Friday, 22 August 2014

Day 347: First anniversary check up

As I'm coming up to the one year anniversary of my diagnosis, it was time for my first annual mammogram and ultrasound. The poor girl at the Mater Imaging checked me in at 10.20a and asked if they were doing a full mammogram and ultrasound. I replied with something totally inappropriate about only having one side to do and she was a bit flustered.

The mammogram was fine with a normal result. The same went for the ultrasound. I asked the sonographer to check my scar and left chest wall just for peace of mind.  Again, all looked normal.

When she finished, I asked if she could look at the lump on my left forearm as I had an ultrasound booked in for Tuesday. She had the time so had a scan. There's definitely something there, but she didn't know what it is and didn't think it looked nasty.

I went over to see Dr. Fran and started my 12.40p appointment with Dr. Ben. We talked lots about my arm, then about any lingering symptoms post-chemo (none) and general health (good). He did an exam and seemed happy that the swelling hadn't spread to my armpit or breast. He then mused that my arm swelling might be caused my a blood clot as the Tamoxifen makes me more susceptible to clotting on long flights. He wrote me a referral for an upper arm ultrasound and got it scheduled for 2p. He wanted to be sure before the weekend as it would've meant me coming off Tamoxifen, going on a blood-thinner for a bit and looking into an oopherectomy so I could go on an aromatise inhibitor instead.

Dr. Fran came in and we discussed lymphoedema (a tough one for the medical profession, in part because it is not recognised by Medicare and thus treatment is not covered), a possible prophylactic mastectomy (doesn't reduce chances of a metastesis as cancer rarely moves to the other breast; any cancer in the remaining breast is usually a new one) and  a possible oopherectomy. We discussed the fact that my ovaries may not be producing much oestrogen anymore, so most of it would be coming from my fat cells. I worked out that reducing fat cells would reduce oestrogen production, and Dr. Fran agreed, "especially around the mid-section", she added.

I fit in a quick lunch with Deb and Roz, then headed back for my ultrasound on my possible clot. All was fine. I checked in with Dr. Ben and got the ok to go, 4 1/2 hours after arriving. So much for my day.

I'd managed to sort out with Emma that she would get the kids, which was great as I would've been late. The logistics of these unexpected tests and appointments can be challenging. They were happy to see her, so all was good.

I ended that madness of the day with a peaceful dinner with Jenna.

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