So the last two weeks have been a whirlwind, to say the least. I finally have a good amount of energy back, so the kids and I packed up and traveled over 1500 miles to Vermont and back. We went to the state fair, paddle boarded and kayaked on a beautiful lake, played in the river, went to the cider mill, spent time with old and new friends and ate a lot of maple syrup goodies! (Like, a whole lot. Who knew maple syrup on shaved ice would be that unbelievably delicious?! And maple syrup ice cream. Sweet mother of pearl… I’d drive back up there tomorrow to get more, if I could!) Once home, mom came up and stayed with the kiddos, so that we could spend a few afternoons and evenings enjoying a local music festival with some friends.
Then Tuesday. Tuesday weighed heavily on my mind. This was my first 3 month check up with my oncologist. Unfortunately, there is and probably always will be, anxiety around these appointments even if you feel totally fine. Jason and I were more stressed about it than we realized. I prepped my long list of questions and at 10am on Tuesday we were back in my oncologist’s office.
We talked. I asked all my questions. She answered every one and examined me. Which means the usual checking blood pressure, listening to your heart and lungs, and then a physical examination of my chest (where my breasts use to be), scars and lymph node area under my arms. She explained that I still need to do a self breast-area exam, only there’s no breast tissue, but I still need to check the entire area just like I did before. Because there is always a risk of reoccurrence. And you ALL need to check your breasts too (women & men) – let this be your reminder this month!
I had one exceptionally tender area right on a rib bone, almost right where my cancer was. I felt it shortly after surgery, so I was pretty sure it was just scar tissue or how that area healed. But still, I needed to know. So we made an appointment with my surgeon the next day.
My oncologist officially declared me cancer free. Good lord, the relief was amazing. I knew it, but I needed her to say it and Jason needed to see the relief on my face. Yes, there is still a small chance of reoccurrence, but I’m going to enjoy this time as the words ‘cancer free’ linger in a happy way in my head. And I don’t go back to see her for 6 months, unless I’m concerned about something.
I saw my surgeon on Wednesday. She checked out that area with the ultrasound to take a closer look. Everything looked perfectly normal, just some scar tissue. Sweet Jesus, ‘perfectly normal’. I needed to hear that too. And I won’t see her for 6 months as well.
So March, I’ll see them all again in March and hopefully not before. Lovely people, but don’t want to go back unless I have to.
So this past weekend we returned to a bit more normal. Projects around the house, field hockey games, errands and enjoying some down time and time with friends. That new normal is forming, with our new found perspective. Slowly but surely, one day, one week, one month at a time, we are getting our lives back after cancer.