Hi friends! It’s scan time again. Oh boy. Does it feel like I’m always getting scans to you? Same. Maybe it feels that way because I do more blogging around scan time. I explained on my last blog (at the end) which scans I will be having tomorrow if you’re reading this and wondering. I have an appointment with my oncologist on Friday, so I should have the results by then.
I’ve said this before, but one of the main reasons I have this blog because I hope my experience can help others (whether that’s sharing things I’ve learned along the way, or adding some humor to the situation). Today I’m going to share some practical tips on how I deal with the inevitable SCAN-xiety (in no particular order).
1. Exercise. This isn’t a new or ground breaking suggestion for a reason. I sure do miss the pre-Rona’ days when we could go to the gym or to Orange Theroy for a workout. However, until things are back to normal, do what you can. Go for a walk, chase your kids…..whatever gets you moving. I started using the “Noom” app recently (basically a place where you log your food, learn about nutrition, get help from coaches, etc. I’ll let you know how it goes 😉 I haven’t been immune to the Rona’ weight gain…..it’s a thing. But I’m trying.
2. Write in a Journal. For me, my blog is a good way to process my feelings and keep a record of this crazy cancer ride. For example, it’s the night before scans and instead of thinking about ALL the bad things that could happen, I’m writing this blog instead😊
3. Pray. Ask others to Pray for you. When I feel myself getting worked up I pray about what I’m worried about (in detail) and that usually calms me down. I ask for peace, understanding, and patience. I ask God to help me find happiness and gratitude in every moment. I pray for my doctors, my friends, my family, my dad in heaven….and I always pray for my cat Geneva (she has a heart condition and I would REALLY prefer not to have any more trauma in my life thank you very much). Also, when I know that friends and family (and even people I don’t know that well) are praying for me, it helps me feel like I’m not alone💜
4. Call a friend or family member. This one has been really helpful for me. There’s a reason that a ‘lifeline’ on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is phone a friend, right? I sincerely hope that anyone going through something like this has friends or family in their life they can lean on. I’ve said it a million times but I really have THE best support system. Sometimes I’ll call a friend feeling a little down, but by the end of the conversation we are hysterically laughing for whatever reason. Humor is crucial at a time like this. It’s also helpful to spread out your calls….I try not to fatigue just one friend or one family member. Most of the time, people are thrilled they can do something for you. Even if it is just to listen or keep you company. It also helps me to listen to what is going on in other people’s lives. Just because I have this going on doesn’t mean the world has to stop. I get that. So I try to be a good friend and listen as well.
5. Call your therapist, or make an appointment with a therapist if that’s an option. I’m not sure why there is still a stigma around therapy. Think of it this way, if you wanted to install an in-ground swimming pool in your backyard, would you just march out there by yourself with a shovel? I think not. You’d call someone who knows what to do. Duh. If you’re struggling with something emotionally and you have the resources, why not see a therapist? It’s what they do. Every day. I stopped seeing my therapist during the worst part of my cancer treatment. I’m not sure why. Maybe I wasn’t ready to admit how scary things were at the time. I was also trying to balance work with feeling ridiculously awful (physically) after chemo. But, after my Dad passed away last month, I resumed seeing my therapist more regularly and it’s helped. I happen to know a wonderful therapist in Baton Rouge (and one in Dallas actually) if anyone needs a recommendation.
6. Retail therapy. It’s a thing. When I was waiting on my last PET scan results I channeled my inner Countess and tried on a bunch of Jovani dresses….because, fashion. (If you don’t know who the Countess is, you probably don’t watch Bravo. I won’t hold that against you)😉
7. Find a hobby. Sometimes I think this is obvious advice but you would be surprised. A lot of successful adults I know don’t have hobbies. Between working and family commitments, I get that it can be hard to make time for yourself. But come on. Living is such a privilege. Go do something you enjoy.
8. Spend time with friends. The world will get back to normal soon enough and until then, find ways to connect with the people you love. A few days ago a few of my girlfriends and I made a video for the “Best Dressed Quarantine Challenge” benefitting the American Cancer Society. I’m sharing the blooper video below because it makes me smile. (Also, how gorgeous are my friends?) Another one of my friends (Sarah) called me recently to let me know she was sitting in my front yard. She said she just wanted me to know she was thinking about me. Awwww.
9. Escape. What do you mean by that? Well, I can’t in good conscience endorse drinking yourself into an oblivion (tempting). But, I did discover a cool (and nerdy) Virtual Reality headset called an ‘Oculus Quest’. (Actually my friend had one first, I didn’t discover it at all. But neither here nor there….I’ve enjoyed mine). It occurred to me more than once that I wish I had one of these during Chemo Quarantine….because it has been great during Covid Quarantine. One of my favorite things to do is use the “BigScreen Beta” app. It makes you feel like you’re in a real movie theater. (Assuming the Rona’ ends at some point you could go to an ACTUAL movie, in an actual theater as well). There’s also an app called “Wander” that I’ve used some. It’s basically the VR version of google earth. I also like Beat Saber and the Sundance Film Festival “Immersive Videos”. wwwOculus.com
Ultimately, I try to remind myself that SCAN-xiety is normal and that I need to “be kind to myself” (my friends tell me that quite often). But let’s be honest. I’m worried that I might get the worst news I could imagine…that the big C has returned. That’s what anyone in my shoes is worried about. (Just typing that feels wrong in a way….like I shouldn’t even acknowledge that it’s a possibility or put it into the universe). But the thing is, I’m not putting it in the universe. What I have been doing, is specifically praying and asking God to put his hand on me, my doctors, and these results. I know I can’t expect to have a life that’s free of hardship or worry, but I can put those worries on God and learn to be happy and appreciate every moment I have on earth.
Now for the hard part….sleep.
Goodnight friends. I hope that in my next blog I’ll be sharing good news. Thank you for following along and making me feel so loved and supported.
⭐️Holly Hollis Stars ⭐️
p.s. Apparently this was in this month’s 225 magazine. We’ve come a long way since this photo which was taken the day before my last IV chemo. (Proof that the cold caps do work for some people!) Also, does anyone I know have a copy of this? I forgot to get one. If you do have a copy save it for me😘