Today is the day – my four-year cancerversary, and the launch of Strive for Five on Substack!
I cannot believe that my clean scans happened just a few days ago – so much has happened in just one week.
Launching Strive for Five was a good pre-scan distraction, and I was so focused on how quickly impressions grew on LinkedIn that I mostly managed to put them out of my mind – until said scans were delayed by several hours, during which my dread surfaced with full power in the waiting room. The MRI was so delayed that they took me back for my PET scan first, giving me a dose of the radioactive isotope and then leaving me to wait in isolation for an hour while my body processed it.
I flicked screens back and forth on my phone restlessly, so freaked out that I was unable to process emails or social media.
Suddenly, I remembered that I was supposed to be capturing video footage – and started to think about capturing scanxiety while I was literally in its clutches.
So that’s what I did – and as soon as I started recording for an audience, I could hear myself explaining how scanxiety worked: I’ve had enough scans to know that there is no relation to how nervous I feel and how likely a scan was to be clear or not; instead, I’ve found that the better I feel and the more optimistic about the future, the more likely scanxiety is to hit hard. It makes sense that I’m nervous as hell now, because I’m SO excited about what is to come. But I’ve decided to launch no matter what happens with my scans, and if they are not clean, I’m sure that there will be some further lesson to be learned, because that’s what always happens.
And by the end of recording for an audience, I had convinced myself: my scanxiety was gone.
Aha. Suddenly the value of an audience, even just a potential one, was that much clearer.
I didn’t end up posting it – I’m still feeling a little awkward about the whole video thing – but I suspect at some point I’ll know what to do with it, and maybe it will reach someone right when they need it.
This week, I shared my excitement and apprehension about what’s next with my therapist – I am equally worried that it won’t be successful as if it turns out to be wildly so. I’ve been watching the subscriber count climb, and as it nears the 500-subscriber goal we’ve set for tonight, my ego’s equilibrium threatens to shift out of balance. I take care of this by spending some time on other Substack accounts: they are cancer patients like me, only REAL writers, who are quoting experts and formatting with sub-headings and have articles that could be published in the New Yorker.
One of Per’s friends shares my link on LinkedIn, referencing that the way I write makes her feel like she’s talking to me over coffee, not reading. I hold onto this thought all the way into therapy this week, where I confess both that I feel like an imposter – and also that I’m worried this exercise will release the worst of my ego.
She shares two thoughts with me:
First, that people learn at all different levels – those that will learn at the one I offer will find me, and I don’t have to worry about anything else.
And second, that when people are ready to learn, they’ll find what they need anywhere–there’s really no reason they would need it from me – and that, more than anything, might give me the humility for which I am looking.
As she says this, I think back to the Adam Grant posts that seem to appear with uncanny precision on Instagram; the songs with the lyrics I need to hear at specific moments; even the encouragement from a Peloton instructor who might be talking about muscle when I hear words about inner strength.
All I have to do is keep doing what I’ve been doing – and maybe have some fun on TikTok along the way, even if editing is taking a bit longer than we expected (between doing laundry, making sauce, frosting cupcakes, feeding the kids, addressing a flooding basement).
The first Substack email goes out in one hour, to 546 people – almost 10% above the goal we wanted to ensure we started with enough scale – and that’s thanks in large part to all of you.
Mostly, it feels like we’ll figure it out the way we always seem to, and it will be amazing – eventually.