Since my last post I am happy to report that my drains from surgery did get to come out after just one week!
It has been just over three weeks since surgery now and I really feel great. I get some occasional soreness here and there but it will usually just last a few minutes and then resolve.
I had my three month follow-up with my oncologist last week. It's really hard to believe that it has been three months since I finished chemo. Fortunately I got all good news. My blood counts are now all back to normal with the exception of my platelets. She said it might take up to one year before they go back to normal after chemo.
My follow-up from here on looks like this: I see her every 3 months until it has been 2 years, then every 6 months until 5 years out, and then once a year until I am 10 years out. I won't have any routine scans performed. Instead I have a tumor marker checked at each visit. If that levels starts to significantly increase then we get worried about a recurrence and a PET scan would be performed. I also have to monitor any symptoms I experience. The most common places for breast cancer to spread are the liver, lungs, bone and brain. If I start to have any symptoms related to those organ systems then I will have further testing. People often joke about having a brain tumor when they have a headache, but unfortunately I don't ever find that funny anymore. Luckily I don't get headaches often, but now if I do my first thought is of recurrence. I have been losing weight since the end of chemo and realistically I know it is related to diet and lifestyle, yet until I had my liver function tests last week there was a small part of me that worried about having cancer in my liver. This is unfortunately what cancer does to you. Especially for the next several years I will always have some level of anxiety and paranoia. I have heard that it decreases over time, and can only hope that is true.
I had another ultrasound of my heart last week as well. The pericardial effusion is still there but from what I could see it does appear a little smaller. I am still waiting for the final report from the radiologist. My oncologist feels that if it was related to the cancer then the fluid should be growing, so as long as it is either remaining stable or (hopefully) shrinking then we will just continue to monitor it every few months.
Now for the fun part: my hair! It has really been getting thick lately. I seem to be the only person who hasn't thought that it is coming in fast until this past week. The pictures speak for themselves!