Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Is it finally over?

May 30, 2007 I was told I had breast cancer. three surgeries, 16 rounds of chemo, 38 radiation treatments, two years of tamoxifen and nearly three years of Femara later I was told this is all about to end in January. That is when I will have my last dose of Femara and be done with breast cancer treatment. I know I have blogged about this previously but it has been weighing on my mind.

In breast cancer treatment there are a few milestones - the first surgery and first chemo treatment. Then on to radiation and you are done with active treatment. You usually get a little pill to take daily and you start seeing your doctors less and less - maybe every 3, 6 or 12 months. But your daily support system has disappeared.

Next you come to the end of your little pills. What next? I am not sure how often I will be followed by my medical and radiation oncologists. I know my surgeon's office will take charge of my mammograms and their follow up with the nurse practitioner each year. I think I will continue to see my medical oncologist for the next year because of my osteoporosis which was partly induced by Femara. I will find out next week how often I will see my radiation oncologist in the future. I have been seeing her every six months.

The hospital where I go to has a system where you rotate through your doctors and are seen by someone at least once every three months to ensure continuous follow up. I am sure this will start going to every six months at some point. But I do find it comforting that they follow me so closely. Because with my medical history, they need to be sure.

If they took all the follow up away, how would I feel? I like the continuous level of care on some level but I also find all these doctor appointments a pain in the neck. They have slowed down considerably. It is no longer uncommon for me to have a month or more between any doctor appointment. It is doubtful that I will max out my out of pocked expenses this year, for the first time in five years. This is another sign that I am 'healthier' even though my medical file continuously grows with non cancerous diagnoses and treatments.

And life goes on and the cancer roller coaster is still there so no its not over. It may never be.

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