One year Breast Cancer follow-up
Today was my one year follow up breast cancer appointment with Dr Lilly. Everything checked out fine but it seems a little anticlimactic. I miss the days when breast cancer was our biggest worry. Dr Lilly is only seeing new patients and follow-ups see a physician’s assistant but after a call from Dr Vasu he worked us into the schedule. We were scheduled for chemo at the James later I. The morning.
I walked into Dr Lilly’s tranquil spa-like waiting room that was already filled with people. The calming rush of the lobby fountain mixed with the chatter of patients waiting. On long chemo days I just wear a bandana on my head and yoga pants for comfort. I was wearing a full surgical mask in anticipation of a full waiting room. Since this is just a breast surgeon’s office many people are there just for follow-ups and have already been through their journey. Or they have a suspicious lump that needs to be checked but overall the patients are healthy. It’s a very different atmosphere compared to the hematology floor where we all look sick. So, I walk into the lighthearted room looking super cancery and all chatter ceases as they look at me. These patient are all a good 20 years older than me but they are afraid of me. They are afraid of being sick like me. I sit down where there was once conversation and no one spoke for 10 minutes. I make people uncomfortable. They are nervous about their own checkup and in comes their worst nightmare.
We were there to talk to Dr. Lilly about my breast cancer risks as would be associated with total body radiation. A full intensity bone marrow transplant requires several rounds of whole body radiation which increases the risk of other cancers developing. A history of cancer would disqualify me as a candidate for full intensity transplant. However, since my breast cancer was non invasive and my breasts were removed the doctors have determined that I’m at no greater risk and I’m a candidate for transplant.
For now we are continuing with the chemo on phase 3 – the first of the maintenance phase. I get 4 different chemo drugs given over two days with each set being 10 days apart. I still feel queasy most of the time but eating small amounts frequently and avoiding the foods I find most offensive has helped me maintain my weight.