I met with my oncologist yesterday. It's been 3 months since chemo ended, and 1 month since radiation ended. I had blood work done prior to my appointment.
We discussed my remaining symptoms:
blood work is good, liver enzymes are still a bit high so they will check them again in 3 months.
tingly toes are an unfortunate side effect, they may still get better or may just stay like this.
achey joints are another side effect that should get better in time.
tiredness / fatigue is normal and will gradually get better. Keep walking.
forgetting things is normal enough, but the feeling of ringing in my ears and light headedness isn't, so they have ordered a head CT.
We talked about when it makes sense to go back to work, and it was suggested a year from my original surgery (March). The thing is, when I first had surgery, the surgeon said I would be off work for a year, and I thought that was completely crazy. I didn't realize the treatment would take so long and take so much out of me.
We talked about future follow-ups, which will be every 3 months for the first couple of years. Bloodwork will be done each time, and an annual mammogram (February already!) I will also continue follow-ups with the surgeon and the radiation oncologist.
So that was it, everything was good, but then I asked a couple more questions. I mentioned that a friend had her similar follow-up and was told she is in remission. The doctor agreed and said I was too. Remission. Not cancer-free. Breast cancer isn't curable. I knew that, but it still sounds weird. Remission means there is no active cancer.
Second question was about my blood - since my counts are back to normal, when can I give blood. Again a surprise answer. Never. There is always a chance there are cancer cells floating around in my blood, which could transfer to another person through a blood transfusion, and actually grow into a cancer in the other person.