I'm back from my last scheduled doctor's appointment of the year which is so good to have behind me. I don't want to tempt fate by saying it's the last doctor's appointment of the year because there is always the slim chance of an unexpected truck with my name on it. However, I'm glad that barring the unexpected I have gone to my last doctor's appointment of 2007. I saw the medical oncologist who follows me for melanoma and it went well. He thinks I'm doing well enough to extend when I see him. I still see the surgical oncologist too but hopefully I'm close to where those appointments will be extended too.
He thinks I should follow up with the oral surgeon that I have a January appointment with for the tongue lesion biopsy and also for the abscessed tooth. However, he went ahead and gave me a prescription to put on my tongue in the meantime because he thinks I may have thrush . Apparently I have more than one lesion now. That would be great if it cleared up with the medicine and I don't need a biopsy. From the cancer angle, I am doing well. No recurrences so far, and since I'm coming up on three years, that is great. He also said that at some point I should stop getting scans. He's going to schedule the full body PET/CT for March because I mentioned that my surgical oncologist asked if I'd do it at the medical ONCs hospital or at UNC where I see the surgical ONC. He mentioned that one problem with asymptomatic scans is that things can show up that aren't cancer and alarm me unnecessarily. I told him I knew that having been through a possible recurrence that went away on repeat scans but that I wanted the three year one, and maybe after that I'd be ready to stop. I also need to see what the surgical ONC thinks on that score since his follow up protocol may require the scans up to 5 years. I never asked the surgical ONC about when I would stop scans.
He also discussed how I've done everything that I can do and I will need to try and put it behind me because if heaven forbid I recur, knowing a few months earlier due to a scan probably won't make that big of a difference. He said he knew if I did have a recurrence that I was strong and would fight it and that there were new treatments that would probably be available. He mentioned CTLA-4 , and I was glad of that since the work there is among treatments I would consider. It ended on the note that making it this far I probably wouldn't recur and that what I am dealing with is the aftermath. Sounds good to me. I am ready for a nice long break from doctor's appointments. About 10 years would suit me at this point. Every time I say that, I am aware that I should qualify it with the caveat that I know how lucky I am to have health insurance and the level of care that I get.