Today was round one of my appointments that mark one year since my diagnosis of invasive ductal carcinoma. I had spent the weekend in Texas, enjoying sunshine and time with friends, so I came back relaxed and happy. I thought I'd be fine today and just go to my appointments and then come home. But it wasn't that easy.
I woke up late, since I didn't have to work today. (I took a vacation day to get through the appointments.) The closer it got to time to leave, the more worried I became. I know a lot of people who are approaching the one year mark, and they are finding abnormalities. I know two who now have metastatic breast cancer. I know that I'm at greater risk than many people. I started tearing up and wringing my hands. (because we all know how much good that does.)
Kevin sent a text and offered to go with me. You betcha! He was there a year ago for all of the first appointments. He acts as a memory and another set of ears for me. He gets to be the calm one. He gets to ask questions that I may forget.
Our first stop was at the rehab office for my physical therapy. I suspected that she'd release me and I was right. She told me to continue my at-home exercises right up until surgery, and then resume them as soon as the plastic surgeon approves. My range of motion measurements were great and she was thrilled with my progress. I'm to ask to see her again ONLY if I have problems.
From there, we went to the diagnostic center for the mammogram. I was starting to really stress. I tried to breathe through it and calm down. Kevin and I played games on the iPad and made nonsense conversation to pass the time. I had the mammogram (on the remaining side only) and then waited to get results. I could see some weird areas on the screen as I went by, and my panic increased.
Finally, a doctor that I'd never met knocked on the door and came in. "Here we go," I thought. "This is where it all started. She's going to tell me I have cancer." She smiled, shook my hand, and said, "I've looked over the images and everything looks great." I instantly teared up. I was more relieved than I've ever been in my life. All that was left was to see the breast surgeon.
His nurse practitioner came in first and asked some questions and examined me. Then Dr. Shook came in and examined me again. He's very pleased with the way the tissue expander side has healed. (I don't like to call it the "cancer side.") He asked some questions about the plastic surgeon's plan. We talked for a bit and then he told me that he didn't need to see me for a year. What? No doctor has told me that for a long time!
My emotions are raw and I still have many appointments coming up over the next few months. I made it through a diagnostic test without finding cancer. It can be done. Breathe in, breathe out. I'll go to work tomorrow and keep moving forward. Each day is a bright new day. It should get easier from here. PHEW!