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Scanxiety

On Monday, I did something incredibly stupid.  Without going into details (they just aren't necessary), a moderate sized box fell on my head.  

At the time, I said a few choice words, rubbed my head, took some ibuprofen, and moved on.  By Tuesday, I had a nice little bruise and some tenderness but nothing else in the way of symptoms.  On Tuesday night, the headaches started.  I wasn't feeling good.  I couldn't sleep.  

Roger and I had a conversation. At 1 AM. 

Me: (after checking my symptoms on Web MD) I think I might have a concussion.
Roger: Well then you need to go the ER. Now. 
Me: No I don't. What good would that do? I will just sit there for two hours and then I'll be even more sleep deprived in the morning.
Roger: Well just promise me you will go if it gets worse. 

Did I mention we had this conversation at 1 AM?

The headache kept coming and going through Wednesday. It seemed worse in the evening. I was too busy trying to tie things up at work before a short respite in Florida. I was too busy to go to the doctor.

By Thursday afternoon, I couldn't take it anymore.  The headache was getting worse.  I still didn't want to go to the ER. 

Why, you might ask?  

It wasn't the inconvenience of going to the ER. It wasn't the fact that my schedule would be interrupted, that I would have to cancel my haircut, or that I might have to spend a little money for some unnecessary tests.  

It was SCANXIETY.

For the uninitiated, scanxiety is that irrational (or possibly even well-deserved) fear that settles in right before an impending medical scan.  In the cancer world, it revolves around questions like Is there growth? Is the cancer back? Are we out of options? 

On a very rational level, I knew I had very little to fear.  It was probably a bump on the head and nothing more.  But scanxiety kept putting other thoughts in my brain.  I kept having flashbacks to that day, only four short years ago this week, when a scan changed our lives forever.  

I thought about my brave little girl as the doctor ordered a CT scan.  I looked up at the fluorescent lights as the machine whirred around me and shuttled me back and forth.  All I could think of was my brave little girl. 

Please don't misunderstand. I'm not a hypochondriac. I don't think every little headache or bump is a tumor or a life threatening illness.  However, when you have been to the brink and back, when you have watched your otherwise typical three year old daughter go from "normal" to gone in the course of a year, your mind goes to strange places.  It just does. 

My hospital bracelet.  False advertising, if you ask me.
George Clooney (AKA Dr. Sex) was nowhere to be found.
 
The scan was clear. I knew it would be clear. The scanxiety is replaced by survivor guilt.  

I should be grateful for my little bump on the head. It will be better in a few days after rest and a dose of anti-inflammatories.  Instead, I feel undeserving.  I feel sad.  I miss my daughter and I fail to understand why she is gone.  

All this from a stupid box falling on my head.  

So here I sit, musing on scanxiety while the first snow of winter falls outside my window.  January is full of thoughts of Charlotte. Sometimes those thoughts are reassuring and sometimes they fill me with sadness.  Sometimes it all happens at once.  


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