Author's NOTE: In the interest of full disclosure, I am posting this email that I send to my MPIP List because I realized that this is one of the realities of my life that I try to keep private. I'm not always the happy, go-lucky, upbeat Cancer Survivor/Triathlete that you see here. But I suspect you guys already *knew* that... You are all pretty darn SMART that way! Still, it's a side of my *survivor ship* that I tend not to share with anybody other than fellow survivors.
I hope this post can serve as a "been there, felt that, still feeling it now" for those fellow Mel Warriors out there who lurk out there.
I'm with you guys, I am you guys .. I just happen to like to swim, bike and run allot too.
So I am coming up on my 2 year check-up. This year has not been quite the year I expected it to be. I guess I thought that once I finished Interferon, everything would be "simply glorious" and I would go back to Life as I knew it, only better!"
Since I finished the Interferon in May 2006, I have struggled with my hormones and my weight. I have gained about 40 pounds, missed multiple periods, gone through they symptoms of early menopause (night sweats, hot flashes) added two more doctors to my roster and after a whole lot of thyroid testing - been diagnosed with Polysystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) (which I am relieved to say seems to have nothing to do with Melanoma or the year of Interferon) and started treatment for PCOS. My running pace is slower now than it was on Interferon!! Chalk that up to the extra 40 pounds of weight I am carrying around these days. Weight that is "very slowly" coming off but not without considerably effort.
Now, coming up on the latest Derm visit and ONC visit and test, I find myself with an "blister" that I can't explain.
At first, I was convinced that it is a blister from the seam of my bathing suit. My other clothes don't rub against the spot in general so I don't imagine that my shirt could irritate my skin enough not to let this blister heal. In the last two weeks it has gotten less swollen and less
red but it's still there.
I know the drill: Call the derm earlier than planned for my follow-up and have them check it out.
Still I will feel stupid AND at the same time very relieved when it turns out to be nothing. I'll be even happier when I get the latest round of CT scans done and I can say "2 years NED".
I am an optimist, overall, and I am trying to find my "new normal" but lately I find myself mourning the "Old ME" and feeling a little cranky that I have so far to go to "get back" to my old state of health and fitness.
BLAH ... Holly's Pitty Party is over... I'm still here, that alone should be enough. I only wish that Kim from Iowa, Heather, Rob in VA and so many others were still here too!
Even when you are N.E.D (No Evidence of Disease) there is this nasty side effect that come with any Cancer Diagnosis. The side effect is "Necessary Vigilance". Every new spot, every unexplained ache, pain or odd symptom must be acknowledge, investigated and ruled out.
If you are lucky, you find a team of doctors who like you and don't mind "ruling out the possibilities" if you are not so lucky, you get a team of doctors who roll their eyes and run the tests but call you "difficult" or high maintenance. If you have the latter, I say "Find a new Doctor! I know I have done that once already this year.