Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes…

Well hello again, blog-followers! If there are any of you still out there, then thanks. Really. Before I get to my usual rambling, I’d like to apologize for the long absence. I don’t know if it was the fact that things were going ok, or the sheer exhaustion that came with thinking about cancer for 24/7, or just life happening, but I let this get away from me for entirely too long. So let’s do a little recap, shall we?

Last you knew, I was waiting for CT scan results, yes? Thankfully, those came back clear. Yay! Things were going ok (other than the constant pain) and I was getting back to living. Unfortunately, my oncologist broke up with me after that. (Insert weeping sounds here.) Ok, not really – he just got a better job offer. He was hired by Stanford University to be the department head up there. *pours one out for my homey* I was really happy for him, and he transferred me over to a new oncologist at UCLA who just happened to be pretty awesome. And ridiculously good looking, but who pays attention to that kind of thing? I had a few checkups with the new guy, and all was well. Until it came time to schedule another checkup, and I was informed that he was leaving UCLA to go work for awesome oncologist #1. (Stanford is now on my shitlist, by the way.)

So fast-forward to 2014. Still having weird random pains, and generally feeling like crap. Due to some other on-going health issues, I was referred to a GI doc at UCLA. (Funny how once you have cancer, your general practitioner just refers you to specialists for everything…) A few biopsies and a virtual crap-ton of tests later, and voila – I got diagnosed with a new auto-immune disorder and prescribed some ridiculously expensive steroids. (Thanks Air Force for the $1600 a month drugs!) Upside? The drugs work like a champ and I finally, FINALLY, feel like a normal human being again. Downside? The short-term steroid taper that is successful treatment for 85% of patients didn’t take with me, so I’m on them long term. I’m now considered immuno-suppressed (yep, I have a non-existent immune system now), so I have to avoid sick people and due to some weird drug interaction, I can’t eat grapefruit. No great loss on either account, I’d say. Sick people suck, and grapefruit is disgusting.

Feeling good and getting back to normal, right? Well, since we couldn’t have that for too long, I got 2 more cancer-type scares this spring. Yay! To keep it short, after a doc found a lump, I endured a lengthy diagnostic mammogram and a ridiculously extensive ultrasound. But it turns out I don’t have breast cancer. More yay! And after having my primary care doc on base grab my arm and basically demand to carve out a mole, it turns out I don’t have skin cancer either. Stress? What stress? Thankfully, that was quickly forgotten and I got to enjoy a pretty fantastic summer.

Here I am feeling all awesome and normal and starting to forget I ever had cancer. Awesome sauce! But before we left California (oh yeah, we moved recently), I had one last follow up appointment with a completely new oncologist. (Also awesome and good-looking. Seriously, UCLA knows how to hire doctors!) I told him that I was feeling great, and that all the weird pains went away when I started taking the steroids – except for an occasional ache deep in my hip, which I was sure was due to me being old. He did some tests and surprised me by ordering another PET/CT scan. Uh oh. Those are expensive. And usually only ordered with a cancer diagnosis and/or serious suspicions of a recurrence/metastasis. Insert panic/stress/ass-clownage by office staff/more stress/more ass-clownage by office staff/more panic and finally, after a good two weeks, I got the all clear. And there was much rejoicing. However, there was a ‘but.’ My PET/CT scan was all clear, but…one of my other tests came back wonky, and it appears some other bad ju-ju happenings may be a-brewing. Ugh.

My oncologist wanted to do more tests, but unfortunately we were moving the following week. And I’m sure he would have been hired away by Stanford at that point anyway. *snark* But he made me promise, and sternly lectured me, to have the follow-up tests done as soon as I got to my next assignment. We finally got all settled in at our new location (on the beach in Florida!) and I’m working on finding a new oncologist and getting that follow up appointment made. But to be totally honest, I’m not working all that hard. Yeah, yeah, I know. But dammit, I want to enjoy a few weeks of living on the beach, enjoying starting my new job, buying a new home, and basically not thinking about cancer for the first time in almost 3 years. It’s been kind of nice. I wish I could just ignore it, but I know I can’t. Which is why in between training for my new job, buying a house, enjoying the beach, exploring the new town, and generally living life and keeping busy, I’ll find the time to see a doctor. Because I really want to be around to enjoy the new job and the new town. I kind of like it here, and I kind of like living.

If you’ve stuck around this long between blogs, and managed to read this rambling synopsis of the last year, then you, dear reader, are awesome. Kudos to you. May you find yourself being treated by a doctor at UCLA some time soon for something totally non-serious. You know, because they’re good-looking, awesome, and pretty darn nice folks. And you deserve something good for sticking around and reading my blog. Seriously, why did I have to explain that to you? You people should totally get me by now. *shakes head and walks away*

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