Another Cancer Check-up; Another Year Clear

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Today was the day that I had to go in for my annual cancer check-up.  It’s always a very stressful time for me even though it has been many years since my initial breast cancer diagnosis.  Being the veteran worrier that I am, I always go a little nuts as this appointment approaches.  This year it was even more stressful because my regular doctor was out on “indefinite medical leave” so I was seeing a different doctor.

First up was a quick side trip into the lab for my blood work to be drawn.  Wow, they weren’t wasting any time on chit-chat.

“You’re starting right out with the big guns, aren’t you?” I remarked.  “Well, I’ll just tell you right up front that you will need to use a tiny needle and that I’m going to hum.”

“As long as you don’t hit, we’ll be just fine,” said the lab tech.

“Naw, I haven’t hit since I was a kid.  I’ve learned to control my impulses,” I laughed.

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She wasted no time sticking me and I wasted no time before starting to hum.  I had intended to hum a “Spring-y” song.  What I actually hummed was “Here We Come A’Wassailing.”  Why that popped into my head, I have no idea.  However, by the time it seemed like I had hummed it for five minutes and I swear I could feel the blood being SUCKED up out of my veins, I switched to humming variations on the theme.  I figured it was either that or I was going to pass out.    Finally, she pulled the darn needle out of my arm.

“Man, I don’t think I’ve given that much blood in a long time,” I complained.  “If you’d stayed in there much longer, I figured I was going to have to start singing an operetta.”

Next stop was the weight and blood pressure station.  I sat down and the nurse came over with a device that looked like the things they stick in your ear to take your temperature.  That’s why I was a little surprised when she brushed my bangs aside and swiped the device across my forehead and then touched it to the side of my neck.  Then she walked back over to the counter.

“Umm, what did you just do?” I asked her.  “Did you take my temperature?”

“Sure did,” she said, showing it to me.  Yup, it was my normal temp.  “It’s pretty cool, isn’t it,” she asked.  “Now, take off your shoes.”

“Huh?” I looked at her quizzically.  I wondered if she was going to take my blood pressure with some device that she’d swipe on my foot.

“I need you to step on the scale,” she explained.

Ah….the dreaded weight!  “Since it’s Presidents’ Day, are you going to knock off  an honorary 30 pounds,” I asked her hopefully.

“Fat chance,” she laughed.  Uh, huh…..that’s what I was afraid of.

Next it was time for my blood pressure.  The nurse wasn’t too happy about having to use the same arm that had been just “stuck” but she didn’t have much choice in the manner since we can’t use my left arm.  I’ve had lymph nodes removed from that arm and it can’t be used for blood pressure readings or blood letting.

“I’d just like to say that this arm has been heavily traumatized a few minutes ago, so if the pressure is high, that’s probably why,” I hedged.

No need to hedge.  My blood pressure was fine; probably because so much blood had just been drained out said arm.

Finally it was time to see the doctor.  I had seen this doctor one time before, back in 2005 and I remembered him as being quite pleasant.  He still was.

“All of your blood work is excellent,” he said.  “Everything looks great.”

He had me recline so he could check things out and remarked on the osteoporosis I’m dealing with.

“You know, I’m thinking it might be from the chemotherapy I had all those years ago.  I’m thinking maybe that leached a lot of calcium out of my bones,” I told him.

“Yes, yes…,” he said.  “You are quite right.  You were quite young when you had the chemotherapy and the studies and evidence is pointing to this side effect.”

As I sat back up and prepared to leave, he said, “We’ll see you in 2014.  You are doing fine. I looked over your chart carefully.  You know, I last saw you in 2005 and you look very good.  I don’t think you look any older at all.  How is that possible?”

“I’m probably just well-pickled,” I laughed.

Gee, where did that come from, I thought.  I think I meant to say “well- preserved” but after all that blood loss, maybe pickled wasn’t too far off.

I walked out the door with a much lighter step than when I had entered the facility.  It’s a good day to be alive.  Thank you, God!

  • kristieinbc

    I’m so happy for your great news as far as your health goes! I hope you treated yourself to something special after your appointment to celebrate! 🙂

    • Dee

      I sure did, Kristie. I treated myself to time with loved ones and just enjoying the sunshine, despite the cold temps. It’s good to be alive!

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