Monday, August 26, 2013

An Apple a Day...

Since my mom’s breast cancer diagnosis I have been meaning to get in to see a doctor here in Pensacola in order to discuss my health and find out whether or not I should start to have regular mammograms and whatnot. Even though Paul is still military, and I still have the same health insurance, I had yet to set up my local primary care doctor even though we have been in FL for 6 months now.

Side note: six months! Can you believe it? Some days it feels like we just moved here and other days I feel like I have been here forever- but in a good way. I love Pensacola. It is definitely one of my most favorite places I have lived.

A few weeks ago I finally got around to switching my doctor and scheduled an appointment. That appointment was this morning and I am happy to report it went really well. I went there with a laundry list of items I wanted to discuss with him and am thankful he took the time (an hour) to go over everything with me. That was awesome.

As I mentioned before, I wanted to discuss whether or not I needed a mammogram. I am 35 and have a family history of breast cancer, should I be concerned? After he conducted a breast exam, in which he found no irregularities, we talked about mammograms. For many reasons (all of which he discussed with me) he saw no need for me to start having mammograms until I hit 40. However, there was one caveat.  My mom recently underwent genetic testing for BRCA mutations. Women with these gene mutations have a much, much higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.  If her results come back positive, then my doctor wants me to undergo the same testing.  If I do end up needing the genetic testing then our plan to hold off on the mammogram will probably change. But we’ll cross that bridge if we get to it. I am not too concerned.

While I was at the doctor I also wanted to have some blood work drawn. It had been 18 months since the last time I had lab work (I tried to have it done again before I left SA but my doctor there said no) and I wanted to see how everything is going internally.  My new doctor obliged and after our exam I headed to the lab to have 5 vials of blood drawn. He checked my sugar, thyroid, lipids, iron, vitamin D as well as markers for tetanus and MMR – for vaccine requirements for school. I am supposed to schedule a follow up appointment with him for 4-6 weeks but I may just call in sometime next week to see if I could get the lab results- I’m impatient.

We also discussed my weight loss (I gave him the abbreviated version of my story) and how I am struggling with getting back into weight loss mode and how I really want to focus on lowering my body fat percentage.  He set me up with a nutritionist (yay!) and hopefully I will have my first appointment with them soon. They actually call me to schedule it, not the other way around.

And since we were on the topic of weight loss I brought up abdominoplasty (aka tummy tuck) with him. My previous doctor was all for me having the surgery and wanted to submit paperwork to get me on a waitlist (in SA they have military plastic surgeons and so I could have it done at the Army/AF hospital but the when part would have been completely up in the air) but since I knew I would be moving and I wasn’t sure I was ready to go under the knife, I put it off. Now that I am somewhat settled and much more prepared to handle this type of procedure I wanted to make sure it would still be covered by my insurance and find out how it would work since they aren’t a medical training facility. The doctor told me that since the excess skin causes skin irritations/open sores from the rubbing (especially from activity) that there is a medical need (high risk for infections) for me to have the surgery and therefor it would be covered. And since they don’t do plastic surgery there I would just go to a plastic surgeon in Pensacola for the procedure.

Then he asked me a really tough question…when do you want to have it? Since I would be going outside of the naval hospital I could basically have it any time I wanted so he wanted to know when. I told him that I wanted to wait. I want to be back down to 160, a weight that I not only felt really good at but a weight I maintained for almost a year. I told him once I was back at (or really close to) 160 then we would talk. Ultimately, I would like to schedule the surgery around Christmas because then I would be able to take advantage of the two weeks off I get at the university for the holiday as recovery time and not need to take much sick/annual leave in order to make this work.  Like I said earlier, I will have a follow up visit in the next month or so and I will broach the December idea with him. This way I can start the hunt for a surgeon and try to get everything booked up a few months out so that way I have time to prepare.

Overall, I couldn’t be happier about how today’s visit went. I’m nervous, of course, about mom’s genetic testing (a positive result for her means she will probably end up having her ovaries removed) but happy to have a plan in place for her and for my health. I am excited for my lab results to come back. I know, I am such a dork but seeing good results and having them reaffirm the life choices I have made is exciting.  I am super stoked to be able to start seeing a nutritionist- I really think it will be great to have someone really evaluate my eating and exercise habits and try to find any gaps or weak areas I can work on. I am beyond thrilled that even though I am away from a big military medical facility I am still able to have insurance cover the surgery. That’s a big deal for me. It’s the only one I want to have. It is uncomfortable running and riding a bike while having constant chafing from my stomach flab. For me, this surgery is out of necessity.

Well ok, maybe like 90% necessity, 10% vanity.

What? I’m still human. Don’t judge me ;)

But more than any of these things I am just really happy and consider myself very fortunate to have a doctor who wants to help me meet all of my goals. A doctor who is on board with nutrition and exercise and weight loss ‘on my own’ (his words, not mine) and wants to provide me with any resources I need in order to meet my goals and live a healthy life. Yeah, he’s pretty awesome and I cannot wait for our next appointment.