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April 11, 2012

Phew,

that's over and no more until September.  What's that?  "That" would be the visit to the oncologist.

I don't really have a schedule, so can't say it's the every 3 month or every 6 month visit.  In fact, until the week before the visit, I generally forget about the whole thing....which is just the way I like it.

If you remember, I felt kind of cruddy last year.  I might have looked fine, maybe even better than usual on the outside, but the inside felt like crap.  It wasn't until that past few months that things suddenly started to look up.  Whether it was the start of school, an uptick in my activities, I'm not entirely sure.  However, things started to click and I was more like my old self.

My old self, however, never had to worry about remotely frequent visits to doctors.  Oh, sure, I had them, but until October 6, 2010, I never stressed out about them.  Now I get a major case of white coat syndrome every time I find myself in a waiting room.  The fewer visits I have, the better I feel.

Today was a 3 month follow-up of sorts.  I had last visited the oncologist just prior to my DIEP in January.  If you remember, I received boatloads of snark from the nurse practitioner and promptly vowed never to see her again.  I mean, really, I don't need MORE stress about this issue, do I?

Today was also, I suppose, a chance for the doctor to ask *the* question...the one about the medicine.  No, I'm still not taking it and, no, I have no inclination at this time to take it.  I figured the entire visit would be centered around that.  Thankfully, I was wrong.

Once I arrived (don't ask about traffic...oh, this area...), it was a good 20 minutes before we were even taken back to a room. Weight, blood pressure and temperature were taken and all acceptable levels/rates.  We then had to wait....and wait...and wait.  Finally, when it seemed like it might be time to reschedule, the door opened.  The doctor walked in (as did a med student...yippee) and sat down to chat.

We reviewed my basic history.  I had finally obtained the blood test results from the hematologist regarding the scrubbing of my blood to determine if I might be more prone to clotting issues.  For the most part, no.  One protein was slightly lower than it should be.  The doctor noted that it shouldn't cause me any issues with the medication, but stopped there.  Given my family history, no one can say for sure what would or wouldn't happen.

We reviewed all of the other labs, annual exams and such that I had taken upon myself to have completed over the past three months.  I did finally have the doctor visit  I had been dreading for 14 months.  And my worries?  Completely unfounded.  Everything was normal, my vitamin D level was up and my liver levels were just fine (slightly awry in January due to the surgery/narcotics).  

I then had to acquiesce to the lovely physical exam.  Might I add how tired I am of these?  There is the idea that when one has the surgery (or surgeries) I had, one becomes numb or can no longer feel things in certain areas.  This, thank goodness, is not the case for me, in part due to having the DIEP (though I had plenty of feeling prior to that).  So, the numerous exams, especially after surgery, are just getting...tiresome.  I'm weary of being prodded and felt up and thus, when the whole sordid affair was over, I was thrilled when I sat up and she said, "Why don't we just not see you again until August?"

This ended up turning into the first week of September, since there is no way we can verify that Peter will be home in late August.  Early September, however, should be more than doable.  The better part?  Well, she did bring up the medicine (tamoxifen) again, but it was a very brief discussion and not nearly as stressful as it could have been.  

She asked, "Have you thought about taking it?" and before I could answer, Peter jumped into the discussion, reminded her that I had just had surgery, will be having more on Monday and really just am enjoying getting back to my old normal.  She nodded and then said she just wanted to check.

I added that I thought about it occasionally, but, the thing is, I'm happy right now.  I'm finally nearly back where I was before this whole mess began and I don't want to screw with that.  The reality is that I can't start the medicine right away and nor would I.  I'm not willing to go there when Peter is about to leave for a year and there will be no one that I can reach over and wake up in the middle of the night if something seems wrong.  There is no guarantee that it will help, I will not feel better simply by taking it and could in fact, end up feeling much worse.  That's not something I'm willing to risk as I'm embarking on a year of solo parenting.

The doctor then reviewed my Oncotype score and remembered just how low it was.  She remarked that it didn't mean there wasn't any chance of recurrence, but said, "It IS a low chance..." Exactly.  Very low and very unlikely anything will happen again.  And for now, given how good I finally feel, well, I'm not willing to mess with that.

I'm sure there are some out there who completely agree with me and there are some folks that think I'm nuts.  That is absolutely fine with me.  I'm not telling anyone else what he or she should or shouldn't do with his or her body.  However, I do know what is right (and what is not right) for me at this time.  I am keeping my options open and will revisit the issue again in September. By then I will be healed to an even greater extent, Peter will be home on his first R & R and the only thing that might be stressing us out will be a back to school shopping list or two.  

I also, just might, based on this visit, might not be so stressed out next time.  The visits are really nothing more than check-ups, are further and further apart and will end eventually.  In fact, if they continue beyond next July, they will be down to once a year.  I suppose even my wimpy self can handle that...

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Glad your visit went so well, glad you don't have to think about another one anytime soon, and SO VERY glad the visits are getting farther apart.

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