I had a great visit with my oncologist today. She spent a lot of time with me to go over any questions I had, then went through the next steps with me.
The neuropathy can take up to a year to clear up, and anything after that point is most likely permanent. Hopefully, the bone and joint pain should resolve within a few weeks. We talked over my fingernails and hands. It is still hard for me to type, write, hold things, and do much of anything with them. (Yesterday I tried to use chopsticks for the first time in months and couldn’t really do it). Part of that is the missing nails, but there is also a lot of neuropathy in my hands as well.
We talked about fatigue (yes), my spirits (pretty good), life after cancer, exercise (I’ve signed up for the Living Strong classes at the YMCA), follow up care (I will see her every 4 months. I will not do a lot of additional scans), and going back to work (she has advised me to extend my recovery period to the end of May due to the effects of the chemo and the condition of my hands).
She was also was very optimistic, in a guarded fashion. She said that what she saw gave her great confidence in a good outcome. Despite the size of my tumour and the aggressive nature of my cancer, there was no spread found, and my doing the full course of chemo was the most effective deterrent to it returning. She reminded me that I now a cancer survivor, and that life will have a new normal for me.
I have been really lucky with my oncologist. She is thorough, practical, and understands cancer not just as a disease, but as a life changing experience. She has been as much about the emotional effects as the physical effects. She is always available via email, and I don’t think twice about sending one or leaving a message for her if I have a concern. I’ve felt comfortable with her from the very beginning.
So, here we go on the recovery path! I’m thankful that I’ve been given the time to really get back to strength, and that I now can focus on being a survivor, rather than being in treatment.