Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Annual checkup yields good news!

Yesterday I went to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America for my annual check up. For those unfamiliar with the cancer treatment center, it's an integrative facility that provides services for the body, mind, and spirit.

My day began in the survivorship department. While there, I met with the doctor and was asked about how I'd been feeling both physically and emotionally. We talked for about half an hour. The doctor and I had a few laughs and it was probably the most pleasant visit I've ever had. Instead of making me feel that she was the doctor and I was the patient, I felt like we were old friends just having a good chat. It was refreshing and I left her office feeling very optimistic.

Next was the port lab where I have my blood drawn. It's always a challenge there because I always have to explain about my lymphedema and why it's necessary to have blood drawn from my hand instead of my arm. You'd think, after 4 years of being a patient there, they'd remember or have put notes on my chart to remind them, but they don't. And it's always interesting that I am the one to point out exactly where the butterfly needle needs to be inserted to find blood, but I'm glad to do it instead of becoming a pin cushion for a newbie.

After the bloodwork was done, we had a 45 minute wait until the next appointment so I gave my husband a tour of the facility. We went upstairs to visit the library and the pool room. I showed him the chapel and the medical records department. We stopped by the inhouse wing where those in long term treatment are housed and we visited the cafeteria, gift shop, and the imaging department. When we'd completed the tour, we found a quiet corner and took time to enjoy our books.

Next stop was the oncology department where we waited another 15 minutes before I was called back and then, I waited about 20 more minutes before I heard a tap at my exam room door.  Instead of my oncologist, a nurse practitioner came in and explained the doctor was extremely behind and she would be helping me. She was very pleasant and I enjoyed my time with her. After a physical exam, she went over my labs and gave me the good news that I'm still in remission, although I prefer to use the term NED - no evidence of disease. To me, remission sounds too much like the cancer is lurking around just waiting for permission to come back. I don't want to even think about that.

As soon as she gave me the news, I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders. I didn't realize it until then, but I'd been extremely stressed wondering what the blood work would show.

We left the cancer treatment center and went out to dinner to celebrate. It was a wonderful evening and I was so very thankful.

God has been so good to me. I am blessed and highly favored! Now, I can breathe a sigh of relief and get busy living my life.

It seems it's been so long that I've been able to focus on anything other than cancer. It feels good to feel good and to know I'm cancer free.

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