June Recap

June was a bit of a blur, awaiting Dan’s CT scan, awaiting Dan’s results, and blowing off steam afterward. I’m so sorry to have left everyone hanging after my announcement and no follow-up post! For shame. {I hope you all concluded that no news is good news!}

I recently read “10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety” by Tori Tomalia, a two-time cancer survivor currently living with stage 4 NSCLC. She contributes regularly to Cure, where the tips were posted online in February this year. (I found her through Facebook friends, where she is cleverly known as A Little Lytnin’ Strikes Lung Cancer.) I am the caregiver and not the patient, but her descriptions of anxiety related to scans are spot on for me. I don’t feel like I can actually be held responsible for anything I might say or do the 2 weeks leading up this scans. It is a very strange situation of heightened irritability, emotions, and crabbiness that Tomalia likens to PMS (she calls it “PSS: Pre-Scan Syndrome.)”

I escape into myself. I basically just shut down and cannot work or complete projects or think straight. I do everything on Tomalia’s list–including binge watching TV, cranking music, planning for a worse-case scenario, and medicating. I also frantically rearrange furniture and empty closets, as if Oprah is going to walk into our home and bring her TV show back from quietly resting in peace JUST to assess my decorating and organizational skills. I mix up extra strong cocktails, search for any excuse to shop, and eat all the vegan cupcakes I can get my hands on.

I believe Dan suffers a supremely mild version of PSS, and just focuses on work to alleviate it. However the anxiety this time was creeping into Dan’s mind more than usual. We both felt as if the time on our litte good luck clock was winding down. It has been three months of stability on Alimta, and we felt overly blessed by this. Was its time up? Sure, when Dan started, we focused on 12 month success stories, but when you get into the thick of it, 12 months feels impossible. We were afraid.

We had the opportunity in early June to have a real escape to a little vacation resort in south central Oregon known as Sunriver. What surprised us greatly was that there was no “escape” from our worries. In fact, Dan’s dread seemed to be magnified by the change away from his normal routine and the buoyant company of “normal” (our term for non-cancer-devastated) families all around us enjoying bike rides, swimming, hot dogs, and hiking. (I did point out to him that we never know what other families are dealing with: We look like a completely normal family to a stranger. But statistically…We know we are special.) Dan felt chided by the fact that we weren’t there vacationing of our own accord, but rather, we were donated a trip by an organization because he had cancer. I’m not sure if it stung his pride suddenly, or the entire weekend of heat and non-stop 24/7 of a 3.5 year old just wore him down and he felt the PSS like never before. Regardless, what I am so grateful for is this: He could talk to me about it. He could acknowledge the hardest thoughts and share them. Tomalia’s #3. I describe this tip as:


By the night before his appointment, we were pretty exhausted. We went out to dinner at Plate & Pantry and shared some BBQ pizza. I talked too much and Dan was very quiet. I thought he was tired and bored hearing me babble, but he made sure I knew how much it meant to him to have time with me without Raine interrupting us. Now that he is back to work full time, we just don’t have as much time together. {So thanks to all of you married couples out there who do date nights faithfully every week, because we are going to give it a try! You inspire us.}

Of course, we were able to end June in celebration together when the news came back that the cancer remains unchanged. He will have scans again in 6 weeks and he will continue with Alimta every 3 weeks. His bloodwork also remains good; he continues to take his trial medication. So, he proceeded with chemo but still had energy (thanks to his further stabilizing anemia) to enjoy parts of our hometown festival, Carlton Fun Days, with Raine and me. I relished the family time back in Carlton, full of relief and gratitude.



8 thoughts on “June Recap

  1. Thinking of all of you constantly.Our heart is with you every moment of the day. Our friends always check on Dan. You are right, often in conversation we will find other families with a journey and challenges.
    I’m prayerful that the trial drug will work with Alimta to make it last longer. Just me trying to stay positive.


  2. Fantastic news! My heart is so happy for all of you that the treatment is working! Weekly date night sounds awesome… Someday for us too! So easy to get caught up in the hustle of daily routine. It’s wonderful to have a weekly celebration of your love and dedication to each other.


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