Monday, March 03, 2008

Medical Stuff (all fine) plus more Downtown

The photographs in this post will be a continuation of shots I took in downtown Raleigh on Saturday. I focused on the capitol for my weekend snapshot post so for this post I'll use some shots I took from the rest of downtown. The content will begin with good news regarding my melanoma follow up and is a continuation of the good news I posted after my 3 year PET/CT scan was clear.
I had my surgical oncology check up today (Monday). I am three years out from my stage III melanoma diagnosis and all is going well. After my PET/CT scan in February, I went ahead and posted that I was three years out from my diagnosis and no evidence of recurrent or metastatic disease. Today was the physical exam and everything looked fine so I don't go back for six months which is when I see the surgical oncologist. Today's appointment was with the nurse practitioner. As long as there aren't any problems they alternate appointments (surgical oncologist and the nurse practitioner who works at the same university). A note on the photographs. The first group of photographs in this post were taken at Moore Square. The green space of Moore Square is one of two parks which were part of Raleigh's original plan in 1792.
The Moore Square part of downtown went through a decline after World War II but local government initiatives in the 1980s have attempted to revitalize the area. There is a city market , restaurants, pubs, galleries, an artspace where artists work, and a Farmer's Market. I'm going to go back for a moment to oncology. Sorry, I can't figure out natural segues so this may be a wee bit disjointed. As I've mentioned before, I am currently followed by two oncologists. The surgical oncologist who works at UNC in Chapel Hill and the medical oncologist who is at a cancer center in Raleigh where I live. Neither of the two oncologists are that far from me but UNC is around an hour drive depending on traffic and the Rex Cancer Center is 15 minutes away. Therefore, when I started seeing a medical oncologist in Raleigh, and I was given the option of getting my scans done at his hospital, I went with that option. I was a little thrown off when I saw the Raleigh doc in December and he said that it might be better if I stop getting scans. I know there are two schools of thought on that. On the plus side asymptomatic scans can sometimes catch a recurrence faster but on the down side there is the tension that can result from false positives (I've been through that one).My Raleigh doc set up the scan for me after I told him my UNC doc had asked if I was going to get the scan in Raleigh, or if I wanted him to schedule it at UNC. However, the Raleigh doc said assuming the PET scan was clear, that I probably wouldn't need to keep getting them after that. I brought the scan issue up with the NP today at my check up and she said that the UNC protocol for my stage was for me to keep getting an annual PET scan forever. Of course forever is a long time and I know that UNC could change their protocol between now and forever but I'll admit that at one level I was relieved.
I meant it when I said that I had decided that I was done with being a melanoma patient when my three year scan was clear. I can't spend the rest of my life waiting for the other shoe to drop. However, I am also aware that people do have late recurrences and that the health problems I've had since my lymph node dissection make it hard for me to know if I'm symptomatic. Therefore, I was somewhat comforted that my surgical oncologist would order an annual scans, even if that means I need to go back to getting them at UNC. It's not that bad driving to Chapel Hill for a scan but I'll admit that driving there without coffee for a PET scan isn't at the top of my list. That's the main reason it was nice having a shorter drive when I have scans done in Raleigh.
Back to the photographs, the shot I used in this post where you can see buses turning around was taken a few blocks from Moore Square, at Fayetteville St. The idea was to commission a large piece of art for the end of the street in the small portion of the surface which was left from the pedestrian mall years (my WS post covered the Fayetteville St. fiasco). One idea was to have a plaza of lights and falling water. However, when the city council couldn't agree on whether to approve the design by Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa, the benefactor who had committed 2.5 million dollars to help with the project, withdrew his gift. He said that the City Council lost its vision and he was done with the patron business.
The shot after the one with the buses turning around shows part of the Federal Building, which is also on Fayetteville St. That building was built between 1874 and 1878 to house all local offices of federal agencies and continues to house the downtown post office. The next shot is of the NC Governor's Mansion which is on Blount St. another downtown Raleigh street. The current Governor's mansion was completed in 1890 and it's just as well that it's largely hidden behind the tree because it's not everyone's cup of tea (certainly not mine). The last shot is of the children's museum which has had an identity crisis and name change in the 17 years since it was originally built. However, considering that the original capitol was burned down trying to fire proof the roof, as I discussed in the WS post, and the main downtown street was ripped up for a pedestrian mall, and then the mall was ripped up to put the street back in; I would expect no less from something worthwhile in my city. I think I'll stop here and save more of my downtown Raleigh tour for another part. Perhaps mix up more shots while I whine about my rheumatology or dermatology or pain doc appointments which are stacked up the rest of this month. Oh Joy.


Anonymous said...

I'm thrilled for you Carver!! The only way is up!

Great photos... as usual! :)

Carver said...

Thanks so much Sabine. I appreciate that. Take care, Carver

jmb said...

Good news again Carver. A bit of a dilemma regarding whether to get the scan or not. Maybe they will change it to every two years or three or five. Protocols change constantly as new studies are released.
Lovely photos of an interesting place.
Take care, Carver.

Barbara said...

Good news from you, I am very happy for you.
Love the photos.

Anonymous said...

Hey Carver~ Fabulous news on the 3 years NED! This is awsome news and I am so happy for you!

Keep enjoying life, and toss the shoes for flip flops!

You will always be special to me for being the first person to reach out your hand to me and say "I am here for you Jane"

Wishing us both to be old bags, with false teeth, and hearing aids!
Love ya gal!

Carver said...

Thanks JMB,
You're right about how they keep changing protocols and even between similar hospitals/cancer centers they all seem to do it a little differently. I'm lucky at the moment because I'm sitting on the fence about the whole scanning issue myself so if something changes it won't throw me. Take Care, Carver

Thanks Starnitesky, I appreciate that. Take care, Carver

Hey Jane,
Thank you so much. I am sending a ton of good thoughts out for you that you will have good news soon. I know this is a high anxiety time right now with your scans coming up. You are such an inspiration to so many and a great friend.
Love, Carver

SabineM said...

Fabulous photos I am loving discovering your town!
AND Fabulous news. :-)))

Anonymous said...

YAY Carv!
This is fabulous news, to be sure. I am so sorry for all of the anguish when it comes to scans or the lack of them. How does one spell relief? S-C-A-N.
Yep. It is quite a conundrum in dealing with this melanoma stuff. What did we worry about before? : )
I love the photos of the city. The UrbanDogz and I have really enjoyed our walks around the city of St. Petersburg over the last 10 days since we moved here to TinyCondo. It looks like Raleigh has plenty of sites to see and smells to sniff too.
Kinda dig it. Also kinda dig the history of it all too.
Everyone, everything, every place seems to have an interesting past if you care to spend the time looking for it.
Three years, my friend. May this peace be with you always.
Love, K.

I pass with relief from the tossing sea of cause and theory to the firm ground of result and fact.
-Winston Churchill

Carver said...

Thanks Sabine, I appreciate that Take care, Carver

Hey Kim, I hope your move has gone well. I bet St. Pete's is a very interesting place. You are right that every place does seem to have an interesting past when you get into explore mode. I always took Raleigh for granted so it was fun playing tourist. It is a huge relief to make it to three years. That is a great Winston Churchill quote. Love, C

MaR said...

Carver, those are great news and I am very happy for you.
Enjoyed your photographs, my favorite ones are the tree and the children's museum, love that pink! although I normally don't like pink :)

Carver said...

Thanks Mar, Good to see you back online. I like the children's museum too. It's so bright and vibrant. Take care, Carver