I always thought that the word “scan” meant to quickly take a look at something. “Scan” this document for errors. “Scan” the crowd for where they are sitting. A glance. A speedy visual intake. Fast.
When you have cancer, and the doctor says “scan”, speed is the very last definition that suits. You hear the word and time down warps into somewhere between standing still and laying down. I don’t know why that one word sparks instant terror in my heart – but it does. So, in a zippy twist of fate, time becomes virtually motionless at the exact same moment that I am launched into an all hands on deck – aaaahhhhOOOOOOgaaaaa – state of alarm.
This is not good.
I have tried to be rational about this process. A scan only shows what is already there. It doesn’t create a problem. It identifies a problem. I recognize that “scan terror” is a close cousin to “step on the scale at the doctor’s office terror.” There is no denying that the problem already exists. We are just HIGHLIGHTING it. In the middle of the common area. At least now, scales are digital, and I no longer have to go through the humiliation of the changing of the steel plates in 10 lb increments – slide – slide – slide – incredulous look – slide – slide. Still – I am terrorized by the process.
The WAIT is agony. Wait for the test. Wait for the results. All in slug slow-mo. Is there a reason that I catastrophize my way through every possible outcome? Why not idealize? Why not imagine the most amazing and positive results?
During my recent bone scan, I was particularly unnerved. The tech was NOT a talker. When I am nervous, I need a talker nearby. I need dialogue, Baby. I need distraction – particularly while strapped in a tube that shrinks to fit. No such luck from Silent Johnny. So – this is what I did. I envisioned every prayer said on my behalf as light. The light of love. The light of God. God is love – so – same thing. Then I envisioned that light in every cell of my body. I talked to myself (since Silent Johnny was an epic fail). I said, “I am breathing in the light and breathing out anything dark. I am breathing in health and breathing out sickness.”
It was remarkable. Prayers just flowing in. Love just lighting up. God at work through us and for us.
Maybe scans are actually holy ground.