Scanxiety is what most cancer patients say when referring to anxiety associated with scans.
Metastatic breast cancer means you live life a few months at a time. What do I mean by that? Every 3-4 months my oncologist orders new scans. I get two; a PET scan and a brain MRI. This is when we look at how my body is responding to my current treatment and determine my status. The goal is to be stable, meaning my current drug is working and nothing changes with my treatment plan. However, leading up to the scans my mind plays so many scenarios in my mind. Every pain, every headache makes one wonder is this the dreaded progression?
I just had my regularly scheduled PET scan and Brain MRI on January 22, 2021. I was a told at chemo on January 29, 2021 that they were good. A huge relief is off my shoulders for another few months. The even better news, well kinda depending on how you look at things, doc is concerned about toxicity. If you are new here or maybe you just don’t really know here’s a short recap. I have been on chemotherapy since September 2017 and only getting a “chemo vacation” for surgeries. My initial chemo was a cocktail that had 4 drugs in total which was only for 6 infusions(one of these drugs caused my hair loss, not all chemo drugs cause hair loss) and I was suppose to be done after that but my left cancer had other plans. After my mastectomy I began my current drug Kadcyla and we have been together since March 2018.
What is is toxicity you ask? This is my take on it; chemotherapy is basically poison which builds up in your body and can have adverse effects on your body. By adverse effects I’m not just talking about my physical side effects but the effects that are happening internally. This is why monitoring my bloodwork, my heart echos every 3 months and my scans are so important they paint a complete picture. I have been struggling really bad lately with treatment. Let’s just say I have more bad days than good days. After my doc told me about my scans he went into toxicity. The current plan is to still get the same amount of Kadcyla each infusion but push back the time in between infusions from 4 weeks to 5 weeks. Now this is the second time we have increased the time between treatments it was originally infusions every 3 weeks but after brain radiation my body needed more time. I still have to get my Lupron(or Zoladex since Lupron has been out of stock) injection every 4 weeks as the long term treatment for my right cancer, which hopefully won’t be for too much longer but more on that later. We discussed a lot of the issues I am having and how they have been getting progressively worse. Will this help alleviate some of the side effects, honestly I don’t know but I hope so. As for now I won’t have to worry about scans for another few months.