One of the deals you make with your doctors, after surviving cancer, is that you have to go back and see them periodically. How often depends on a number of factors, what type of cancer and how long you’ve been finished with treatments are two determinants. In my case I’ve been going back every three months since I’ve finished my treatments. I’ll do that for two years. After that I can cut down my follow up visits once every five to six months for a year or two. Then after that I’ll go see them once a year. This is all assuming there are no signs of cancer, which is what my doctors and I fully expect to find (or better said “not” find).
For my first few follow up visits it was always a relief to go see them. I couldn’t wait for the next three months to go by. I wanted and needed the reassurance that the once thing that threw my life into a tailspin was not coming back. I craved those visits, wanted to hear the words from the doctors that everything was still fine and I’m doing great. I heard it every time. I didn’t care that those words sometimes needed to be accompanied by more tests, more needles, more lying still on a table for full body scans. I didn’t care that I have to endure my all-time least favorite activity, “the nose scope”. I craved those words like an addict craves his substance.
But now I’m fifteen months out. The visits are getting routine. I still enjoy going and love to hear those words that everything is OK. But I don’t crave them with the same intensity. Right after treatment you are like a newborn, who doesn’t understand what the future holds. But, like a growing child, you gain more confidence in the results after every visit. Going on my routine visit now is more like going to visit an old friend. Even if I’ve only known these doctors for a couple years our circumstances for meeting and our connections thereafter were all very intense. You can bond to them quickly. Now that they are more in a monitoring phase, you kind of talk to them a bit differently and see them in a slightly different light. I’m completely amazed at how brilliant they are at what they do. Before cancer I knew that it went on. Modern Doctors have always worked tirelessly to save people’s lives from cancer. During cancer you don’t think about it, you are in a partnership with them to get you through to tomorrow. It’s not until after cancer, when the dust settles that the impact of what they do on a daily bases sinks in. What a great feeling!!
I had one of these follow-up visits last Friday. I am, once again, glad to hear that things are looking great for me. I am still cancer free. I am also glad to see my “old friends” again. If for no other reason, just to appreciate what they do.
Does anyone have any comments on visiting doctors for any type of follow-up visits? What if you don’t get along with your doctors, or disagree with them?