Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy oncology appointment today

I had my regular appointment with the oncologist today. My CA 15-3 tumour markers are still within normal range at 35. The only weird thing was that my hemoglobin was a little bit lower than normal at 113 instead of its usual 123. It's not a big change, but since blood is related to the bones, she wants me to have a bone scan.

It's about time for a bone scan anyways. Because my tumour markers are stable in the normal range and I've got no new pain or anything like that, I fully expect that the scan will show nothing new. The scan is scheduled for next Wednesday and she'll call my if anything shows up. I don't expect to hear from her; I'll get my results when I see her in two months.

Besides, anemia, or low hemoglobin, is a side effect of hypothyroidism - remember my TSH was a little high (a sign of hypothyroidism) the last time my family doctor did my bloodwork? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the hypothyroidism is causing the slight anemia. If the TSH is still low when my bloodwork is retested in January, I'll hopefully get some medication to control my thyroid. Then my hemoglobin can go back to normal and I can lose some of this weight I've gained.

My oncologist is going to schedule a mammogram for me. My surgeon (who I saw on Monday) suggested that I have them done regularly and my oncologist agrees with him. She says that her patients with minimal disease - like me - who she thinks are going to be around a long, long time - like me - shouldn't be ignoring their breasts.

She also strongly recommended that I not go back to work; that if I had to or really wanted to, that would be one thing, but it's more important to live a satisfying life. She said that she's realized, working with cancer patients, that there's more to life than working and she's now encouraging her patients to live well.

Oh, and I was scheduled to have Pamidronate on New Year's Eve but she's canceling that appointment. She thinks that I shouldn't have to come in for Pamidronate on that day because it's New Year's Eve. Missing a month is no problem; she's waiting for current research to be published that says that Pamidronate only needs to be given every two months instead of every month to metastatic breast cancer patients. Apparently the oncologists at Princess Margaret are already doing this ahead of publication, but my oncologist is a little more cautious.

I'm not complaining that I don't have to have Pamidronate on New Year's Eve. I don't know that we'll do much of anything that night, but at least I'll be able to choose whether to do something; if I'd had Pamidronate, I wouldn't be able to make that choice because I'd be too sleepy.

And that's it, I think. We covered a lot in that twenty minutes! I came away feeling quite positive and optimistic about my current condition. I love that she thinks I'm going to be around for quite a while yet. Life is good. :)

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