The struggle to remain emotionally focused through a cancer diagnosis
“A 2.0 cm cavitating pulmonary nodule or mass with a surrounding thick wall involves the right lower lobe laterally” was the note the radiologist put on my CT scan.
I previously wrote about how a $139 CT scan found my lung cancer early and saved me from the worst of cancer. I honestly haven’t planned the topics of the articles about my cancer, but it seems that taking care of the emotional side of the diagnosis earlier is best. As a nerd, I immersed myself in looking at the CT scan imagery as a way to distract myself. But that only helps to a certain degree.
At this point, I kept the diagnosis to just myself and my partner. We didn’t want to needlessly worry others, although I was pretty sure what the prognosis was.
I had to wait 16 days for the biopsy to confirm if the mass was cancer or not. After the CT scan, my doctor scheduled a needle biopsy. These schedules are the cruelest. There is no end to things that go through your mind when there might be a tumor in your lungs.
Distressed is the best description of my mental state.
I’m going to die.
I’m going to be on oxygen my entire life.
I’ll never be able to ride bicycles again.
I’ll have to get a transplant.
I’ll never really get to live again.
My partner had similar feelings. Just say NO to that death spiral of anxiety. Instead of succumbing to anxiety and depression, I made a conscious choice to stay focused on the next step and what I knew at that point. The CT scan indicated something, but that is all we knew.
It is something, but we don’t know what. I have no symptoms of lung cancer. These are things I told myself. At each step in the process, I continued to reassure myself that there is only so much that I can worry about, only so much that I can do, and more importantly, could not do.
My destiny was in the healthcare industry’s hands.