It’s funny how time can feel longer or shorter than it actually is. Take for example, doctor’s appointments. We tend to make them so far in advance, and then they disappear from our minds. Or, we totally forget to make them in the first place and then realize a year has passed since we last saw the dentist.
While I try to be conscientious about making and keeping my medical appointments, real life over the last two years has often gotten in my way. But there is one appointment that I tend to keep—perhaps even plan my calendar around—and that is my endocrinology appointment.
I was first introduced to the field of endocrinology nine years ago after my gynecologist performed a neck check and discovered a nodule on the right side of my then thyroid. Fast-forward all these years later, I’ve gone through quite a few endocrinologists and learned many important lessons about life as a thyroid cancer survivor. The most important being to never take my survivorship for granted.
So, all these years after my initial diagnosis of papillary thyroid carcinoma as a scared and confused 26-year-old, I make it a priority to see my endocrinologist every six months. The appointment typically includes running blood panels to ensure that my thyroid levels are within range for the dose of synthetic thyroid hormone replacement that I’m on and checking that there are no new nodules detected on ultrasound.
The only difference now is the degree to which I deal with scanxiety, the very real fear cancer patients and survivors face when having to go for follow-ups or scans. As I get older and time passes since my diagnosis, I’ve noticed that I tend to be more anxious beforehand than my younger self was. Fortunately, everything has been fine since my last appointment, but I am aware of how much more the scanxiety is hitting me these days. I can only assume the fact that I am the sole caregiver for my grandmother contributes to how I view my own health and related outcomes. Maybe it’s also that the older I get, the more I realize how precious each day is and how much can change in 24 hours.
Whatever the reasoning, let this serve as an important reminder to prioritize your own health…no matter how busy you are.