I have been thinking (always a dangerous proposition) recently. I have a blog, as you might have noticed since you are reading it, and its called Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog. But I don't write much about breast cancer much these days. Why? Well because it doesn't consume my daily life the way it used to. But it is always there.
My life has been changed twice by cancer. The first time in 1981 with my first diagnosis of thyroid cancer. It was a good cancer, a curable one, a treatable one, but it was still a roller coaster ride. I was told by my doctors that I should be fine but to be healthy, blah, blah, blah. And oh, yeah, you are now on a prescription for life to replace your thyroid hormones. This was back in the 1980's where it seemed the fad was to ask people 'if you were stranded on a desert island with only one thing, what would it be?'. My answer would always be a lifetime supply of thyroid medicine. Everyone else wanted to bring War and Peace or their spouse. Me, just my pills so I could stay alive.
And that lead to a life of 'with your medical history we need to be sure' every time I went to the doctor. Once you get on the cancer bus you never get off. Over time, it faded more into the background of my life but it never went away when I went to the doctor.
Then in 2007, a breast cancer diagnosis consumed my life and I started this blog. Cancer became the forefront issue in my life and led to many doctor appointments and all sorts of medical (mis)adventures. This time cancer treatment included chemotherapy and radiation which left some lasting physical imprints on my body. Add in gall bladder surgery, a lymphedema arm, a few injuries - ankle, knee, and tennis elbow, and all I do is go to the doctor.
But four years out, my doctor appointments are less about cancer and more about other issues. My cancer doctors are: my endocrinologist twice a year, my medical oncologist three times a year, my radiation oncologist once a year, and my surgeon once a year. I will be followed by my endocrinologist and surgeon annually for life eventually.
But I seem to see my other doctors about non cancer things more often. I am seeing my knee doctor in three months for follow up on my other knee. I see my back pain doctor every three or four months for life or until a miracle occurs and my back hurts less - it will never stop hurting. I am seeing my primary care for follow up on some medical mysteries in three months. My therapist I see regularly to deal with my continued medical spiral. But my cancer care is fading more into the background.
So am I lying because I don't write about breast cancer as much? Should I change my blog to be Caroline's Continued Medical Disaster blog? Have I finally reached that life after cancer, a/k/a the new normal that I was always told about? Am I proving there is life after cancer? Would I have as many health issues if I didn't have cancer? My back would probably still hurt. I would still be a klutz and fall on the ice and hurt my knee. Would I still have my other medical mysteries? I have no idea
But I don't write about my breast cancer as much as it is fading in the background of my life. It will never go away. It will always be there as will my thyroid cancer. Life after cancer, a/k/a the new normal, is never the same as it was before. Every time I go to the doctor, it will always be 'with your medical history we need to be sure'. I will read about the cancer headlines and comment on them here. And I will still blog, and hopefully it will continue to be less about cancer.