Pinky Pie

Celebrating a year & Me

Posted on: August 11, 2010

It's great when family has your back (and friends).

I’ve always loved a celebration but how exactly does one observe and record the first anniversary of being sans breasts – a year since my mastectomies?

Cakes? Balloons? Hard drinking? I don’t know, but it’s coming up on August 13. I’m open to suggestions.

Over the last year, I’ve written about the good, the bad and the ugly of cancer treatment.  I’ve described the ups and downs of chemotherapy and radiation, along with side effects, battles over insurance, and life since I finished treatment. I wrote about celebrities and other cultural icons, who I used to help explain different aspects of my care. I was funny at times, scared at others and on occasion sad. But I got through it.

I had a checkup yesterday and can report I am fine and doing well. The exam was not without its moments, however, when the oncologist felt lymph nodes under my arm.

He said he was 95 percent sure that he felt normal lymph nodes, but just to make sure, he decided I should have an ultrasound.

It's nice when family has your back ...

So I did and it is all clear: just normal lymph nodes. No indicators of cancer. But I know that I’ll be watched very carefully. As my regular oncologist said, “With cancer you can’t have any grays. You need to know.”

What was great about the ultrasound exam is I felt comfortable the minute the ultrasound technologist came out to get me – she has been a good friend of my daughter’s since they were babies. She put me at ease with something like, “Sue, you have to stop bothering me at the office.” I agreed.

I know she does not say it to other patients, but for me it was perfect. She can do that with me as I have baby pictures of her and Maggie on a camping trip between our two families. I have history with her.

We talked and joked as she did a careful, professional examination. Then the radiologist came in and we chatted after she immediately told me the ultrasound showed no indication of cancer. I was fine. We then discussed our sons, who had been friends in high school.

This is the good stuff in healthcare: when you connect personally with those providing your care. I happen to have known these two women outside of the clinic/hospital, but I do feel the care is very personal and caring from those I have just gotten to know this last year.

That feels good.

Now back to the celebration … Suggestions?

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