Chest xray results,trying not to panic

Hello everyone!

I have been clear of breast cancer for nearly 5 years but I never feel like I’m over it,I feel like I am living with it and the effects every day.

I still have stiffness and pain where my mastectomy scar is and I do my exercises regularly but the mental side of things always makes me anxious.

I have recently been signed off work with anxiety,due to work pressures(I work for the NHS)and my mum died a couple of years ago but we are still dealing with Solicitors regarding her estate (very long and complicated legal process)

I have had symptoms of silent reflux, because of the anxiety (breathlessness, cough,etc) and my GP sent me for a chest x-ray 3 days ago,

He phoned this morning and I missed the call but am now waiting for him to phone me back and panicking that there is some awful reason why he is phoning,

I know it’s a silly question but I immediately think the cancer has come back or why would he phone ???

Any help will be gratefully appreciated

Coming on here was the first thing I could think of doing to calm me down

Many thanks xx

Once you’ve had cancer it’s very hard not to let your mind go to the worst case scenario when you have anything out of the ordinary . There could be multiple non cancer explanations for issues  picked up on a chest X-ray ( lung nodules are very common ) but once you’ve had cancer they will always play safe with anything they can’t immediately explain Im afraid .Fingers crossed it’s nothing to worry about .

Hi Bolly

I’m so sorry you have this acute anxiety over the chest X-ray. The fact is, there could be many reasons for your chest problems and metastasis to your lung is only one of them. Did you mention your fears to your GP? It’s possible he is ringing to reassure you that it’s all ok. Again, it could go either way.

The experience of breast cancer never leaves you and you are wise to get checked out. But that’s all it should be - a remote awareness of a remote possibility (until you’ve been told otherwise) that something might occur, not an overwhelming nag at you that you aren’t safe. Personally I think it’s that loss of a sense of safety that exacerbates any anxiety. Have you talked through your fears with someone more experienced with Cancerworld? I recently read that more than half of breast cancer patients given the all-clear develop PSTD so maybe you should find your nearest Maggie’s or talk online with Macmillan. Talking to the nurses on this helpline can be immensely helpful - I don’t think there’s anything they haven’t heard. You might also be able to pair up with Someone Like Me?

At Stage 4, we talk about scanxiety, the fear of having a scan for fear of what we might find out. Frankly, I think it’s a waste of precious energy - making myself ill over something I can’t change feels pointless, just adding to the burden of the condition (we have scans every 3 months plus additional scans ad hoc - that’s a lot of potential anxiety which takes a huge toll on your wellbeing). Once this crisis is over, why not try meditation or mindfulness, yoga, anything that brings peace of mind. The NHS endorses apps like Calm and Headspace. I’m about to put in my earbuds and listen to a soothing Progressive Hypnosis video on YouTube. I discovered them during my primary treatment in 2019 and it’s become a part of my daily life now. As a naturally anxious person, I think it’s made a huge difference to how I process things now. I was once given a great t-shirt with the logo ‘Anxiety Girl - able to jump to the worst conclusion in a single bound’ and it’s so true.

You’ll find out what your GP has to say today and it’s too late now to halt the thoughts whirring round your mind. I doubt you’d be able to do a relaxation exercise now for fear of missing the call again.Maybe you could practise some diaphragmatic breathing which slows anxiety done? But do try to talk to someone. Once you’ve had a bc diagnosis, all the services remain open to you regardless of how long ago. I hope the news is good xx

Hey Bolly,

This could’ve been written by me - in fact, I did write something like this very thing a few days ago. 

It’s hard living with the uncertainty - or rather the ‘certainty’ that you need to check up on these things all the time. My anxiety has only really started getting worse over the past year or so and I also get fed up with getting all screwed up with the ‘what ifs’ and even the ‘what now!’ 

If you are an anxious person in general reflux/GERD is so common. It’s really important that you get checked out. In fact, at least he is calling you back and not waiting weeks. I always have to chase up my GP for results etc. It’s got to the stage where I don’t want to contact my GP because everything is such a palaver!

Whatever it is (reflux/GERD/C-word/or other b*ll*kcs) you’ll deal with it and you’ll get sorted.