Is that it then?
This week marked my last visit to my surgeon for a check up and very underwhelming it was too!
After a quick review of how I was feeling, an examination and a gift of a leaflet explaining how to check myself, that was pretty much it. I was told that absolutely any problems, no matter how small, if I am worried I can phone either his secretary or a Breast Care Nurse and a clinic appointment would be arranged without the need to go via my GP and of course I was exhorted to remain vigilant as I should NOT see myself as in any way ‘cured’ merely that I’ve been fortunate to make it thus far without any new cancer appearing. He implied that if protocols allowed for it, he’d prefer I still had check ups but 5 years is it. All he could do is reiterate vigilance, shake my hand and wish me good luck!
It’s quite sobering really, as it’s odd to think that I won’t be seeing my lovely surgeon again and I am now pretty much on my own when it comes to monitoring what my body is up to. Admittedly I still have at least one more appointment with my oncologist, but after 5 years of regular hospital appointments it’s a little daunting to find myself ‘going it alone.’
Part of me wants to shout from the rooftops that I made it to 5 years when it looked to begin with that I wouldn’t even survive treatment. However, a bigger part of me is more pragmatic – why tempt fate? Just because I’ve been lucky to get this far doesn’t mean that’s it for worrying about cancer from this point forward. The other thing is that I do not want to have to constantly explain to people that being discharged from one’s surgeon doesn’t constitute an ‘all clear’ or ‘cure’ because there is no cure for breast cancer. All you can really do is hope and that is not the kind of news people want to hear.
I get really tired of trying to explain that unlike many other cancers, breast cancer is sneaky, it can lurk in the background for a long time before popping out again. A friend’s mother is currently battling not just a new primary but Secondary (Metastatic) Breast Cancer having survived 20 years from her first diagnosis and this is not as uncommon as one would like to believe.
Breast cancer is not all pink and fluffy, it is NOT a ‘good’ cancer to have and is one of the biggest killers of women of my age group (50’s) in the UK. It is not something to be taken lightly. I’m not going to spend every waking moment worrying about the possibility of the cancer coming back, that would be foolish but I’m not sanguine about it either. I’ve been lucky so far, let’s hope it stays that way!
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