It was an oddly bittersweet appointment. I like Dr. Sheehan; I chose her because, if my cancer came back, I knew she would carry her compassion and empathy along as she walked the path with me, wherever it led. Well, my cancer hasn't come back (yet. I can't even think the previous sentence without adding a qualifier.), and since I'm not going to go back on any hormone therapies, we are done.
She gave me a hug at the end of the appointment. I left feeling like someone had just rudely yanked my security blanket away. It's been comforting to know she had my back. Now, I'm on my own???
I am fully aware of how ridiculous my reaction is. My primary care doc will continue to check the cancer markers with my yearly blood work. My OBGYN will make sure there are no lumps growing on my chest. And, if something does come up, it's not like I can't call her up and get back in the patient rotation.
So, I'm working to get past it.
I have seen a lot of positive changes in my health since stopping the aromatase inhibitors some ten months ago. Just in the last two months, I've had to cut my fingernails TWICE because they were getting too long. That hadn't happened in a decade - one of the side effects of the assorted treatments was to weaken the nails. For years, the minute they grew at all, they would rip and tear. Forget about using them to try to pry up the edge of a sticker - the sticker generally won, which says a lot about the formerly sad state of my nails.
My energy levels are better, my weight is easier to control. No small gifts, these.
Some side effects will probably never go away. I'm pretty sure the balls of my feet will be numb-ish for the rest of my life.
I still miss my breasts. these plastic replacements might look good, as long as I have clothes on, but I'd take my old saggy originals any day. Those gals had sensitive nerve endings, which makes the current dead zone across my chest hard to live with, even now, almost a decade later.
Back when I was first diagnosed, I frankly never thought I'd be alive even five years later. I've started to think of the days I am living now as bonus days.
I don't have to work, I'm healthy enough. I have a pile of things I want to (re-)learn, to see, to do. It's been almost two years since I retired, and I am still working on the top levels of the pile, which I consider to be a good thing. I'm still struggling with trying to figure out how my days look, but am ever so grateful I am here for the struggle to exist.
I am starting to plan, however tentatively, for days more than six months out. I am gaining some confidence, though COVID-19 is NOT helping, that those plans might even come to fruition. Who'd'a thunk it?