I had my 6 month oncology checkup today. Every April and October I'm supposed to go and visit Dr. P. Last April, they called me to set it up. This time, I didn't get the scheduling call. I put it off and finally last week called to make the appointment. I'm not a big procrastinator. It just stresses me out.
It's really strange to go back there to the internal medicine department at Kaiser. It wouldn't be accurate to say that it "reminds" me that I had cancer, because every day the thoughts of "what if it comes back" invade my thoughts. It's worst in the middle of the night when I have moments of sleep that are "less deep" (for lack of a better term) than others. During those times, I have to call on the name of Jesus in order to fight off the fear. Talk about a spiritual battle! The strange thing is, that I'm really still asleep while I'm doing this. Weird.
I managed to get my 6 mile training walk in before my appointment. I parked my car in the Kaiser parking lot and walked from there. Training for the 3 Day certainly poses some challenges for life. It takes a long time to walk, especially after I got used to running earlier in the year. Our mileage plan for this week is 44...including an 18 mile day and a 15 mile day. So squeezing in doctor's appointments around the kids' schedule and my training schedule can be tough.
Dr. P never changes. Knowing that he does triathalons, when he asked me "What's new?" I told him that I bought a road bike. (This is old news to my Facebook friends.) We had a discussion about my speedplay pedals and he assured me that EVERYONE falls from time to time. I told him about the walk training. He asked me if I wore enough sunscreen. Probably not, I told him. It didn't help that I was a bit flushed from just having walked 6.6 miles! I like to tell him about my race goals and let him know how much I am able to do. Like it will put another notch in the "healthy" side of my file.
Looking at my medical record, he saw that I'm coming up on my 2 years on Tamoxifen in December. Now the decision is....do we switch to another hormone therapy that is for post-menopausal women? My estrogen levels were "low" last April. He suggested that I get them checked again in December and then we would probably switch to Anastrozole. I assured him that I haven't had a period since September 2010. Silver lining? Maybe. Maybe not, though, because I've been having hot flashes ever since! This new drug has a potential side effect of muscle soreness and osteoporosis. We'll see how it goes. I'm going to go for it as soon as I can because Dr. P has told me in the past that it has better outcomes than Tamoxifen alone.
After that, he examined me. Listened to my lungs, heart, etc. Felt around to see if there were any lumps or bumps that shouldn't be there. For the first time, he did not ask me about reconstruction.
And then it was over.
For another 6 months.
About this blog
I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.