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Fear kicking in as MO check-up nears

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During the first year of treatment I loved going to MO checkups. It was reassuring and I looked forward to the appointments. As treatment ended and those appointments got spaced out, the fear of recurrence hit hard. I've now gotten to a really peaceful, content point where I rarely think about cancer at all (yay!). But I have surgeon and MO appointments coming up in the next two weeks (I see my surgeon annually and MO every 6 months but that's going to be pushed to annually I believe). I think the appointments are triggering something because I'm an emotional mess all of a sudden. Anyone else follow this same pattern? I'm hopeful that I'll feel better after the appointments, but I just hate falling back into this mental rut.

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  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,944
    edited January 2022
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    It would probably help if you filled out your diagnosis and treatment section and made them public, so people who had the same can give you reassurance.

  • parakeetsrule
    parakeetsrule Member Posts: 605
    edited January 2022
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    I like going to my appointments. It feels like I'm doing something productive instead of sitting around at home waiting to see if my treatment is working. One thing that helped me enjoy them is making a fun day of it. I usually dress up like I'm going on a date because it's an excuse to wear pretty clothes that don't get out much, then I buy myself a coffee in the lobby when I arrive, and then I go into the basement shop and buy myself some yummy junk food that I never normally eat. (and then I eat it alllllll) Around Christmas I wore a Santa hat, a bunch of jingly jewelry and necklace with flashing lights on it. My oncologist is wonderful but I think I actually look forward to the junk food more! I also usually order takeout for dinner the same day or get a bunch of desserts to eat at home.

    So maybe try associating your appointments with something you like? Schedule something FUN for that day. Something you don't often do, or something special that you only do on appointment days. And it would help to try to detach your fear of recurrence from going to see your oncologist. I know you know this, but you're not going to get in the office and hear them say "hello, cancer is back!" If it does come back, you'll probably notice something at home before they notice something in the office.

  • krose53
    krose53 Member Posts: 74
    edited January 2022
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    ParakeetsRu, I love this. Such a great idea. I did something similar when I shaved my head when my hair started falling out from chemo. 2 of my sisters also shaved their heads. We went and had our makeup done, then out to lunch with my photographer daughter and hairstylist niece and then all went back to my nieces house. We had wine ( well, I don't drink but everyone else did) and chocolate. My niece shaved our heads and my daughter caught it all on camera. I remember it as such a wonderful and fun day. Your attitude can really change a crappy situation.

  • claireinaz
    claireinaz Member Posts: 680
    edited January 2022
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    I get it. The further I got out from tx, the more worried I got before each. I had to tell myself that if in the event there was something suspicious, we'd catch it early and it wouldn't be a problem. I told myself the AI I was taking, and all the other things I was doing, helped. Sometimes that worked. After many years of losing 1-2 month every 3 - 6 months for each checkup (I'd go into extreme anxiety about a month before) I found a great PTSD therapist who really helped me with triggers and the anxiety. Sometimes you have to get help from outside resources.

    I think this fear is something that we learn to manage, but for me it will never go away entirely. I just don't want it to take up so much of my life.

    Claire in AZ

  • piperkay
    piperkay Member Posts: 132
    edited January 2022
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    As ParakeetsRule says, you aren't likely at all to find out at your oncologist appointments that anything is truly amiss. In fact, that's probably the least likely place that would happen - at least for me. So I don't fret about them at all really. I like my doctors and their nurses, and I look forward to seeing them as people. Of course this is not everyone's experience, and it took me a while before it became mine as I began to understand that further diagnosis will be largely symptom-driven rather than test-result driven. Even my mammogram schedule has now officially gone back to the usual annual schedule. And because I'm triple negative, I have no ongoing treatment, so it's like the cancer never happened.. (bwahahaha!)

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,944
    edited January 2022
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    My ritual for tests and imaging was getting a Heath Bar on the way home. And since my cancer year was June thought December in 2018, most of it was in nice weather so Hubby and I would go to a park afterwards and walk around a bit, and day trips between the big tests and scans, and weekend road trips before surgeries. We had lots of picnics that year - even on Thanksgiving, which was during radiation. Oh, and my daily lottery ticket during radiation! That's a fun thing you could do, scratch off anything you don't like about appointments.

  • 2019whatayear
    2019whatayear Member Posts: 468
    edited January 2022
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    I get anxiety around all medical appointments- it’s definitely post traumatic stress all medical stuff reminds me I have had cancer and it could come back—even just getting the prolia shot or visiting my dermatologist gives me some anxiety. I know it’s not logician but that’s not how my brain works! It’s all about me finding ways to cope.