Bad Memories of a Bad Time
Scanxiety is a real thing for most of us. As we pull up to the hospital or doctor’s office for testing, we wonder if the cancer is back, has it grown, did it spread? We wonder what the doctor will say and try to remember all of the questions we have. We hope we’ll leave with good news, but we don’t know. I usually feel the same emotions, but now, whenever I pull up to the hospital where I get my tests, many bad memories engulf my thoughts and I get a pit in my stomach because this is the same hospital where my daughter was treated for cancer.
The bad memories flood back
Yesterday was a test day for me. As I went through the light that leads to the hospital, memories of not so long ago came flooding back and my stomach immediately started knotting up. My daughter Crystal was treated in this same hospital for Hodgkin lymphoma. This is the same place we were every other week for over 6 months. This is where she had to sit for hours to wait for her chemo regimen. This is also where she sat, in that cold sterile room, feeling ill, as the chemo ran through her veins. Although Crystal is now in remission, this is not a place of happy memories for me.
As I walk in, I remember the greeters and the valet attendant. They are always very nice. They were always the ones who reminded me to return the beeper Crystal had to have so the nurse could find her for her tests or treatment. The next area is the lobby. I find a seat and look around. It was really hot outside and I was hoping one of the volunteers will be around to offer cucumber-infused water. As I think about this, memories of the volunteers bringing water for us that Crystal couldn’t drink floods my mind. Water didn’t always sit well with her so she had a special powder she added to help her drink it. She knew she needed as much fluid as possible so she wouldn’t be dehydrated. Luckily, they always had crackers and I would be sure to grab a few packs for her just in case she wanted them later.
Not too long after I arrive, I get called to go for the bloodwork I have to have. Crystal also had to have bloodwork at each of her appointments. She hated this procedure because it usually started her nausea. Whenever her port was flushed, she could taste the saline and it made her feel ill - and this was just the beginning of her appointment. To help with the bad taste the saline flushes left in her mouth, Crystal always made sure to bring some type of candy. Then she found out about Queasy Drops. They really helped and she recommends them to everyone. Thank you to whoever invented them.
One of the next tests I needed to have was a CAT scan. The technician asked if I was cold and if I needed a warm blanket. As she covered me with its warmth, I again remembered the cold treatment room Crystal had to use. They had an area where they kept warm blankets too. Crystal always needed at least two. I know hospitals keep it on the chilly side because of the germs that are in hospitals, but it was really cold in that room. Luckily, the test I had was quick. Crystal had to stay for hours.
The dread of going into the hospital
Driving up to the hospital and getting the feeling of dread has happened before. It happens every time I go back there. Whenever Crystal comes home for her six-month check-ups, the feeling comes back. Whenever I go for my scans, the feeling comes back. Those memories and emotions drown out the feelings of scanxiety I used to have. Is that a good thing? I don’t know. What I know is watching my daughter go through treatments was hard. I didn’t want her to have cancer, I didn’t want her to have to freeze her eggs, I didn’t want her to take chemo. I only wanted her to be healthy and enjoy her life. I’m truly happy she’s well now and I hope the emotions and memories of that time will eventually start to fade.
What type of blood cancer are you or your loved one diagnosed with?