Thursday was a long day of waiting, doctors appointments, more waiting and more doctors appointments.
First we saw Dr T, my plastic surgeon. He seemed pleasantly surprised when he examined me. Even though my skin is almost all healed, he wants to wait five or six months after radiation before doing reconstruction surgery. I'm fine with that because I really don't want to be laid up for weeks during summer vacation and the type of surgery I'm having will require wearing compression garments afterward - who wants to wear those in the Texas summer heat? I have a tentative date of November 5th (tentative only if I have to change it for some reason).
Next we saw Dr K, my gynecological oncologist. Since I am BRCA+ (the gene mutation associated with breast cancer), I am at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. Removing my ovaries is a given. The medication I am taking to suppress estrogen can cause uterine problems, so Dr K says let's just take it all out. I'm fine with that, too. If I don't have female parts then I can't cancer in my female parts, right? We don't have a date yet, but hopefully that surgery will be scheduled the second week of August. Even though it will be laparascopic surgery, Dr K wants me to stay in the hospital a couple of days because of us having to drive several hours home.
Our last appointment was with Dr L, my surgical oncologist. I was supposed to see her in April for a three-month follow-up after my January surgery, but I was in the middle of radiation. So this appointment was a five months post-op. She was really surprised with how great I looked, too. (I keep telling people my skin tolerated radiation very well but nobody believes me until they see me!) She wants me to see my lymphedema specialist for some more physical therapy, and then I'll need to go back to Dr L a couple of weeks before my reconstruction surgery.
The one thing none of my doctors have mentioned is a plan for follow-up scans. Obviously my surgery eliminated the need for any future mammograms, but I'm not sure if I'll have any periodic tests such as a PET or CT scan. In talking with my fellow breast cancer warriors, their doctors recommendations are all over the place. Some won't do any scans unless you are having specific problems or symptoms. Others will routinely test for signs of a problem. I'm not sure where my doctors stand on that - something to remember to ask them next time.