Though if you know me, you know this has been coming for a long time. A few weeks ago, I headed back to the States, ostensibly for a fun trip, maybe to check up on the house and make sure it was behaving, see friends, and just enjoy the luxuries of Target and Whole Foods, even if I really didn't need much from them.
The real reason behind the trip, though, I kept a bit quiet. Those who needed to know did, and I left it at that. It was time for the dreaded annual visit and ogram, and I really just didn't want to have the focus of an 8 day trip be on two hour long appointments. More importantly, for the first time since this whole nasty business happened, I realized I was okay going to these appointments. I didn't let them stress me out as much, and knew that nothing would be up.
To clarify: I didn't think anything would be up in the past. However, I'd let doctors, nurses and radiologist idle comments bother me, and this time I vowed to ignore them. I did fairly well, all things considered.
I had the 'gram' first, and I suppose it could have been worse. Over quickly, got the usual (but not as pushy this year!) "you *might* want to consider an MRI later in the year" and that was that. A friend went with me for moral support, and I am happy to say the entire thing lasted maybe 45 minutes and soon we were happily on our way out the door.
Next up, after numerous iced mochas at favorite haunts, and many, many, many good meals (but SO rich!), was the actual annual check-up. This time, unlike last year, I got a push for an MRI, but not until the summer (I said okay *if* we are back). Of course, it was coupled with that dreaded phrase, "because you are so young." I am so, so, so tired of that. Just say, "because" and be done with it.Being told that I'm too young, and no one this young 'gets' it implies that somewhere along the way I did something or somehow this is all my fault. I know no one else my age or younger appreciates the "you're so young" bit and it really just needs to bite the dust.
Other than that, nothing major or unexpected. I was told as of next year, due to my reconstructive surgery being more natural, I will end up having a normal ogram on both sides. I'd often wondered why I hadn't in the past, and apparently new logic dictates that, yes, it makes sense. While I can't say I'm thrilled, nor do I feel the ograms are the end-all, be-all, it's like I'm even more back to my old normal. Both sides, just like it should be.
So, there we have it. I went back to the States for my medical exams, and all is well. While I was there, it occurred to me how little these doctor appointments meant to me. They are, at this point, an inconvenience at best. I have not had any treatments in years, I'm not recovering (or anticipating) any surgery, and short of when I look in the mirror, I don't really think about what happened anymore.
I realize not everyone feels this way, but for me, that is a very good sign. It means, to me, that it's time to close the door on this whole nasty business. I take care of myself and according to my lifestyle review, should never have had the whole thing happen in the first place. Therefore, it's time to put it behind me once and for all. I only have one remaining yearly exam, maybe an MRI this summer, and then it will be just normal annual check-ups from here on out.
What does this mean? Well, you are likely to never read another blog post on the topic. I simply don't have the enthusiasm or desire to write about something that never should have affected me in the first place. Everyone is more than aware of my anti-pink stance (and that won't change), but there are so many other topics that need discussion other than the fact that I'm still tired of an overly pinked disease that is neither sexy nor fun. I mean, really, isn't everyone waiting with baited breath for my long overdue article on tax tips for those on unaccompanied tours? Way more exciting!
Should anyone be concerned, this does not mean I am not up for discussing the issue should someone need to chat with me. I have no issues with one-on-one conversations, especially if for support purposes, God forbid anyone else goes through something similarly awful. However, it's simply not a part of my life anymore, and I can't drag out that which simply doesn't interest me. It had been waning for the past two years, but I finally realized on my trip home, that as far as I am concerned, it's over.
I think, if nothing else, it really hit me when I had a completely unexpected and intrusive conversation regarding my health during my trip. No, friends, none of you. A completely random conversation with a near stranger where I was asked everything from why I'm not on Tamoxifen (seriously, that again?) to attempting to stresss me out about my daughters' futures. I am just not sure I can express how infuriated I was or how intrusive I found such a discussion. No matter what the intentions, I had not had a discussion like that with anyone in a very long time, and hope never to have another one again. It was full of comments, some criticism, and a lot of unexpected and unsolicited advice, none of which I needed. It. Hurt.
So, I'm finished. I'm over it and I've moved on. I'm happy to provide a shoulder to lean on, an ear in need, but I will not be blogging about this anymore, because it's not a part of my life. I'm happy, healthy, basically back to my old normal, and the assumption is that I will never, ever deal with this again. This in no way negates the amazing and overwhelming support I received while I was dealing with everything, and I will never forget that. However, it's time for me to move on...
Speaking of support, while I was back in the States, I had a chance to meet up with a bunch of fellow Foreign Service bloggers. I've been lucky enough to have already met a number in person, and made the acquaintance of a few more that night. We had several hours of lovely conversation and discussion at Lebanese Taverna (you just can't have too much LT in one trip), and I realized how grateful I am for this lovely group of folks. Even if we don't get to see each other terribly often, there's a kinship in the FS world that can't always be described in words, but really just makes the lifestyle so much easier. Thanks to everyone who came that night and *if* we make it back this summer, I'm totally up for another blogger night out!