It feels like that should be significant, that big round number. 200 entries. It’s been about three years since my initial diagnosis.
I had a follow-up with oncologist today, and she confirmed that everything looks good, and had some blood drawn to be sure the exemestane (anti-cancer-coming-back-drug) isn’t raising my cholesterol, which is apparently a thing that sometimes happens.
The everything looks good is significant, of course — she did her standard breast palpation and found nothing. Yay.
Also significant is that I forgot to be worried going in today — I was just thinking of it as routine check-up, and it wasn’t until the oncologist said, “It looks good,” that I remembered that it could have easily been not good. Three years is apparently how long I need to sort of forget that I actually had cancer. Huh.
I did also ask her if she could tell whether my cancer had been slow or fast-growing. There have been some articles I’ve run across about possible over-diagnosis of breast cancer, women going through pretty rough treatment for what would have been a very-slow-growing cancer that might never have been a problem. My doc said that yes, there’s been some discussion about that, but the issue is that you often can’t tell whether the cancer is going to be a problem or not.
Regardless, she thinks mine was fast. She pulled up the early labs and pointed to three elements that indicated that pretty strongly, and I can’t remember them all now (there was a spate of science-talk from her, because sometimes she forgets that my doctorate is not in anything that would let me understand her science-talk), though I do know one element was the fact that it was HER2+ (a hormonal thing that I used to know a fair bit about three years ago since it was critical to my getting into the clinical trial, but have now mostly forgotten).
Oh, and another element was the nuclear grading (evaluation of the size and shape of the nucleus in the tumor cells, comparing how they look compared to normal cells). My cancer was graded at 3. 3 is apparently a pretty bad grade. I can’t remember the third element at all, though. Enough all together to make her think it would be fast.
I know that it would be better, if my cancer was a slow cancer — if it came back, that’d be more likely to be slow too, I imagine. But honestly, I’m a little relieved to confirm that it was fast, because the idea of going through that whole brutal year for nothing would make me tremendously frustrated. It makes me feel better, knowing all that treatment and trauma was worthwhile and necessary.
But regardless, slow or fast, there’s no sign of any cancer in me. With any luck, the chemo and surgery and radiation got it all.
Next mammogram and doctor visit in six months. See you in September…
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