A cancer diagnosis is followed by a slew of doctor appointments. Just as I’ve felt I was done going to appointment after appointment, it seems like I get steamrolled with another set of appointments. But today was a good doctor day. Today, is the type of appointment you pray for as a cancer survivor.
My white blood cell count, my red blood cell count, and my platelet levels are officially all 100% normal!
My Vitamin D level has more than doubled since November and is now at 32. The goal is 50, but I’m making great progress.
All my cancer markers and blood markers are stable. This is great news!
I had hoped by having a total hysterectomy I’d be able to stay away from the hormone blockers like Tamoxifen, but that isn’t the case. The type of cancer I had was aggressive and invasive, and my smaller tumor they feared “leaked” into my blood stream which is why I had to go through chemotherapy in the first place and I had a couple of yucky looking lymph nodes that didn’t come back cancerous but didn’t look healthy either; therefore, I’m back on a hormone blocker so as to not feed any rogue cells that have managed to dodge chemo. Apparently, I have “those kind” of cancerous cells! And ladies, did you know that your fat produces hormones? I had no idea!
My oncologist complemented my new boobies. I might have blushed a little. I’m still not used to all this open discussion about my boobs, but I guess it’s nice to know they look good. The problem is they are bigger than my real ones, and my muscles have been weakened by all the surgeries and movement restrictions. Plus, I had shoulder surgery 9 months prior to my double mastectomy and reconstruction, so I’m going back to physically therapy to see if we can build all those muscles back up so I can hold these suckers up better.
I go back in April or May to have a follow up CAT scan done of my lungs. I have these two identical spots (one on each lung) that have to be monitored. My oncologist isn’t worried about them as all my markers indicate that all is normal and fine, but because of a cancer diagnosis every little thing that isn’t considered “normal” requires a check and recheck to ensure that it really is my normal.
I’m now on a 6 month check-up plan with my oncologist. That’s going to be nice. For a while I saw her every two weeks, then once a month, then every three months, so my hair should be a lot longer by the next time I see her. (She always talks about how fast my hair grows when I see her.)
My oncologist informed me that I have basically aged ten years (hormonely speaking) in one year. That’s really not nice! I really think this is the worst news she gave me today. Not a fan. 😦
We talked about some lifestyle changes needed for the remainder of my life. Exercise is good. Clean eating is good. I’m supposed to avoid processed foods 90% of the time. Unnatural sugar has got to go. I have to let some things go from my diet. More vegetables and fruits than anything else on my plate. Limit the amount of foods I eat off a smoker or a grill and never eat burnt food even from an oven. My husband makes the best grilled and BBQ ever though. This one makes me sad. And I need sunshine. YES! I already knew this. I’m a sunshine kind of person. I keep waiting to relocate to a beach. I think this is God’s way of saying I need to make this happen. If not move there, I probably need to visit one a lot more often, right?
So what do I look for between now and 6 months from now? See this is my new way of life. I tried to excuse my breast cancer away. I tried to make it be anything but cancer. I don’t ever want to do that again, so as confident that I am that it’s gone and never coming back, I’m not stupid. I know I’m at a higher risk, especially for the next five years. I want to know what not to dismiss. Wouldn’t you? So bone pain that doesn’t move is something I need to be particularly aware of now. Anything that seems to come out of nowhere that will probably make me think “I should go to the doctor and get that checked out” is something I need to go to a doctor and get checked out. Bruises that show up without any explaination and seem to take longer than normal to go away. Worse than normal fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest. This is why it is so incredibly important to be in tune with your body and know the difference between normal and abnormal. When something isn’t normal for you, get it checked out and don’t stop fighting for answers until you get one. You aren’t crazy.
August 3rd, 2015, I celebrated my first day in remission. Nearly 8 months later, I get to celebrate that I still am and everything is looking great for my future. This is an answer to a lot of prayers and comes from great faith that God still has something worthy of living for in this life I call mine!
God always has a plan, and it is always good!