Recently, I had my yearly follow-up appointment with my ENT surgeon. Usually, it’s a simple visit, just saying hello, getting a scope, and going home.
But this time, something strange happened – I felt incredibly anxious for no apparent reason. It had been over two years since my surgery and radiation/chemo for cancer, and everything had been normal since then. The doctors had been monitoring a spot in my lung and my liver, but they turned out to be harmless. Still, anxiety hit me hard this time.
I like I was close to a panic attack. My breathing was affected, I was no longer calm. My heart was racing. I felt it everywhere.
Maybe Shopping Will Help
I tried to ease my anxiety by going shopping before the appointment, but it didn’t last long. As soon as I got in my car anxiety hit me again.
Then after I sat down at the clinic, I had a coughing fit, probably due to some allergies. People in the waiting area looked at me oddly, but I didn’t really care. The nurse took my blood pressure, and it was higher than usual, likely due to the stress of being in a cancer center.
Oh, and as I was checking in, the lady said “you’re from California?” I exclamed “Yes! How did you know?” She said recognized my Orange county area code. We bonded for a bit. And I realized how much I miss California.
Finally, The Doctor
Finally, the doctor arrived and greeted me with a warm hug. He was amazed at how well I was doing and that I hadn’t needed another esophageal dilation. Then came the dreaded nose endoscopy, a procedure where the ENT inserts a thin tube with a camera through your nose. It’s uncomfortable and burns a bit, and I felt tense throughout. But the good news was that after the test, the doctor said I didn’t need any more follow-up visits. The new protocol was to stop follow-ups after two years, and I could just call if any issues arose.
I was thrilled to hear this, considering my past struggles with stage 4 cancer and a tumor in my airway. The doctor called me his walking miracle. As I left the appointment, I couldn’t help but wonder why I got cancer in the first place. We both jokingly wondered if processed food could be the culprit. Nevertheless, my anxiety for this visit had been unnecessary.
Now, I have another appointment for CT scans on Friday. The blood labs yesterday were a bit painful since I have small veins, but it’s manageable. I did have a small issue with one of the tests not being covered by insurance, but it turned out they did it anyway. Hopefully, I won’t have any scanxiety on Friday. Fingers crossed!
Andrea is from Rancho Santa Margarita in southern California. She relocated to the Midwest in 2018. She has a daughter who is a doctor in Tucson and a son who is a photographer in Brooklyn. Andrea has been a lary since 2020 when she was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer. She started her blog, An Unwanted Journey during her treatment partly as a therapeutic tool but it quickly turned into a way to educate others on what larys actually go through.
Andrea likes to hike with her pup, play golf, do yoga and live her life!