Scanxiety – Noun: a feeling of dread or terror about upcoming imaging.
[See also – MRI anticipation, CT apprehension and/or appointment angst]
Scanxiety is an actual phenomenon. It’s the looming feeling of worry and unease in advance of an upcoming MRI, CT, Xray or other imaging.
For people who are medically exceptional, or for those of us who love and parent people who are medically exceptional, the time leading up to imaging is intense. For those of us who experience this as part of our normal, imaging and what it reveals [or does not reveal] carries great weight. Imaging measures growth, changes, new baselines, things shrinking or growing and disease progression/regression.
For me, scanxiety starts to sneak up about a week before the MRI. The weight of the imaging feels heavier and more present as the date creeps closer. I've put together a totally unfinished list of what makes surviving scanxiety a bit easier, as this anticipation and waiting is part of our everyday life.
My [right now] recipe for surviving scanxiety:
I'd love to hear what's on your list for surviving scanxiety.
“But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love, let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.” – Kahlil Gibran
We met in 1995.
I was an intern on a gay rights campaign in Maine in the summer of my last half year of college at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. I packed up my belongings and drove with strangers from Wisconsin to Maine for a five week stay.
Maine was simply beautiful, spacious and wild and I immediately fell in love.
Maine was full of mystery, pine trees, kind people and it smelled like saltwater, which was pure joy for a land locked person like me. Maine felt like an enormous exhale after living in a busy, crowded college town with a population of 250,000 people.
He was in charge of transporting the pack of interns back to the office for our introduction to the campaign. His car broke down. So plans changed. As we waited for another ride, we sat on the hood of his busted up Ford Mustang exchanging details about our lives.
This was my introduction to him.
As fate would have it, he ended up being my boss. [We joke now that this was the only time in our lives that he was the boss]. We became fast friends. We laughed all the time. I loved his hands. I had a shaved head. He had long flowing locks. We talked and talked and talked.
We wrote hilarious quotes and stuck them up on the wall of our tiny, shared office space. We took long lingering cigarette and coffee breaks on the park bench outside the office.
Pages and pages of my 1995 journal are dedicated to the beginning of our relationship.
Before the end of the internship, we became more than friends and decided to stay in touch when I returned to Madison. I knew I would come back to Maine.
We did the long distance thing. We sent daily emails & called each other at random hours of the night. He visited me in Wisconsin and showed up for my graduation. Words were exchanged. And I took a huge leap based on love, faith, gut & spontaneity and moved to Maine. We actually moved in together, after only knowing each other for six months.
But I knew. And he knew. And we knew.
Long story short, we got married, had babies and bought a house. We held jobs and quit jobs and became self employed and made some money and went into debt and then made more money. We gained weight and lost weight. My hair is now long and his is short [and by the way his hair has way more grey than mine].
These days we argue and bicker and love and laugh till I almost lose control of my bladder. Most days we enjoy each other's company. We [still] have fun together. He supports me and challenges me and loves me up and I do the same for him. He believes in me. He is one of my most favorite people in the world [and he also makes me crazy a lot of the time].
We disagree. We ebb and flow. We communicate - all.the.time.We compromise. Or we don't.
There have been a million times and reasons that we could have easily parted ways. Because of trauma, sadness, anger & resentment. Because of the visceral [unfair, unresolved, still ongoing] pain of the daily unknown related to raising a medically involved child. Because of too much stress. Because of family history. Because we are both stubborn and strong willed. Because, because, because.
This relationship is work. Every minute, every hour, every day. And there are gorgeous moments within the work that are full of ease and radiance and bliss.
And in our 19 years we have deepened, cracked open, leveled up. We continue to grow, shift and change as a couple and as individuals within our relationship. In our vulnerability and trust and our knowing. And in our commitment to one another, to our family, to what we are creating.
He is my sustenance, my strength, my rhythm, my soul mate. And [most days] I love him so.