2021 was a year full of challenges, triumphs, new ways of life, and for some, unexpected health challenges even beyond COVID-19.

Receiving an unexpected, long-term diagnosis can bring a slew of emotions, including heightened anxiety. And illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, or chronic respiratory conditions may also require frequent imaging appointments and visits. At Heartland Imaging, we understand how this may bring its own set of demands to manage and overcome.

What is “Scanxiety”?

Scanxiety is the fear and nervousness that surrounds imaging for diagnosis and treatment. Patients may develop dread before scans and find imaging extremely unpleasant or claustrophobic — even to an extent that makes them nauseous.

If you resonate with scanxiety, remember that you are not alone and that there are a few helpful ways to manage the stress of imaging appointments.

Plan in Ways That Work for You

Record appointments in a planner or calendar. Many people enjoy using a paper planner to keep their daily tasks and appointments organized, while others go digital. You can also utilize an app that specifically helps you organize your appointments by date, time, and place — or use a whiteboard to organize your days.

Keeping track in whichever way works best for you can break down your multiple appointments into days and weeks that are easier to grasp. This also prevents your appointments from blending together in your mind, which can help minimize the anxiety.

Get an Appointment Buddy

Organizing a multitude of screening appointments is hard for one person to handle alone. Ask a close and trusted neighbor, friend, or family member to help. A designated appointment buddy can accompany you on visits, giving you someone to chat with in the waiting room, help with driving, or take notes while you talk to technologists. Even just some quiet moral support may make a difference in your comfort level.

Stick to a Routine

Waiting on results from frequent imaging tests can make your life feel out of control. Implementing an everyday structure for your sleep schedule, eating habits, and some self-care moments can provide a stronger sense of control and normalcy, and help manage stress.

But also create your very own appointment-day routine. Plan to stop and get your favorite coffee beforehand (if the test doesn’t require you to forego liquids in preparation), eat your favorite meal afterward, listen to specific inspiring music during, or watch a comforting TV show on the evening of your appointment day. Give yourself something to look forward to, something consistent, on your appointment days, no matter what happens during the screening.

Get to Know the Staff at Your Imaging Center

After even a couple visits, you are bound to recognize the front desk administrators, nurses, and technologists at your imaging center. Remember that these are all people who care about your well-being, and have dedicated their time and energy to providing you with expert attention. Stay open to light conversation and friendly small talk with the staff when possible. Find at least one friendly face you know you’ll look forward to seeing. These personal connections — even in an otherwise stressful situation — can diminish the anxiety that may come with appointment days.

The dedicated staff at Heartland Imaging recognize the stress that comes with diagnoses. We will provide the knowledge and care needed throughout every step of your treatment, to make it as comfortable and worry-free as possible.  Visit us online to request an appointment, or call (502) 429-6500.