What Now?

Yesterday I had my final appointment with my plastic surgeon (you can read about the latest adventure here).  I had a right prophylactic mastectomy and bilateral DIEP reconstruction in December of 2006 – a year-and-a-half ago.  There have been touch ups, the addition of nipples and finally the tattooing which ended in May.

I’ve grown very comfortable with the office and staff.  I feel silly admitting I was the teensiest bit melancholy knowing it was my last visit.  But it made me think about my future final appointment with my oncologist, Lord willing.

Sometime around the end of November 2010 I will be five years out of chemotherapy and, from what I understand, will be released from oncological care.  That is assuming there has been no recurrence or metastasis or new cancer.  And baby, I’m assuming.  Still, the thought of not being followed by my oncologist is frightening.  I only see him every six months or so, but there’s a comfort in knowing someone is watching out for me.  Now that I know I really CAN get cancer I want my tumor markers checked and I want to be scanned regularly for the rest of my life so we can find anything before it gets me.  Know what I mean?

I suppose it’s a bit of paranoia.  And I also suppose it’s ridiculous for me to even worry about it when I still have another two-and-a-half years to go before I get to this bridge.  Besides.  I have greater things to concern myself with at this moment.  Like making sure I get all my books packed and the right SPF for our trip to Hawaii in two days.  You read that right.  I’m taking my newly released girls – and my family – to Hawaii.  Just another chapter from my cancer story.  I don’t recommend going through chemotherapy while your husband lives and works 1200 miles away, but we’re taking advantage of the perks.

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6 Responses to What Now?

  1. imstell says:

    Oh, no fair! I want to go to Hawaii too! (insert foot stomping here)

    I completely know what you mean about anxiety at the very thought of not being followed by my oncologist. I freaked just a teensy bit when I went off chemo. What? There would be no cancer-fighting poisons patroling my veins on the look-out for miscreant cells? Yikes! Plus, you made me do some quick math for my own 5 year mark (Oct 2011). I wonder, though, if IBC patients ever get released from Onc. care? I’ll be sure to ask that question at my own appointment next week.

    And congratulations on springing The Girls from treatment. I don’t have my nipples/tattooing yet. May I ask a personal question? How do the nipples look up close and personal? I’ve googled reconstructed nipples & you just can’t find pictures anywhere. I’m really on the fence about whether to get them or not.

    Stella

  2. bcjenster says:

    At first I wasn’t sure if getting the nipples was worth it. Except for the fact insurance had to pay for them and it was a gig to the company. But after I had the tattooing done I decided I’m glad. Up close and personal? They’re not mine. Neither are my breasts for that matter. They don’t really do a whole lot other than make me look a little more real as opposed to looking more like a Barbie. (Don’t I wish! LOL)

    You’re more than welcome to email me and ask me anything you want to about them. I blogged a lot about it and I can find those posts for you if you’d like.

  3. imstell says:

    Thanks, Jen. I’ll read back in your blog and find the posts. If I have any more questions after that… well, we’ll see. 😉

  4. cancervisa says:

    I can’t be more jealous and relieved at the same time. You made it through the obligitory threshold of 5 years. Count your lucky stars and do something reeeeally nice for yourself while in Aloha land and no longer Cancerland. Your world is wide open, take advantage of it while you can!

  5. bcjenster says:

    Cancervisa – Thanks. I’m only half-way through. Still, I’m happy with half-way. I’m planning to make it to 5 years without a hitch. Then again, life has a way of happening when we’re making other plans. (Love that quote!)

  6. Jill Aldrich says:

    I angst about this, too. I think there’s a huge hole in oncology, and that’s the whole-person plan (my friend Hedgie said this), including how to live our lives post cancer. For now? Go rock that cute swimsuit in Hawaii and don’t spend an ounce of energy thinking about anything other than the smell of the air and the sound of the surf 🙂 Mahalo!

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