Tag Archive | surgeon

Check and Double Check

The trip to Philadelphia was for my 6-month check up. I had four appointments in all: 2 ultrasounds, 2 doctors. I’m grateful for my hubby, who sat in the lobby watching Star Wars movies on his iPad, since he was not allowed in with me to any appointments. He refuses to let me go alone, and he insists on doing all the driving.

My first appointment was for a repeat thyroid ultrasound. This is the third one I had. The first two were done locally but the PennMed docs reviewing those reports and films did not think they were done well, and there was no recommendation action in the report. Since I will be going to Penn every six months anyway, it made sense to just have them re-do it. It was certainly a much more thorough ultrasound, but my developed test anxiety had me nervous. The amount of time the doctor spent doing the test made me start to panic a bit, since my default assumption is always that something is wrong. I waited the longest (about a week) for these results. Everything was stable, but they did want me to start seeing an endocrinologist. I have an TeleMed appointment with a Penn doctor at the end of March. Part of me just wanted to find a local doctor for ease of visits, but the quality of care at Penn can’t be beat, so… Penn it is. For those of you wondering why thyroid… This was an “incidental finding” from a prior CT scan that they are required to follow up on.

Appointment number two was a chest ultrasound to continue monitoring the “lump” that we all believe to be a “surgical remnant” but want to monitor to be safe. Everything was stable/same, so that’s good.

Before my doctors’ appointments, I had my vitals taken and my meds/history reviewed. Apparently, my heart rate was higher than normal. I didn’t realize this until I got into my third appointment was with my oncologist. She said, “oh, I see you were tachycardic…” Really? Heart rate was 103. I have to believe it was an error or typo or something. I didn’t feel like my heart was racing or anything like that, so I’m not really worried. But hearing the word “tachycardic” was surprising.

Everything went well. She was happy with how I was doing, that I’m continuing to exercise, that I got my first covid shot (at her recommendation), and that my side effects from the meds were all manageable.

My last appointment was with my surgeon, who I haven’t seen in a year, due to the pandemic. She finally got to check out said “lump” and her thoughts are that it’s a suture. It isn’t the size, shape, etc. of a surgical clip, per her assessment, and it’s just something we’ll watch to be on the safe side.

I love all of my Penn doctors. They always spend a good amount of time with me, and they seem interested in me as a person. Am I still exercising every day? Am I still writing? How is that grandson of yours? I think it’s important to feel a connection with your physicians and I feel so comfortable and confident every time I go there. I could conceivably stop seeing them and stay local only, but I just feel so much better going there (in addition to my local doctors). I am getting checked and double checked.

I will return in August for a repeat of all the same appointments.

IMDb: Check and Double Check (1930)

Free From

“Free from disease.”  No matter how many times I hear it, it will always be music to my ears.

During the year, I will have a series of appointments with a slew of doctors. Today was my annual appointment with my surgeon, just one of many physicians on my “team”, as he called it. The core team? Surgeon, oncologist, radiation oncologist, urologist, and gynecologist. (I don’t include my primary doctor here since he doesn’t really do anything for me!) The way it works out, every month or so, I am seeing one of those five special people in my life.

Dr. Surgeon did a physical exam, declared me “free from disease” (I totally understand that he meant there was no evidence of disease… it could certainly “be” there, but not visible) and made my day. He explained that, while (almost) 3 years out from my surgery may not seem like a major milestone, it actually is.  He indicated that within the first 2 years is your greatest chance for a local recurrence, so he seemed pretty pleased that we made it (almost) 3 years. And if he’s happy, I’m happy.

He asked me about reconstruction, which he promised he would ask me every year. “Have you thought about doing reconstruction?”  “Nope.”  I explained my rationale as part of our now-annual ritual — why put myself through an unnecessary surgery for no good medical reason? If I did it, it would solely be for the purpose of fitting some societal expectation. Fake breasts certainly aren’t medically necessary, and I don’t feel I need them to feel “whole”. I do not derive my self-worth from my breasts (or lack thereof).

He smiled and nodded… “The safest surgery is the one you didn’t have.”  He was in total agreement with my decision. And yet, he promised to ask me again next year — and for all eternity.  Sounds like he plans to see me beyond the usual 5 years. He explained that he will “gently encourage” annual visits for a longer time period because I am not able to have mammograms, and so physical exam is the best way to monitor. And I’m kinda ok with that.

I ended my day with a DEXA scan that my oncologist ordered back in January. They just scheduled it about a month ago. I had actually forgotten all about it until I got a letter in the mail. I was thinking I didn’t really need it, since I believe it’s for women who are taking those God-forsaken drugs that destroy all your hormones, thus putting you at higher risk for osteoporosis. But I didn’t put up a fight on this one and figured it wouldn’t hurt to have it checked. Dr. Surgeon said he thought it was a good idea because I am post-menopausal and that put me at risk.  I think I’ll be just fine, since I get loads of calcium in my plant-based diet!  🙂

*****

I tried udon noodles for the first time tonight.  Ingredients? Organic Wheat Flour and Sea Salt!  Last time I tried a different kind of noodle, it got all mushy.  These came out pretty good.  I made an Asian soup to pour over the top: Lemon Miso Soup with Udon Noodles.  I’ve been checking out more of the recipes on Klunker’s Kitchen, where this recipe is from.  The boys enjoyed it and it was easy to make.  I did, of course, eliminate the tofu.

IMDb: Free From (2014)