While I’ve completed 3 surgeries, 16 rounds of chemo and 32 radiation sessions – and I’ve begun my daily dose of anastrozole (to be continued for the next 5 years) – I realize that this isn’t really over.
I still have swelling in the radiation treatment area. And while my arm isn’t showing any signs of fluid build up (lymphedema), I do have a larger than normal poochy place (where typically old lady back fat is) and remaining tightness in the muscles in and around my treatment area, both surgery areas – including the cross muscles in my chest. I’m continuing to see my lymphedema therapist and doing daily treatment activities to get range of motion back and reduce the swelling.
I’ve had a plastics follow-up. He’s very pleased with the state of my skin. Noting that it has healed very well and looks amazing considering that it has been less than a month since I had my final radiation treatment.
That is exciting since I must have good, healthy skin in order to have a nipple created on the left side where my nipple was removed during the mastectomy.
I will be getting an ultrasound to determine what is contained in the poochy place. It could be all fluid, but it could also contain some excess fat – which he may (if it exists) remove.
Anyway, all of this skin healing and tweaking could last through the rest of 2016.
And I have follow-ups with my oncologist and oncology surgeon on a 3 month cycle now. I think that will decrease to a 6 month cycle eventually but I’m not sure how soon.
From here on out, I will have annual exams. (for all I know, I may be asked to do a follow-up mammogram in 6 months.) And with those exams, will come the stress and fear of something showing up again.
That’s why it’s called a journey. It’s something I will be on in some form or fashion for the rest of my life. Always on the lookout. Always suspicious. Always afraid that the “again” will happen.