Today is my one week anniversary of being CANCER FREE! Yay! Let the pigeons loose! Huzzah! Huzzah! And there was much rejoicing!
Melanoma spreads easily and has a high rate of recurrence. The whole purpose of my chemo regimen was to make sure there was no spread and to try and prevent a future occurrence. In order to be sure that everything worked, I have a lot of following up to do. I may be cancer-free, but I'm not yet doctor-free.
Here's my schedule for the foreseeable future:
EVERY THREE MONTHS
Alternating scans and x-rays, followed by an appointment at the clinic to get the results. At some point this will drop to every six months, then once a year. After about five or so years, I'm done. At that point, I'm considered to be successfully non-recurrent.
EVERY THREE-FOUR MONTHS
Dermatologist appointment. I have to get all my moles regularly checked and monitored by a doctor for the rest of my life. I have one on my back right now that is kind of suspicious and has tested abnormally. We were holding off on doing anything until the chemo was over, so I'm thinking that pretty soon that sucker's gonna go. My next appointment is November, and we'll probably make the arrangements then.
Given my family's history of cancer--both my mother and grandmother died from it--and moles*, I'm pretty much okay with doing whatever we need to do to keep this from happening again. Cancer has pretty much consumed 2013 for me, and I am not the least bit eager to ever repeat these last eight months again. If it means inviting the damn dermatologist to Thanksgiving dinner, then I'll set him a place at the table.
It won't be too long before I'll be at the age where colonoscopies come into my life on a regular basis. I'm guessing there'll be some prostate screenings too. Bring it on, I say! I intend to hang around for a while yet. There are comic books to read and junk to buy and sell and blogs to write and bikes to ride and kitties to pat and music to listen to and soaps to watch and.......lots of other important stuff to do! Not to mention the fact that I have a wedding coming up!
Thanks again, everyone, for going through this ordeal with me. Blogging and touching base with you all was an important part of my coping strategy, whether I was writing about the cancer or not. I truly do appreciate you all and have nothing but good hopes and wishes for all of you!
*My grandfather told me about the moles he had removed when I saw him right before he died in July. One of my cousins had to have pre-cancerous moles removed in the spring. My whole ordeal even prompted my uncle to get his moles checked out and he had to have several removed. He had been putting that off for years. We are a moley people!