the waiting game

I am waiting for results from yesterday’s CT scan. My oncologist said that I should call him for results after five days, so I am going to start calling on Friday (it’s only four days post-test but what have I got to lose by calling?).

I did have bloodwork done yesterday and was very relieved to see that all my liver functions are well within the range of normal. I actually startled the nurse who was hooking me up for chemo by giving a little yelp of pleasure.

It is still possible to have tumours on the liver (or nearby) and have normal liver functions. However, abnormally high liver functions can be a sign of a problem.

And I will embrace every indication that all is well.

I have a new post up (I wrote it on Monday) at MyBreastCancerNetwork.Com. It’s about how hard it is to play the waiting game:

“I have no real reason to expect anything but good results this time, yet I can’t escape the feeling that something is wrong. My digestion feels a little off and I can’t decide if the pain in my side is a phantom one.

The truth is, I am scared. I am trying to reassure myself with the fact that I have been feeling pretty good, that I have been biking and running But I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was feeling the healthiest and most fit that I had in years. And I was diagnosed with liver mets three weeks after I returned to work, at a time when I was feeling strong, energetic and (so I thought) on the road to reclaiming my life from cancer.

I have been fairly racked with anxiety these last few days and yet today I feel calmer. Perhaps I have had the time to come to terms with the fact that I have no choice but to meet whatever challenge lies ahead. Perhaps it has helped to keep myself really busy. Or maybe I am in denial.”


I also wrote in the same post about how I how I cope with the anxiety. I was a little
crazy on the week end but there are definitely things that help, when I can remind myself to do them:

“My advice to women awaiting test results or doctor’s appointments remains the same.

Try not to torture yourself with worst case scenarios.

Go out and play (I went to the National Art Gallery with my family yesterday).

Get together with friends (I had a great time at last night’s book club meeting).

Get some exercise (I am going running with my son after school today).

Write it all down (I procrastinated over doing this but I can’t tell you how much it helped.”

Cross-posted to Not Just About Cancer.

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3 Responses to the waiting game

  1. Hi,
    A few thoughts:
    It’s good to be a squeaky wheel and bad to be a thorn in the side. Absolutely: call the office before the weekend and see if you can get your results. Call early in the morning, so the staff has a few hours to try to get the results if they are not immediately available. And it doesn’t hurt to acknowledge their time pressures and explain your anxiety with something like, “I know you are really busy, but it will make my weekend so much easier emotionally if I am not waiting for results.”

    When you are scared, remind yourself your emotions reflect the outcome you fear, not the outcome you expect.

    I told myself “I don’t have a problem until I have a problem.” This didn’t always work, but it worked a lot of the time.

    I stopped trying to figure out what the results would be, as if there were subtle signs I could tap into. Heck, if I could know without the scans I wouldn’t need the scans, right?

    If I slipped into “bad outcomes” daydreams, I’d consciously plan a treat for myself for if I got good news, e.g. a little retail therapy.

    And I learned to embrace the times of uncertainty when waiting for test results. “I”m not going to know for the next week, so I’m not going to know.”
    Here’s a little something I wrote about living with uncertainty:
    http://www.oncology-times.com/pt/pt-core/template-journal/oncotimes/media/WendyHarpham-Uncertainty-OT-Aug102007.pdf

    With hope, Wendy

  2. Laurie says:

    Thanks for the GREAT advice!

  3. Remember that song with the chorus “the waiting is the hardest part”?

    It’s always running through my head, when I’m waiting for results.

    I don’t even remember who sings is. But I remember the words:
    “You take it on faith; you take it to the heart…”

    I do my best to live by what I call “the ostrich syndrome” — until I know the results, I bury my head in the sand and pretend everything is normal! (and, yes, I know that ostriches don’t really do that!) 😉

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