Sunday, August 17, 2014

Call Me Irresponsible

Friday was my last scheduled annual follow up appointment at MCV as part of the protocol that was established upon my release in August 2009.

For the first three years, the protocol involved semi-annual scans, bone marrow biopsies, blood work, and pulmonary function testing. After the third year, the testing was to be scheduled once a year.

Literally and figuratively, the testing is a pain in the butt.

Last year, I presented to the doctor who met with me that I didn't think the testing was still necessary. My logic was 1) I really didn't want any additional radiation to enter my body via the CT scan process, 2) I hadn't been experiencing any of the symptoms that I recall all too well that took place prior to the initial diagnosis in October 2008, 3) My blood work was normal for the last 3 years, 4) As my maximum out of pocket liability had doubled since initial diagnosis, I was not interested in adding additional financial obligations to my balance sheet.

The doctor agreed but did say that they may do one final scan this year as a final reassurance. At the time, I thought to myself, "That gives me a year to talk them out of it next year."

I met with the director of the unit this year. With that said, I resigned myself to the fact that the waiving of the final testing may be more difficult to obtain. However, after consulting initially with a Fellow who agreed with my logic but said the director would have to sign off on it, the director agreed to waive the final testing.

It wasn't because he was playing fast and loose with my health, but rather, he explained that patients with my initial diagnosis are most likely to experience recurrence within the first 2.5-3 years post treatment. That, combined with my current health and blood counts allowed him to waive the testing with confidence that it was no longer needed in my case.

September 26 is the last meeting of torment with my regular oncologist. After that, the process of electing her to sainthood will most likely begin.