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Tips From A Cancer Survivor To Help Ease Your Fear About Medical Tests

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It's that time of year again for me. Testing time. Ye Annual CAT Scanne. Like the Olde Time Ice Cream Shoppe. But with doctors and isotope-laced Crystal Lite instead of ice cream. Um, yeah. See? Testing time makes me crazy.

I know I'm lucky to only do this once a year--many cancer survivors get retested more often (I went from four to two to one a year). But it's a drag no matter. That feeling of being well and "moving on" is upended as a myth I've relied on to feel normal. I start combing over every sniffle, ache, cough, negative thought. I remember that I've got this thing, this pet camel, let's say, to take care of. She needs little food and water most of the time, but is very much not a mirage and I'm always amazed how I can almost forget she exists. So the shock of re-meeting the camel--you again!--makes me a little more edgy, neurotic, and overwhelmed than usual.

I have one survivor friend who basically ropes off the three weeks before her annual scans. She knows she's going to be a mess, so she gathers support, battens downs the hatches, and is inordinately kind to herself. We could all be so served. To help myself, and you if you happen to be a survivor or love one, I've created this list. Mainly for those who have braved cancer, but it might apply to anyone who gets those nerve-wracking words: "We'd like to do some tests."

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