Monday, February 28, 2011

Feels Like Old Times

After having such a nice break, I've got four appointments in as many days this week.  Feels like old times!

Today I went in for my physical therapy evaluation, which I was surprised how thorough it was.  I am impressed with my new physical therapist, he reminds of the actor Dean Cain.  Can't hurt.  He asked lots of questions and wanted to review all of my cancer stats including the type, and all of my treatment.  I told him my goals during therapy are to rebuild and regain strength and stamina, lose weight, and address the pain and discomfort I have because of the BLM.  We talked about all of that, and I was very happy when he also wanted to talk about my neuropathy and balance issues.

This lingering neuropathy in my right foot has continued to be a real concern, although I have been reassured many times that nerve repair is very slow and most likely this will resolve itself.  I hope it does, but I've also learned well enough after cancer to expect the unexpected.  If it doesn't get better, I need to find a way to live with a partially dead foot.

Dean, or so I will call him, was very empathetic and enthusiastic about all of my issues and made me feel like we would work together to find solutions for me.  One of the things that made me feel better is that he explained balance is something that can be developed and trained.  He's worked with many patients who had neuropathy issues and some who even lost toes, (yikes), and has helped them deal with the associated balance issues with great success.  I felt a whole lot better after hearing that.

His plan for me is twice a week sessions with him for the next two weeks, and then I will merge into the cancer wellness program that he is the lead physical therapist for.  In that program, which also meets twice a week, I will be doing physical therapy, exercise, and nutritional counseling.  I am excited about all of this, and feeling optimistic.

Dean said all things considered I am doing really well, look great, and have very good flexibility and range of motion in my affected arm.  I felt very good about him, he seems confident he will be able to help me.  I go back for my next appointment this Thursday.  He knows it is my goal to return to work in mid April, and thinks we can make a lot of progress between now and then.

While I was there today, my lymphedema therapist also popped in, and I will be seeing her for a short visit on Thursday as well.  She is going to check and measure both my arms and compare it to the measurements she took the first time she saw me during radiation.  I will always be at risk for lymphedema, and as I've mentioned before, it's something that can occur years after treatment.

Tomorrow I have the part two to my gynecology appointment.  I will be having a pelvic ultrasound of all my girly parts to determine what my baseline looks like.  This is because while I am on Tamoxifen I am at risk for the rare side effect of uterine or ovarian cancer, so they will be keeping an eye on any suspicious changes there.

The good news is my pap smear results came back normal, and as suspected, my vaginal culture came back confirming BV (good ol bacterial vaginosis).  I did complete the 7 nights of cream, but to tell you the truth, I still don't feel like Muffy is back to normal.  She's always been such a good girl, never had any problems with her, and I don't know if this upset in flora and fauna is due to chemo or Tamoxifen.  I will be going back to the gynecologist next week to discuss the pelvic ultrasound results and further discussions about what else we can do to get Muffy's groove back.

Wednesday I have my six week follow-up appointment with my radiation oncologist, Dr. Lotus.  It will be great to see her and all the radiation staff.  My skin continues to heal, and I think I'm ready for the pool again but will recheck with the doc.  One thing that did happen, I had a small mole on Flopsy that after radiation got really dark in color, and then seemed like it was shriveling up.  It scrubbed off in the shower!  I was actually happy about that, I didn't like how it looked, and planned on talking to the plastic surgeon about having it removed, but it fell off.  Is that ok?  Will find out.

The main thing I notice 6 weeks out from radiation is the developing tightness and numbness that is going farther down my arm, and more into my ribcage.  I will talk to Dr. Lotus about all of that and hope physical therapy will help.

Can you believe it's already March tomorrow?

It's almost Spring.


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