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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Uneventful head/neck visit - now on yearly schedule

I visited the head/neck surgeon that has been following me since the fall of 2006 after my initial surgery and radiation, and he proclaimed me ready for annual visits from now on. Yay! (I have been seeing them every 4 months.) Nothing much going on in the head; the places that are sensitive, are still so; the places that hurt like crap, still do; and he wasn't concerned with the voice since that was first followed by the ENT down the hall, but did give me sympathy about how long it is taking to heal. His resident gave me a right going over, exam-wise. I figure the most good that can come out of all this crap - cancer, treatment, changing of one's life habits - is to educate others on it, so I pretty much demand that residents and students are to be present and participate, if they are on that particular rotation. They need to see first-hand the weirdness of an ear canal that doesn't produce regular cerumen (ear wax, if I spelled it correctly). They need to manipulate neck muscles that have been radiated and operated on, as they try to determine the status of lymph nodes that may or may not exist in that general area. They need to hear first-hand from a patient a bit about how they are coping and doing since the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Learning by doing is about the best thing we have going for the health care profession, and I haven't seen a simulated patient yet that can offer what this cheeky librarian can. Looking forward to my visit next August!


Korean Cuisine said...

congratulations T! =) I'm sooo thrilled for you! I can't wait until I'm on an annual schedule as well. I'm supposed to get my post radiation MRI at the end of this month so I'm a little nervous but confident that it will be clear at the same time. Good luck to you!

Teresa Hartman said...

Thanks, KC! You will no doubt be on a yearly schedule much sooner than I was - I was held up by that strange skull lesion episode. Here's to your post-rad MRI being a non-event for you! -T

Molly Brawley said...

That is thrilling! I am so glad for you. My oncologist says I will stay on the six month scans (just chest x-ray) along with a breast MRI every other year. Do you have chest xrays at all? I also have blood work done every 6 months, although my onco says he doubts anything would show up to show a recurrence but he wanted to do it anyway.

And I agree about letting everyone learn...when I had a benign tumor (a schwanomma) in 2001 in my neck, I was lucky enough to get in with the Chief of Staff at University of Michigan and he asked if his residents, interns, and students could be involved since it was so unique. My answer was yes of course! I also went back to see him when I got the ACC/breast diagnosis to make him reassure me that the schwanomma near my salivary glands had NOTHING to do with ACC. He said I was just one unique lady to the medical field! : )

Teresa Hartman said...

Thanks Molly. I am supposed to get a chest xray each year, but no one has scheduled one for me in a while. (I will ask my family physician about it next time I see her.) I am glad to know you, you unique lady - the medical field is lucky to have us to learn from! -T

Jeanne said...

Teri--you are making me laugh ... partly with relief, that this checkup was good ... partly because I see a "simulated patient"--sort of a rubber doll--in one corner, and Teri, the Cheeky Librarian in the other corner.


Love you, lady.

Dee said...

Congratulations, Teri! So so excellent to go on a yearly (rather than quarterly) schedule! I usually have a few appointments each week and love it when I don't! Yay! Glad there is nothing of concern!

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