What a month! #familyouting #27thgrade #finallydone #clearscans

It has only been a month since my last post, but it has been a busy month! As I mentioned in my last post, I have throughly enjoyed spending quality time with family. We had our first family outing since we began quarantining 4 months ago in March. We had a great Saturday in Charlottesville strawberry picking at Chiles Family Orchard and picnicking at King Family Vineyards. We felt very comfortable with the safety standards and operations at both places and of course, we stayed socially distant from others and wore masks (even Avery!).

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The next week I completed my training in Oral and Facial Surgery, closing out 27 years of education. I asked Varisara (semi-jokingly) what she thought about me going back to get my MBA (what’s another 2 years, right?). She did not seem pleased. We had originally planned a big hurrah to celebrate this accomplishment, but obviously COVID-19 deterred our plans a bit. I was grateful to be able to have a small celebration with my family as well as my attendings and fellow residents, all the people that helped to get me through these past few years.

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In all honesty, when I was first diagnosed 2.5 years ago, I never thought this would be even remotely possible. Now, I have accomplished my life goal of becoming a surgeon. Although I am not going back to school (Varisara won that battle….for now), I will be remain in academia as an OMFS attending at VCU.

This past Thursday, I had my latest scans and appointments. For those interested in my treatment plan, I take Alectinib (for the cancer) and Eliquis (blood thinner to prevent clots) daily. Every 3 months I get a CT scan to make sure the disease is stable in the lungs and bones and every 6 months I get an MRI to ensure the disease has not spread to the brain.  This past appointment was again different from the new norm to which I had become accustom.  When we arrived at Emily Couric Cancer Center at UVA, masks were required, every person entering the facility was required to have their temperature taken, and no guests were permitted. I appreciate the rigor as the majority of people entering these facilities are at higher risks due to their medical conditions. Aside from that, all went well and both scans continued to remain stable!

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