Thump. The sound of your hospital scan appointment letter landing on the doormat. Or is it the sound of your heart falling to your shoes? Hospital scans are a difficult part of life after a cancer diagnosis. And it’s hard. It’s hard not to let your mind wander into ‘what if’ territory, it’s hard not to think of the worst outcomes possible. But, like everything else you have already done so far, you can do them and get through them. And you will.
I had my one year mammograms yesterday. This time last year I had just had my lumpectomy and auxiliary node clearance. The area is still a little tender even now and even with my best mental efforts, I was approaching the scans with a little dread. The appointment itself went ok, and I even felt quite ok about it all for the rest of the day. Until I woke up this morning with a serious case of The Fear.
Here are my 5 tips for getting through hospital scans…
- Once you’ve pencilled the date of your scan in your dairy, do your best to forget about it. Worrying about the scan between now and that date is not going to change the outcome of the scan, so why waste your time and energy stressing about it?
- If you find yourself with a knot in your tummy in the days or weeks before (or, like me, the day after) your scan, roll out your yoga mat and reset yourself with a half hour yoga practice. This always works for me. In particular, I love this thirty minute practice for anxiety and stress from Yoga With Adriene.
- If you find that all your usual go-to techniques for anxiety are not working for you, or if you feel you need some help with coping with your anxiety, book a Skype call with Clare from CBT for Cancer to learn some new ways to tackle your fears.
- Bring an essential oil blend that you find helps you to feel calm with you to your appointment. If you find yourself getting anxious in the waiting room, dab a drop or two on your wrists or temples and inhale a few deep breaths of it. Even the act of preparing for your appointment in this way will help you feel calmer about it.
- Talk to the hospital staff that you meet on the day of your scan. Ask them all the questions that are in your mind. They have heard it all before and may be able to help put your mind at ease. Also, don’t forget to ask when you can expect to hear the results of your scan or who and when to call for the results.
I hope these tips might help you. If you have any other tips for getting through hospital scans, I’d love to hear them in the comments below.