“Coping for me has been routine-based, and that is making sure I do the things that are in my day that are really foundationally making me feel joyful,” says a survivor of an advanced-stage cancer on how to cope with “scanxiety.”
The waiting period between scans and cancer checkups may be extremely stressful for cancer survivors. Nina Luker, a stage 4 diffuse large B-cell lymphoma survivor, knows this firsthand, but has a morning routine that helps her cope with the dreaded “scanxiety.”
Luker, who is a CURE® Ambassador, has finished treatment for her lymphoma, but on her last scan, clinicians noticed a small site of activity in her left abdomen. Since the area is difficult to biopsy, Luker now must wait a few months to undergo another PET scan and determine if what the doctors saw is indeed cancer.
While Luker admits that she has been struggling a bit more recently, starting her day with coffee, mindfulness and physical activity helps her begin “on a slate that isn’t anxiety-inducing.”
Coping for me has been routine-based, and that is making sure I do the things that are in my day that are really foundationally making me feel joyful. Typically, they are in the morning where I wake up, I have a cup of coffee, I sit and have some kind of silence or mindfulness. I have some form of activity and then almost after those things happen, I can start my day on a slate that isn't anxiety-inducing.
I've found when I don't practice a routine, I can fall into those rhythms of rabbit holes. But, those are my coping mechanisms. Honestly, I have to admit it's been way more difficult, and I have been struggling a lot more than I even was when I was diagnosed because I know what could happen. I know the journey that I might face and that is so scary.
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