Last week I saw an oncologist that gave us lots of great information. He asked lots of questions, did a quick once over physical, and talked a lot about prevention in the future. He said that I am more prone to melanoma and that we just need to do what we can to prevent it in the future- both for me and the boys. He also told us that the protocols tell us that we have done all that we need to do! The cancer is gone and they don't recommend any further treatment or tests. The only thing I need to do going forward is to continue with my yearly physicals in Family Practice and see Dermatology once a year. He also suggested that I do one in the spring and one in the fall- that way I would have someone seeing me every six months. With the timing of my appointments that is how things will work out.
I went back to Dr. Connelly yesterday and things are looking pretty good. There is one spot inside my ear that is very tender and he said that is because it is a spot along the incision that opened up about 1/16th of an inch. It will be fine we just need to keep it clean, continue to put on the antibiotic ointment and keep a close eye on it. I go back again in 2 weeks.
Things are starting to get back on track in the running department too! Half/full marathon training has begun and I have gotten in some good miles this week. I have my training calender written out and am following the Hal Higdon Half Marathon Training Program and the Hal Higdon Full Marathon Training Program. The two programs fit together just about right for my goal races- Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach (March 17) and the Green Bay Full Marathon (May 19). Tim and I have followed the Hal Higdon program in the past for the half marathons that we have done and it worked out great for us so I figure why mess with a good thing, right?
I am getting antsy to get in some outdoor miles but my ear continues to be very sensitive to the cold so it will need to warm up before that will happen. My ear is also still very tender and I don't even want to think about putting a hat or headband over it. For now, I am loving the Virtual Active setting on the treadmills at the Y- you can select different places to run and it adds in "hills" for you so it helps make it feel more like running outside.
I am finding that having my iPod blasting has really helped me get in the zone on the treadmill. It helps that I finally found a pair of earbuds that I love! Before Christmas I received a gift card from a great friend that I decided to use on a pair of Yurbuds- Inspire for Women that I purchased at Target. I had heard great things about them and let me tell you they live up to all of it! They stay in my ear without me having to push them back in all the time. They fit perfect and have great sound. They also have lots of wonderful colors to choose from! I had a helper along whose favorite color is yellow so that is the color that I ended up with. I would have to say that I would highly recommend them! Now I just need some new music. Any suggestions?
Oh! Guess what? I wore my hair in a ponytail at the Y last night and I survived!! It really was no big deal like my mind had made it out to be. I am getting use to it but there are still times that I look in the mirror and I can't help but get down for a minute. I know that I am not alone and that it is OK to feel this way. This is a portion of a message that I received, after one of my last posts, from an amazing person that I am very proud to call a friend, "Tomorrow I go in for my yearly mammogram, and as long as everything is good, I will be four years cancer free. Yet, even after all this time, the disfiguration of my one breast, still can make me sad. Not as often as it used to, but sometimes it just hits me. For the longest time, I was even mad at it, if that makes sense. People can say to you, just wear your hair down and to me, with a bra on no one knows, yet we know and the reminder of the cancer is still there and very real to us." That is exactly how I feel- sometimes it just hits me and it does make me sad or even mad that I had to go through all of this. Seeing my new ear is a reminder that I did have cancer! It makes it very real that things like this can and do happen!