Scanxiety and handling a diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer

“Is my belly-button sort of going to the right ?” I asked my husband as I lifted my blouse to expose my distended stomach. “Yes it is, now lets go we are late.” We left the house headed to a – Purple Light Ceremony with some family and friends. We were secretly both anxious about the CT scan we were scheduled for early the next morning, our second scan since surgery in May.
2015 Purple Light -Charlotte-MV-97

Thank God for Pan Can Action Network and the affiliates located all over the US ready to support and inspire all of us with PC. The Purple Light Ceremony honors those who have “earned their purple wings” of PC and the caregivers and family of those left behind. They also honor the survivors who usually number just a few. The PanCan. volunteers are truly angels.

My Facebook friends on the Whipple Surgery Survivors page call it “scanxiety”. It is the awful feeling that begins the day you receive the appointment and steadily builds until you reach the date. Each lump or bump, each pain or ache raises the question, “Could it be cancer rearing its ugly head again?”

Being diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer is the worst possible thing that has ever happened to me. And yet, in some ways, I admit it has been the best thing that ever happened. So much good has come out of the situation for myself, my family and my friends that I can make that statement in truth.

One person has been introduced to me with PC that has survived 13 years. And that is a miracle. 13 years would not support statistics from the American Cancer Society survival rate for this cancer. He has truly beaten the odds. And he is my inspiration. I can be just like him….a long time survivor. I believe this and I pray for that. But, I still worry.

Each case of PC is different. This disease, that normally strikes after it is too late to treat, places an expiration date on your life. Not a precise one, but, it causes you to face your longevity head on. You could live a few weeks, a few months, a few years. But always the adjective “few” precedes the time.

The good that comes from this is that you can prepare. You cannot help but be thankful for each morning when the sun goes up and you are standing in your kitchen window, coffee cup in hand, admiring God’s handiwork. You look at your family members in an entirely different light. You see the good in them, and they are probably on their best behavior. You see more of them and you have deep conversations that you would never have had. Your friends go out of their way to offer and give assistance. They send beautiful cards expressing their concern and letting you know they are praying for you. Your church family visits you in the hospital and at home and confirms their support and prayers. My house is always filled with a bouquet of fresh flowers from a thoughtful friend. It is really very wonderful.

I was personally convinced the lumps and bumps in my tummy were new cancerous tumors. I lay on the hard bed of the CT machine filled with apprehension praying to God. I told Him I could accept His will whatever it was, but I really needed more time. I have some important things to do this year. Please let me get thru this scan with a good report.

Dr. Johnson, my Oncologist, rushed into the examining room with a smile on her face saying….”What a good report you have. Everything looks good.” She sat at her desk pulling up the scan on her monitor and explained the lumps were just hernias that had developed in the surgical area. “I can live with hernias…I love hernias” I laughed. I had to ask her to say it ….”So I am cancer free?” “Yes, you are cancer free.” she replied.

When we pulled into our driveway there were three smiley faces and one big purple flower balloon tied to the mailbox. I still don’t know who did that, but it sure made me feel good and it was an excellent way to tell neighbors we had a good report. Thank you to my secret friends whoever you are.

We are good for another three months. That takes us to June……just one month before our family trip to Italy.

Father God, thank you for the good news today, And, please let that June scan be good.

Psalm 91
I am still living under His angel wings. Maybe I never will move from there.
2015 Purple Light -Charlotte-MV-492015 Purple Light -Charlotte-MV-59

2015 Purple Light -Charlotte-MV-42

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