Tamoxifen

IMG_11428 days out.  I’m doing great.  Right on schedule according to my plastic surgeon.  One drain out, the other needs a few more days but probably out early next week.  One week later we start expanding the expanders.

Today was my first meeting with my oncologist.  First of all, what a bright and lovely woman.  People in the waiting room told me I would love her.  That was pretty encouraging, since you don’t see a lot of happy faces in an oncology waiting room (or at least, I didn’t expect to see them). She may have even out-smiled me.  🙂

I was already prepared for what she was going to tell me.  No radiation. No chemo.  She had heard all about my “case” during their tumor board (I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall for that, though I probably wouldn’t have understood much of what was being discussed).  I am hormone receptor positive, which, to anyone familiar with breast cancer, means a future of Tamoxifen.  Hormone receptor-positive breast cancers need estrogen and/or progesterone to grow. Tamoxifen attaches to the hormone receptor and tells estrogen “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” Taken for 10 years, Tamoxifen shows a significant reduction in the recurrence of breast cancer for women like me, who chose to keep their unaffected breast.

But it doesn’t come without some risks. Endometrial cancer. Blood clots. Joint pain and bone pain. Charley horses and muscle cramps. Fatigue. Weight Loss.  Basically sends you into early menopause. Hooray! And for athletic women, who hope to counteract the possibility of weight gain by keeping super active, the thought of charley horses  (which I already get), joint pain (hello, already have osteoarthritis) and fatigue is not something to look forward to. I seriously considered just bailing on this drug. But, I can’t.  It’s a selfish move.  If I don’t at least try, and I end up with invasive cancer in my early 50s, I just can’t put my friends and family through that. So, tomorrow, it begins.

I’m told the first month or two will likely be rough, in terms of mood swings and such, as my body adjusts to the new hormone levels.  Fun. But she also said if you can just power through, give it a chance, there is also a good chance I won’t react that badly in the long term. So, I put on my big girl panties, and I’m getting ready to swallow that pill first thing tomorrow morning. Wish me luck.

After my appointment, I stopped by Griffith Park and hiked up to the Observatory, drain and all, and allowed my head to clear.  It’s gonna be OK. I’ve got this thing, it doesn’t have me.

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