I met with my oncologist yesterday. It's been 3 months since chemo ended, and 1 month since radiation ended. I had blood work done prior to my appointment.
We discussed my remaining symptoms:
- blood work is good, liver enzymes are still a bit high so they will check them again in 3 months.
- tingly toes are an unfortunate side effect, they may still get better or may just stay like this.
- achey joints are another side effect that should get better in time.
- tiredness / fatigue is normal and will gradually get better. Keep walking.
- forgetting things is normal enough, but the feeling of ringing in my ears and light headedness isn't, so they have ordered a head CT.
We talked about when it makes sense to go back to work, and it was suggested a year from my original surgery (March). The thing is, when I first had surgery, the surgeon said I would be off work for a year, and I thought that was completely crazy. I didn't realize the treatment would take so long and take so much out of me.
We talked about future follow-ups, which will be every 3 months for the first couple of years. Bloodwork will be done each time, and an annual mammogram (February already!) I will also continue follow-ups with the surgeon and the radiation oncologist.
So that was it, everything was good, but then I asked a couple more questions. I mentioned that a friend had her similar follow-up and was told she is in remission. The doctor agreed and said I was too. Remission. Not cancer-free. Breast cancer isn't curable. I knew that, but it still sounds weird. Remission means there is no active cancer.
Second question was about my blood - since my counts are back to normal, when can I give blood. Again a surprise answer. Never. There is always a chance there are cancer cells floating around in my blood, which could transfer to another person through a blood transfusion, and actually grow into a cancer in the other person.