In the here and now, I have just had my first follow-up appointment. In short, my oncologist did a little examination. I have remained slightly concerned with the fact that I still have some movement limitations in my arm, 10 months after surgery. However, when I peeled my shirt off over my head, a smile sprung to his face. “Look at that! It is amazing how you can do that.” My heart sung both with praise from him (Akin to getting a gold star in Kindergarden. I have some weird drive to be teacher’s pet.) and with the confirmation that I have not somehow failed to properly look after my recovery.
He then listened to my lungs, did a little physical sizing-me-up with with his hands the way you pack little bits of (whatnot) into a pile with your hands: A little cupping pat on the hips, the ribcage, the shoulders. I’ve no idea what this looks for, but I trust Dr. god. He listened to my lungs. He felt along the line of my scar. He kneaded my lymph nodes. He gave me a pleased smile. “See you in 3 months.”
I was confused about what follow-ups would entail. I had read over and over that it meant PET scans, bone scans, all sorts. My onco said that the new guidelines are just to do blood tests once a year. Here, however, I would get them done every 3 months. If I wished for scans, I could have them. All I have to do is ask at any time. I have decided I am fine with not getting various radioactive substances shot into my veins several times a year unless I suspect something. I will have a work up of scans when/if I move back to the US for a final clean bill of health before changing medical systems.
It feels like a long time since I have to give blood. The needle in the soft inside my elbow took me back a little to less cheery days. But just for a moment. Just enough to remind me how good today is.
I have also packed up my wigs to be sent back to the friend that lent them to me (Thank you, Helen!). I have not figured out what to do with the handful of terrible ones I and my dear family ordered off of ebay. Yup, that’s a real wig that I got (photo above) and somehow I had no idea it was going to be that bad, though I’m not sure how photo could disguise that. (What?! I wanted a “headband” wig! I thought I would look like Fran Dreshner on The Nanny! They looked so cute!) People would have felt pity for me, but not because of the cancer. I am sure you all agree it’s appropriate to thank Helen again for the nice wigs she sent me after.
• ebay wig: $20
• wig from cancer specialty store: $1300
• photo of yourself looking more ridiculous with a wig than you will bald: priceless
(got other captions for the photo above? them them in the comments!)