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The Phantom Scan

After nearly four years of cancer treatment, I thought I'd experienced all possible types of scanxiety. I was wrong.
PUBLISHED February 23, 2015
Janet Freeman-Daily is a writer, speaker, science geek and epatient with metastatic lung cancer. She uses her systems engineering background to translate the experience and science of lung cancer treatment and research into language other patients can understand. She comoderates the Lung Cancer Social Media (#LSCM) Chat on Twitter and blogs at
My bimonthly clinical trial appointment is this coming week. I typically fly from Seattle to Denver on Sunday, have my labs and scan on Monday, see my doctor Tuesday, and fly home Wednesday.

Scanxiety has a new twist for me this time around. I discovered late Friday that Monday’s scan doesn’t exist in the University of Colorado Hospital’s online schedule. Of course, it was too late in the day to contact anybody at the cancer center (Denver is one time zone earlier than Seattle). No voicemail messages were left confirming my scan–I usually get those calls on Thursday, but I was in San Diego speaking at the Moores Cancer Center Symposium. Friday, I had four phone calls from the hospital–one was my robocall clinic appointment reminder, but the other three hung up as soon as I said hello.

So I’m flying to Denver with no scheduled scan, hoping the hospital can work me in on Monday, in subzero temps, in a snowstorm.

The bright side is that I’ll get to meet my brand new great-nephew Tate this trip! So, it’s still a win.

Postscript Saturday afternoon:

My University of Colorado scheduler called in response to my email — on her own time, on a Saturday — and worked the issue. I LOVE patient-centered medical care! Apparently the radiology department had received and processed my order for scans in early January, but for some reason did not schedule the scans. The scheduler checked the online radiology schedule to confirm appointments were available, and assured me the issue will be worked first thing Monday morning. I WILL get my PET-CT scan Monday, AND a brain MRI as well (although that might not happen until 10 PM). Now if my flight can land in the Denver snowstorm, I’ll be great (there’s a reason I fly Alaska Airlines to Denver).
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