HEALTH MONITORING AFTER CANCER-SHOULD WE LET STUFF GO?

I was receiving a stern and deserved lecture from my eye doctor.  “It’s been too long since you have been here.”

  “Oh two years,” I replied.  Since I waited five years before that appointment, I was actually proud of myself.

     “No- it has been three and a half years,” he corrected me.  Time does fly when you are having fun and I must have been having a lot of it! I deserved this lecture and knew it.  I have a family history of glaucoma and the beginning of cataracts.  I have some vision insurance and live down the street from the office, so that is not an excuse either.  The main reason I went in today was because I had read that chemo causes cataracts.  Since I had been on various chemos for eight years, I wanted to check it out.

     I don’t know about other cancer survivors, but I do find it hard to balance all my medical appointments.  I never miss chemo and faithfully go for my bone marrow biopsy every six months.  I immediately let my doctor know if I have an infection, so I can be put on an antibiotic.  I faithfully see my family practitioner and dentist twice a year. I have my hearing checked often because the chemo has affected that too.  I also have to go in regularly to have my hearing aids taken care of. The main reason for this is because without them I just cannot hear!

     But when it comes to routine eye checkups and other appointments not directly related to my cancer, I become lax. I think because so many of my appointments focus on my blood cancer, I just find it difficult to find time for the other things.  I try not to worry constantly about my health, and every time I am in any doctor’s office that ugly beast reminding me that I have a chronic disease rears its head. It is not logical for me to wait so long between appointments, since I am deafened already and need my vision more than ever.  It is an emotional reaction from me.

     I do think about cancer and all its side effects.  I try not to over focus, and  think that every single twinge or part of my body is caused by the cancer. I hate picking up the phone and making more appointments.  I find sitting in waiting rooms is annoying, so I don’t always do what I should.

     I did meekly tell the eye doctor I had been going in for chemo 5 days a month for awhile, but even that was lame since I stopped over a year ago.  I should have been to him sooner – period.

     When I was working, I was usually given positive evaluations for being organized.  So I do not even have this excuse.  Although some people would think my apartment is not organized, I do know where everything is most of the time!

     I am not making excuses.  I am just tired of medical appointments and let it go.  I deserved the lecture I know.  I need to be more balanced in my health choices.  But – I still will not make an excuse about trying not to be over focused or hyper vigilant about my medical needs.  I need to take a break sometimes, and go watch some television or go out with my friends and family.  That is a balance too!