I emailed my oncologist earlier this week with a request I knew she would deny. Can’t hurt to ask, right? I wanted to go to the Tumor Board meeting since it seemed as though there were several very educated people on both sides of the radiation decision, and I had often attended these kinds of meetings in graduate school. I wanted to hear everyone’s position, but I knew it was very unlikely a patient would be permitted to attend. I simply asked if it would be possible, but told her that I would completely understand if it were not. She is such a kind and intuitive physician, she read between the lines knowing exactly why I wanted to be there. So, even though it was her day off, she got on the phone with the radiation oncologist (one of the two suggesting treatment) and talked through all the details and nuances of my case. They discussed the scans, my history, all the pathology… In the end, he agreed with her that no post-mastectomy radiation is warranted. And the greatest thing about my sweet doctor? She immediately called me and told me the good news! We chatted for fifteen or twenty minutes– some about my recovery from surgery and future care, but we also chatted about her pregnancy and transitioning back and forth between the workforce and staying at home with kiddos. From her high heel boots to her compassion to her apparent vehement insistence that I receive proper care and information in a timely manner (she mentioned some people were tired of hearing from her regarding me!), I know we would have been friends had we met under different circumstances. In fact, I think we are friends even despite the circumstances.
As much as I like her, I’m happy to report that I don’t HAVE to see her for six months! I may try to get in touch with her office this summer to get a baby gift to her, but otherwise, my first cancer related follow up will be in the fall. I’ll still be seeing a lot of my plastic surgeon, who is also a phenomenal physician in addition to having a compassionate personality. I’ve still got some healing to do, but have been able to cut down on the narcotics and am starting some of my range of motion exercises. Can’t lift much, but at least I can turn the Keurig on by myself now!
And so this is it, I guess. I’m cancer free. I have no more significant treatment. My hair is starting to fill in (though I still look bald unless you look really close), and I’ve even got some (pathetically) short eyelashes. The false ones will still be making an appearance for a while! I’m not normal yet, but I’m on the road to normal. It’s really close. And while good news still feels a little hard to believe, I’m starting to get used to it. I’m moving from contained excitement to just plain excited!