All appears good on the check-up front. We’ll know in a week when the four vials of my blood they took have been appropriately screened, tested and magnified (or whatever it is they do with all that blood o’ mine).
My visit to Dr. Glaspy for my one-year and 6 months post-chemo (or one-year three months post all treatments) check-up went just about as I expected with one exception.
I mentioned the lingering issues which either occured during chemo and never went away or have cropped up since chemo and my body does not seem to be clearing up by itself. In no particular order those are:
1) my eyelashes continue to grow in and then fall out. Every few months (like now) I end up with three or four long normal eyelashes and then stubble for the rest. And mascara looks ridiculous. The horned-eyelid effect is not a good one.
2) my digestive system has never returned to normal. Enough said.
3) I have to cough and clear my throat for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes after eating anything.
4) the right breast (the formally “afflicted” one) seems to have a certain unnatural firmness (right, I know…not supposed to be something one would complain about…unless one was a panicky former breast cancer patient).
5) I still have sleep issues (insomnia and night sweats).
Now, none of these things are problems that cause me pain or worry or really even are things I think much about. But, this far out from treatment I figured I’d ask if these were now just a permanent part of me or if there was anything I could do about any of the above. And for item #1 I asked about a prescription for Lashtisse (or whatever that is Brooke Shields does the eyelash super-growth commercials for). I also asked about seeing a nutritionist and/or ear, nose & throat specialist.
Dr. Glaspy gave me that patient, indulgent smile of his along with the Lashtisse prescription (clearly, he is not a believer! But also, I think he may think eyelash growth is a silly concern. He may have a point). Then he said….he said…cough, cough…he….said…..(with the exception of #4 which is the result of the radiation)……cough….he said….
“I’m willing to bet that all of these issues would clear up if you lost some weight.”
Now, it’s not like I haven’t noticed I’ve gained weight. According to my chart, I’ve gained 12 lbs since the cancer odyssey began. And I’ve gained 30 since Chris and I began dating (as has Chris; we’re sure this is pure coincidence). But I’ve never in my life been overweight or had to watch what I ate. Not rail thin, but not overweight. And I eat (and drink) like a teenage boy. And I don’t exercise. At all. Huh. Who knew that was all going to catch up with me one day?? And now is that one day. I’m telling myself that I’ll take walks while I’m in Paso Robles next week and when I return I will join the gym and talk to a nutritionist. Assuming I can roll myself off this couch and get myself all washed up with that rag I’ve got tied to the end of a stick for bathing purposes now.
Then we left Dr. Glaspy, went on over to the (totally healthy, dietetic, nutritional) Cheese Shop of Beverly Hills. $200 later (including purchases for friends) we went to our usual “no cancer anymore” dinner celebration with the good and great Dr. Karam. See photo above for his hair growth (the curls are coming back) and mine (the curls are going away!). And photo below for how Chris’s massive head of hair is doing (he’s due for a cut, but the nurse drawing my blood was loving his great hair and complimented him on it…so maybe he won’t cut it just yet).
Much to our surprise we later ran into Emily, Chris’s BFF from high school, and Emily’s former roomie Hillary. The amazing coincidence here is that the first time we met Dr. Karam was of course January 8, 2009– my first appointment after the “highly suspicious of malignancy phone call. That night after my appointment we went out to dinner with Emily (and some random never seen again guy–by us; but Emily has dumped him too) and another friend of Chris’s, Ashley. So last night, the other friend role was played by Hillary (second from right) and the random guy role was played by Shawn (second from left)–one of the owner’s of The Yard where we ate. And hey, anybody recognize the not-so-random guy in this next photo?
Chef CJ –fan favorite from Top Chef Season 2. He’s the chef at The Yard and joined us for a bit. Obviously he was just trying to show me how tall and thin is done. Apparently, it can be done. Huh. Something to think about….while I finish off these cheese and crackers and sip some more wine.