnerable against this invisible monster we are at war with. At the same time, not monitoring my body with a scan and getting my trial drug could ultimately send me out of remission and back into active cancer treatment. It's a gamble. Since the news of this virus broke, I've known that I am one of the immune compromised individuals that can be at high risk for the worst possible scenario. It has taken so much strength to not let those thoughts overcome me. Each day I take my pill bottle out of the 'chemotherapy' marked bag and it is like a life saving 'thank you' and a slap in the face all at once. Grateful that this drug has gotten me this far and yet anger that it has put me in a position to be so worried about a damn virus. I have fought so damn hard to be where I'm at right now, that I refuse to let this situation derail my attitude, mindset and way of embracing life, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little terrified by what could happen. So taking all of this into account, yeah, it makes sense that my emotions are a little raw and my stress is through the roof right now. So if you know me, and hopefully you've figured me out by now, the question I pose to myself, is what am I going to do about it....
First, I'm identifying the emotions I have at play, so I can better understand them. I've clearly acknowledged I"m scared. Period. I've had cancer...it's terrifying. I've also been septic and so sick that I couldn't breathe without some assistance. That too, haunts me, especially now knowing that it is likely in severe cases of Covid-19. It's like a constant reminder of what I endured and my invisible PTSD monitor is going off at the highest volume, constantly. The fear is real and warranted, but it doesn't need to control me. I've also pinpointed I"m extremely annoyed. I realize a lot of people are on edge right now, but all most of the population needs to do is stay put. Hang out at home, watch Netflix and life will eventually go on. Even with that as your only 'to do", you are failing. Stay the hell home, have virtual happy hour and this will all be over before you know it. Some of us are dealing with serious, life or death scenarios that are heightened because of your unwillingness to follow simple, basic, "save humanity" instructions. Stay home and do your part. I'm not saying I'm the only one with problems, but if you can, take one for the team and help out mankind for heaven's sakes please, I'm begging you, do so.
Next, I'm planning on some serious self care starting....well about 11 days ago, but I'm reaffirming it, NOW! Journaling..check. Meditation...check. Yoga....check. Run Streak....yes. Extra snuggles with my kids...you know it. Some amazing conversations and laughter with my tribe...hell yes! Taking time to be still, check in with my survivor therapy group....absolutely. All of these "things" that have gotten me to where I am and have helped me get closer to thriving in my post cancer world are vitally important for me to navigate these dark, stormy waters I"m finding myself coming in close contact with once again.
Lastly, I'm allowing myself some grace. The tears that well up in my eyes when I'm least expecting it, the anger that I feel in the pit of my stomach, the worry that is stealing my sleep at night once again...it is ok. It is temporary and I will overcome this in my own time. Asking for help is not something any of us are good at, yet I"m calling on my angels, both on this earth and beyond, to be here for me and help me. Lift me up when my wings are too heavy to fly.
I have a week to get back into warrior mode and face my fears. I know that whatever is to be my fate will work out as it is supposed to. I'm a wild heart with a stubborn soul and I won't be taken down in this life without a fight. So Cancer....Corona...you don't stand a chance. I"m leaving you with a mantra today...one that was shared with me at therapy last night (yes, of course, a virtual meeting). This unprecedented, fluid, unchartered, novel experience we find ourselves in (ha! see what I did there) can lead us all down a path of facing our fears and checking in on our own emotions. This helped me and I hope it helps you...we are, after all...in this together.
May I be Safe
May I be Happy
May I be Healthy
May I Live with Ease
So much love to you, My Killing It Friday Family.....Hugs-M