Thursday, March 12, 2009
Does anyone ever "get over it?" I mean does any breast cancer survivor ever really get over it and move on? The question comes to my mind as an early cancer survivor just released from my hospital haven and now going on in the real world. I read so many times on the Susan Komen message boards about women who have had so many health issues related to BC(breast cancer) that prevent them from getting over it. Most people don't realize that with cancer comes a whole lot of other issues. Not only scars from surgery, hair loss and the obvious but other issues that sometimes remain with a person for the rest of their lives. Bone and joint pain, diabetes, insomnia, gastrointestinal problems, teeth and gum damage, hot flashes, depression, sexual dysfunction, and loss of self esteem. I read about these issues daily and after reading yet another sad story about another woman facing these realities, I am so thankful that I AM able to move on and get over it. I am really very lucky and thankful that I have no side effects (as of right now) that limit my daily activities of life. Aside from my physical scars and baldness I feel pretty much the way I did before I was diagnosed, except for some hot flashes (and I can live with that). I really truly believe that I have recovered physically and mentally in excellent shape due to the fact that I was very healthy before I headed into the BC world and my positive attitude. I had some bad, bad days, don't get me wrong, but I had more good days than bad and if I did have a bad day I kicked myself in the ass and got back on the bandwagon. I was not going to let cancer beat me, no way! I met with a friend the other day and she asked me "is it sometimes hard to believe that you actually had to go through all of that?" and the answer is "yes" It is hard to believe that six months of my life were on hold until I got through treatment, yet at the time the days seemed long and never ending. Do I think about cancer every day? I think because I am bald and I see myself in the mirror first thing in the morning I am reminded of my cancer, but I really tend to not dwell on it. I ran into a mom at a recent swim meet who had no idea what had gone on in my life over the past few months and she commented on how cute my hair was. I just smiled and said "thanks" I actually did not really feel like going into the whole story. Being a pretty private person, sometimes I would just rather not tell my story. I don't want breast cancer to define me as a person. I am the same person I was before cancer, with just a little more kindness in my heart.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I am free and clear with my oncologist for 3 months. I am now currently taking Tamoxifen for the next 5 years. What you ask is tamoxifen? My particular breast cancer is estrogen postive and progesterone negative, meaning the cancer is fueled by estrogen and taking tamoxifen will reduce the risk of cancer coming back. Unfortunately I am joining the ranks of the pill takers, those who have to put their pills in those little plastic containers that are labeled with the days of the week. I am also taking some vitamin supplements along with the tamoxifen and because I am terrible at taking pills, I need to have them all divided up for the week to remind me to take them on a regular basis. Now if only I remember to fill up the little pill container. LOL
Tamoxifen information from chemocare.com
Drug type: Tamoxifen is a hormone therapy. This medication is classified as an "anti-estrogen." (For more detail, see "How this drug works" section below).
What this drug is used for:
* Tamoxifen may be given as adjuvant therapy (treatment after successful surgery) in women or men with lymph node negative or lymph node positive breast cancer. Cancers with positive estrogen and progesterone receptors are more likely to benefit from tamoxifen. Tamoxifen reduces the risk of getting breast cancer in the opposite breast.
* Tamoxifen may be prescribed in metastatic (cancer that has spread) breast cancer in both women and men.
* Tamoxifen may be prescribed in women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) who have completed surgery and radiation therapy. Tamoxifen may reduce the risk of invasive breast cancer. Risks and benefits of tamoxifen therapy should be discussed
* Tamoxifen may be prescribed for women at high risk of breast cancer to reduce the incidence of developing breast cancer. Risks and benefits of tamoxifen therapy should be discussed in this setting.
* Tamoxifen may also be prescribed for treatment of ovarian cancer.
Note: If a drug has been approved for one use, physicians may elect to use this same drug for other problems if they believe it may be helpful.