23 1/2 Weeks Post Chemo.....The Time Has Finally Come

6 years ago

About 4 weeks after initially dropping off my prescription and 5 reminder phone calls from CVS (oops!), I actually made the time this weekend to pick up my first dose of Tamoxifen…..the hormone therapy drug I so lovingly spoke about in a recent blog that I’m being forced (against my will) to take for 5 years. Ok, maybe that is a bit dramatic, but I feel it necessary to stress my extreme dissatisfaction with having to take the drug.

Why do I have to take Tamoxifen? The medical answer to that question is because my cancer tested positive for estrogen and progesterone. Simply put, my cancer cells needed hormones to continue to grow….which in this case has pros and cons.

Pro: breast cancer that is estrogen and progesterone positive is a generally a less aggressive form of cancer and slower growing. By shutting off my hormone supply, you are essentially shutting off my cancer and its ability to continue to grow…or in my case re-grow. Had my cancer been estrogren and proestrogen negative, it would have been more aggressive in strength potentially resulting in it having spread much quicker and more widely throughout my body.

Con: enter Tamoxifen. Tamoxifen is strongly recommended for all breast cancer patients with a positive estrogen and progesterone diagnosis. It lowers your hormone levels so in the event there are any extremely stubborn teeny-tiny cancers cells that managed to stick around through surgery, chemo, and radiation, they will have not a whole lot to feed off of and re-grow. Had I not received the diagnosis I did, I wouldn’t have to take the Tamoxifen for 5 years.

Tamoxifen is widely known to have pretty crummy side effects. Those on the label alone include: hot flashes (which I had during chemo and were awful), nausea, hair thinning (I think we all know how that makes me feel), headaches (I’m already prone to migraines and get at least one a week), weight gain, loss of sexual ability/interest in men (oh wait, I’m not a man…or does that mean as a women I will lose interest in men?!)…..you get the picture.

Plain and simple, it’s not fun stuff and you can see my reluctance to get started. My 6 month post chemo check-up is in about two weeks (crazy to think it’s been that long already!!) and I know Dr. Frenette is going to ask how it’s going.

A lot of people have asked why I haven’t started taking it yet. I don’t really have a good answer…other than that I just wasn’t ready to yet. It’s been really nice leaving the world of doctors, treatments, drugs behind me the last 2 months…and I just haven’t been ready to jump back into the world of cancer treatment again. I recognize that the sooner I start the sooner I’ll be done…but it needs to be in my own time. No amount of urging from family and friends will change that….and until you’re in my situation, you’ll never understand my reluctance. I know I need to start soon, definitely before my 6 month post chemo check up because I don’t want to disappoint (or have to lie to) Dr. Frenette…..so cut me a little slack :)

Nothing new really to report on the “auditions” front. Semi-finals tryouts are tomorrow night, and I’ll find out Wednesday morning if I make it through to finals. I’ll do a special mid-week post if I make it. I’ve been super sore from all of the dancing we’ve been doing…which is great because I think dancing is a great work-out. Bonus picture for the week is below. We had to take a recent head-shot into our interview with us last week. Since I’ve been avoiding camera’s like the plague for the last 8 months….I really didn’t have any to choose from…and had to resort to the staged, bathroom self-portrait. It could have turned out much worse…..and I actually think my wig looks great!

I finally finished my most recent book, “Bitter is the New Black”, last week. Overall, entertaining read with a good message. I’ve started re-reading the first two books in a series that I started two summers ago…because I finally purchased the third and fourth books in the series. I re-read a lot of books when they are in a series because I like to be fully aware of what’s happened previously before starting the remaining books. I’d tell you what books they are, but I’m a little embarrassed. My book selections are typically in line with that of a girl 10 – 15 years younger than me.

Updated photos from 23 ½ weeks post chemo are below. There is definitely a lot more curl in back and on the sides than last week. It’s getting hard to tame….and is starting to come out the bottom of my wigs now too. I may have to start wearing a cap under my wigs?? Not really sure how that works. Hope everyone had a great Easter!


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