I had my routine surgical oncology follow up appointment today and all is well on the cancer front. I continue to be N.E.D. which stands for no evidence of disease. My scans which haven't had any issues to check out actually read, no evidence of metastatic or recurrent disease so I guess that's NEMRD but Ned is easier and that's what I learned to use on the MPIP. My first NEMRD scan was last March and Ned by any other name smells as sweet. I haven't had a recurrence since my lymph node dissection but I've had times where I've sweated out possible issues on scans. I'm so glad to be on an annual scan schedule now so at least I didn't need to deal with that this fall. I did discuss TA-90 with my doctor as a way to find out if it might be safe for me to try immune suppressant drugs to help with the chronic issues. He said that he doesn't want me to go the route of immune suppressants because as unfortunate as the chronic pain is, from the cancer angle I've done great and he doesn't want me to risk that. In terms of TA-90, it's not offered many places and even if I traveled to get that test, he said it only shows the likelihood of sub-clinical metastatic disease about 8 months faster than than a scan and it's not a one shot deal. The point being that testing negative wouldn't mean I don't have cells that under the right circumstances could mount a recurrence so he doesn't want to see me messing with my immune system. I'm paraphrasing as he expressed it better than that. Enough of that, on to the important stuff. Photography.
I learned an important lesson today, never leave the house without your camera. Fortunately, today I had my camera stuffed in my backpack because I was planning on going to the NC Botanical gardens which are across the highway from my docs, if I had time. As it turned out, I not only went to the botanical gardens for a quick walk (I'll post some photos from that walk on another post), I had a blast taking pictures of the sky, clouds, and crane, reflected in the nuclear science hospital windows. I left my appointment and decided since I had taken a half sick leave day, I might as well follow through with my tentative plan to visit the habitat gardens. I looked over at the hospital and had to take some pictures right there. Made me realize I should always have my camera with me because pictures show up in the most unexpected places.I'm not sure if you can tell but the picture above shows the crane, which is being used in a new parking lot construction, reflected in the glass.It occurred to me that I should always take my camera with me to my appointments at UNC. Even if I don't have time for the botanical garden, even a boring hospital can be photogenic at times. Also, another time I might try to take some pictures of the older part of the campus. There are some lovely old stone buildings which for some reason make me think of my parents. They both loved their college and since my surgical oncology clinic is at the college both of my parents attended, it makes me think of them in pleasant ways. For that matter my brother and oldest sister went to school there too. It's almost harder though to combine photographing the older part of the campus with an appointment than to zip across the highway to the botanical gardens. Parking is an issue within the campus and it's too far to walk from the hospital to the part I have in mind.
When I used to perform as a singer songwriter, I went to Chapel Hill fairly frequently for the first year or so I played out. I did the coffeehouse rounds and also played at a smallish bar there. It was OK. I had a few fun gigs in Chapel Hill and a few not so fun gigs. I used to go see shows from time to time at the Carborro Arts Center and I can't remember the last time I did that. For that matter there are so many new places in Raleigh I rarely make it to. The Art Museum has an outdoor ampitheatre and my daughter and I went to a show with some of the performers from the Buena Vista Social Club but that was probably 5 years ago. I think this is turning into an, I need to get out more post. I have a friend who calls periodically to see if I want to go to a play or concert but I think she's given up on me. I know I use my physical issues as an excuse which is dumb.
This is turning into a long, rambling post, even for me. Before I stop, here's a teaser from my North Carolina Botanical Garden walk. Isn't she lovely. It was a nice way to take the medical taste out of my mouth. I've been meaning to go there ever since I realized my melanoma clinic was so close to the botanical garden. I haven't been there in many years. Probably decades since I tend to go to gardens in Raleigh and Duke Gardens is near where I used to work (still work for the same people but instead of commuting to Durham, my computer does the commute for me). I like the botanical gardens in Chapel Hill because it has so many different sections and habitat gardens to represent various growing conditions across the state. They have a large carnivorous plant section too.