It’s been a week since I saw my oncologist. It feels like a lifetime. I was caught up with crocheting hats for the Women’s March, then went and watched. I forgot about cancer for a while. What a nice reprieve. It exhausted me, but I am happy to have been distracted for a while.
I drove myself to the appointment for the first time since my surgery. Dr. H again told me the great news, that I would not be helped by chemotherapy. We discussed aromatase inhibitors and the drug Femara. I will start taking it when I’m finished with radiation. If all goes according to plan, I will take it for five years.
If I understand this correctly, aromatase inhibitors (AIs) prevent androgens (hormones we all have) from turning into estrogen. Since my cancer feeds on estrogen, this drug starves the cancer. Femara’s possible side effects run the gamut from none to bone pain, depression, hunger, hot flashes, weight gain, hair loss, etc…so many that I don’t know which one to worry about first!
Dr. H went over my bone scans, which were practically normal. I don’t have osteoporosis (but I’m shrinking anyway!) I do have “significant” arthritis in my lower back, which I knew. She offered to refer me to an ortho, but, I’m really not in the mood to add another doctor to my routine. I have daily back pain, but it is bearable. I asked if I still needed Prolia shots to boost my bones during aromatase inhibitor therapy. She says Prolia prevents cancer cells from forming in the bone marrow, so, yes, I still need Prolia, even without osteoporosis.
My next cancer doctor visit is with the radiation oncologist, Dr. H. She will set me up for radiation therapy. Treatments start within the month. A note about this doctor. Last Friday night, I went out! It was my first night out in months. Had a lovely Shabbat dinner with dear friends. It soothed my soul. At about 7:45pm, my phone rang. It was Dr. H calling to make sure I’d heard the good news about no chemo. She had been looking at my chart and noticed that no one noted that I’d been called. So, Friday night? She called to make sure I knew. Extraordinary. I’m glad to be in her great care.
I feel much better than a week ago. Of course I do. Last week, I was waiting for the results of my Mammaprint. I didn’t know whether or not I needed chemo. This week, I know I don’t. Swelling is down. My pain comes and goes. It reminds me that I’m still healing from two surgeries. Right now, I’m in healing mode before I start radiation.