I am fuming today. I know I have said it before and I will say it again; I thought after treatment and surgery I would be finished with breast cancer and nobody thought to tell me any different.
The previous estrogen modulator I was on caused such sever joint and muscle pain it nearly crippled me. Add to that ovarian suppression and I was in a chemically induced menopause that my body decided to mutiny against.
I have been on a medication vacation since January. The pain has decreased significantly but is still prevalent.
Today I started on a new estrogen modulator, Tamoxifen. although tests show me to be a low – to Intermediate metabolizer of the drug, my doctors have decided it is better than taking nothing.
I asked for specific studies and the numbers may not sound big…but 13% is 13%. It reduces my risk of recurrence by 13%. My sons are nine and 12, my daughter 22. Thirteen percent is a pretty big deal.
Unfortunately, the risks are a crap shoot. On one hand, the medically induced menopause can lead to the same joint and muscle pain I was experiencing before. On the other hand many women experience an unparalleled moodiness from the drug. Yay
One friend of mine (also a breast cancer survivor) posted on my Facebook #HideAllTheKnives. That sounds encouraging. She stopped taking the drug because of the side effects. Sounds like ongoing compliance is hard to come by for any of these drugs.
Today I took my first dose. Because I am a low metabolizer, it is a lower than normal dose. We will reevaluate in 2 – 3 months. While I am trying my best to have a positive attitude the numbers and real life stories just don’t support it.
My ten year survival still sucks (less than 50%); as of now, nothing changes that. My five year disease-free time is the number these drugs seem to make the biggest difference on. I am working on wrapping my head around the disease free time in regards to the survival time.
Disease free time does not mean much if it is spend in agony. Survival time takes a crap if it is spent undergoing treatment.
And that is where I am. My mother told me to listen to Mayo and do my homework; they saved my life once, they might know what they are doing still this time.
I just thought I would be done. Nobody warns you that you are forever a cancer patient, forever a cancer hypochondriac. Nobody warns you that the assistance stops when your hair grows back.
Nothing in this life has ever come easy…I guess I shouldn’t have even pretended it might.