Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Research Nerds

I had my post-mammogram follow-up with my surgeon today.  All good news!  She said the results were clear and no issues whatsoever.  She did an exam, and said everything felt great.  They also altered my testing schedule.  I was going to be on 6 month mammogram check-ups, but my surgeon and oncologist were speaking recently and exchanging thoughts on the latest research.  Such a high frequency of mammograms has proven not effective, and also poses the risk of too much radiation exposure (and I've already had quite a BIT of radiation exposure, considering...)  They both agreed that myself (and another patient who is even younger than I am!) should minimize the amount mammograms in our lifetime when possible.
So I've been demoted/promoted to just yearly mammograms for the next few years.  And then bi-yearly from that point forward.
She brought up that the question of "what about MRI's?" might come up.  Well, that poses some risks as well.  Research shows that the contrast dye injected into patients before the MRI may be linked to a higher risk of developing neurological issues (Alzheimer's, etc).  So, again, I'm young.  If they are injecting me yearly for the next 60 years, that could cause a whole 'nother set of complications!  So, unless they have a specific concern they want to look at, they will use the smallest amount of testing recommended.

So...Okey Dokey.   I like that my doctors are research nerds.  I don't, however, like the little voice in my head worrying about radiation exposure and Alzheimer's disease.  Bleh.
It is unnerving to think about all the abuse my body has gone through the last year with chemotherapy and all that.  I noticed the other day that my driver's license still says "organ donor" on it, and I was a bit disturbed when I thought to myself "I need to get that taken off."  Don't want to run the risk of giving someone tainted organs...  Who knows what kind of evil is hanging out in there.
Add THAT to the list of uncomfortable thoughts that accompany a cancer diagnosis.

Not to linger on uncomfortable topics or anything, but I took myself out to brunch after my appointment today and perused the section in my "Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book" (the breast cancer bible!) regarding reoccurrence.  I'm not particularly worried, but it is naturally a topic that crosses the brains of breast cancer survivors occasionally.  Its smart to read up and just be aware of the worst case scenarios and possible symptoms, so that I am EDUCATED!  I'm following the example of my awesome research nerd doctors. :)  I'm not dwelling.  Just being smart.

Speaking of uncomfortable thoughts/conversations accompanying a cancer diagnosis, this conversation was the opposite and super awesome:
I was talking with a co-worker friend about our trip to Las Vegas and she said, "Well if anybody deserves an awesome spontaneous trip this time of year, considering your experiences a year ago, it's you!"
I know, right?!  <3

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