A trying time of survivorship is the interval between knowing you might have a problem and learning your exact diagnosis. Why? Because you can't reassure yourself you are okay - or are going to be okay - if doctors are ordering tests for the purpose of finding out if you are okay or are going to be okay.
During the drawn out days of evaluation, the uncertainty about your condition can unleash your imagination to catastrophize the cause of any little ache, lump or mental slip. You feel vulnerable. And until you and your healthcare team determine the nature of your problem, nobody can do anything to help. You feel helpless.
Here is a phrase that has helped me whether I am feeling mildly anxious, quite frightened or absolutely terrifed while awaiting the verdict of a diagnostic test or surgery: It is what it is. This mantra reminds me I am not hurting my chances by thinking or saying stupid things while awaiting the results, because it is what it is. My imagination loses steam, because independent of whatever scenario I paint in my mind, it is what it is.
Call it a mind game, but this phrase effectively calms my anxiety and even helps me look forward to diagnostic procedures, surgeries, check-ups and test results. Because now I feel a sense of taking charge by obtaining information that will help us respond. Whatever the news, as a Healthy Survivor I know we'll use it, along with hope and action, to deal with what is.