Cancer

Doctor Visits: So Much Different Once You've Had Cancer

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As a normal person, you go to the doctor for a thingy (warning lots of technical terms ahead) and the doctor says "Hmm, let's get an X-ray." No sweat, you get an x-ray. The doctor says "Oh, it's nothing, it should go away in a few weeks but call me if it doesn't." You go about your life, you forget about it, you realize a couple of weeks later that your thingy doesn't bother you any more.

As a cancer person, you go to the doctor for a thingy and the doctor says "Hmm, it's probably nothing but with your medical history, blah, blah, blah, you should get a blood test, an ultrasound, and I'll call you with the results." You wait, only a tiny bit stressed until you get the test results, which are "I want a follow up blood test and ultrasound in four weeks, and if there is no change, with your medical history, blah, blah, blah, you need to see a specialist for follow up and probably a CT scan." Your stress level goes to moderate levels until two days before the second set of tests, where they skyrocket; your brain is going well down the path of "what if."

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You grab your Ativan and it becomes your life support system, and gets you to your follow up tests and through the results, where you meet yet another specialist to add to your "posse of doctors" who says "hmm... with your medical history, blah, blah, blah, I want to see you every three months for a year and if it's stable, we'll stretch to every six months and go from there."

What happened to that normal person? It heard the worst once, and can't unhear it, so it's stuck in their brain and they become the cancer person who just hears "with your medical history blah, blah, blah," and waits for the "worst" again. And the doctors seem to know that once you get to be a cancer person, the likelihood is greater that you will hear it again.

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Yesterday I went for my follow-up ultrasound which was the follow-up to the follow-up of what was supposed to be a baseline ultrasound a year ago. It came back as "stable, but come back for blood tests in six months and an ultrasound in a year." This means it's still big enough to be seen, but too small to biopsy. It is more likely thyroid tissue, which they don't like to see in people like me, so they will take regular ultrasounds of it. Recurrences this far out are unlikely, but not unheard of.

So now I have to recover from the Ativan I have been living on for the past few days. (No, I haven't taken that much - one a night for the two nights prior, and one-half of one yesterday morning to survive the tests.) I really just have to get my stress level under control until I have the next trip in my cancer life, which is in February sometime, where I see my oncologist and will probably hear something about "With your medical history, we need to be sure, blah, blah, blah."