Warning: This blog contains adults content. Sort of.
Both Vince and I visit our family doctor early in the morning. Judith gives me a hug (she's the best) and Dr. Dobson is his usual amazing self. When we talk to him about our decision, he’s completely onside: he too thinks that Dr. Louis knows what he’s doing. He says that the oncologist probably felt she had to cover every eventuality and I understand that she was just being cautious. But I feel great; strong, determined; my body has spoken. Not only that, in the intervening days, I have done even more research, both online and with others who have experienced this personally. I know it’s the right path to take.
Vince actually has a flu shot! Will wonders never cease. And he booked in for a physical. My goodness, great things just keep on happening.
Later in the afternoon we visit the oncologist again. She smiles this time. I stand and shake her hand once more, though I get nothing back but air and a little soft skin. I thank her for all the information she gave me, tell her I am grateful that she was so informative, but tell her that I’ve made my decision. No chemotherapy. I want the original plan of radiation and Arimidex.
She concedes to my wishes of course, gracefully, and, I think, secure in the knowledge that I have done this with thought and preparation. We will have to wait up to two more weeks for an appointment with the radiation oncologist, but she promises to try and get it more quickly. Then she writes out the prescription and gives me a box entitled “Starter Kit – Arimidex – for Women with Early Breast Cancer”. Cool.
On the way out of the hospital, we meet a woman who says she is jealous because she didn’t get a starter kit. She tells us her story, a friendly, cheerful and well-spoken person who has discovered the long way that sometimes our bodies do know best. She gives a parting cheer: “We do everything we can to fight this!” And once again I am reminded that I have joined a club whose fees are high and is not a club to which I ever wanted to belong in the first place.
As Vince drives toward the pharmacy, I read the section on side effects out loud. The company even gives a chart to show the percentage of woman who get the particular side effects. 10% means 10 out of 100 women. Okay – I think I knew that.
(Oh, we won’t bother with the very rare side effects – less than .01% or 1 in 10,000 - who get severe skin reactions or can’t breathe or swallow. If you get these symptoms, they tell you to call your doctor right away. But if you can’t breathe or swallow…)
Anyway, 10% of women get hot flushes. Not flashes – flushes. Does this mean a burning sensation when you eat spicy food? Probably not. It’s likely the return of the hot flAsh – just what I need. Back to that ad where the woman runs out into the snow in her undies. Not to mention more red on my cheeks and the tip of my nose when I drink wine. Great.
1% of women – which is, you guessed it, 1 out of 100 – get weakness, joint pain (got that already when I sit writing too long…), joint stiffness, broken bones (huh?), carpel tunnel syndrome (that’s all a writer needs), vaginal dryness (don’t the sex shops have fun creams for this?), hair thinning (my hair dresser would be happy: he’s always complaining that my hair’s too thick and grows too fast), rash (on my nose along with the red?), nausea, diarrhea, headache, and changes in blood tests of liver function (WTF?).
Only .1% of women get the following: vaginal bleeding (oh no you don’t, I refuse to go back to that), high cholesterol, vomiting (different from nausea in that you don’t just feel like puking, you actually do it), sleeplessness (got that one already), hepatitis (really?) – and – are you ready???
ONLY .1% of women experience LOSS OF APPETITE.
Nothing, I tell you, nothing is ever going to make me lose weight.
I start the pill tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes.