Monday, 8 August 2011

My First Visit with the Oncologist

Wow! 2 posts in one day. New record for me but I wanted to talk about the oncologist visit. I know a few other blogs I follow like to nickname their docs. I usually don't nickname anyone, but this guy deserves it. I was a little nervous going to the appointment as I wasn't sure what to expect. Dr. R. walks in and all I can think is he is the poster child for Metrosexual Guy. I was thinking I should then call him Dr. Metrosexual - but that's too long, he really should be Dr. Metro. hahaha. Anyways, nice human being. Young, handsome, nice suit, warm hands, light touch. Warm and caring but shoots straight from the hip. I really liked his approach. My main goal was to have a planned follow-up where someone actually knew what they were doing. So we have "plans". Unfortunately none of them include visiting him again unless this ugly "beast" comes back. Not that I'm overly sad. I can see nice looking men anywhere - the beach is one of the places. So this is the 5 year plan:
  • GP and lymph node checks every 6 months x 2 years then yearly x 3 years. 
  • Chest x-ray and blood work yearly x 5 years
  • Dermatologist visit yearly x 5 years - but likely for life
  • Go to doc anytime you have a change in moles or new ugly things, fatigue, loss of appetite, loss of weight, generally feeling unwell - now I was just about to say, I have all of these things all the time (except I'll take the weight loss), but he said it has to be a change from how I usually feel - OK then
Here in Canada, they are way more conservative with their testing. They don't believe in extra radiation exposure for Stage I and II Melanoma. The stats just don't support it and apparently the outcomes aren't any different and there are lots of false positives. So no CT, MRI, or PET scan - unless I choose to pay for it myself. I know my family doc would order some of that stuff if I pushed, but at some point I have to trust. He reworked my staging and said I was Stage Ib - which I was surprised as I was told I was Stage IIa. So I have to do a little more research. Although the stats are way better at Stage Ib. I like the 90% 5 year survival and 85% 10 year with a <10% recurrence. But who am I kidding, I truly think I'm a Stage IIa. I always have to look at worse case scenario to get through the tough spots. I know a lot of people are saying "Stage II - you should be thrilled, doing the happy dance and be half way to the moon". I am, I am, I am. But I also have been listening to your stories about starting off at Stage II........and, well, you know where you are at. But am trying to stay positive and keep the faith - and doing my happy dance.
Cheers all.


  1. I am doing a happy dance with you Carolyn <3.. Great news!! Great post!!

  2. Glad your doc has a plan. After I finished biochemo, my doc told me there's really no protocol for how to follow people like you. So they've made it up along the way. My wife once claimed that when I showed up for a follow-up checkup, they went in the back room and spun their diagnostic "wheel of fortune" to decide what to do next. Best wishes.