Oncology appointment time. THIS time, however, I prepared for my appointment with the oncologist by taking a shower, thoroughly shaving my legs and underarms, liberally using my Philosophy lotion on my legs and feet, and wearing a decent pair of underpants, and...he didn't look at a thing. Only talked. Sigh. But I'm certainly satisfied with what he had to tell me: no chemotherapy!
A diagnostic test was run that studied the behavior of 21 genes in my tumor. I then received a score that predicts the likelihood of my cancer returning and whether chemotherapy or hormone therapy would be the best treatment. On a scale of 0-100, my score was 14, which translates to, roughly, a 9% chance that my breast cancer will recur in the next ten years. At this low rate, the side effects of traditional chemotherapy outweigh the benefits of doing it, even in conjunction with hormone therapy.
Happy dance time! The hair is saved! (I'm sure someone will remind me of this the next humid day when I'm complaining about the frizzy, curly mess of straightening iron-defying hair that I have.)
Now, hormone therapy (in my case, an aromatase inhibitor, which makes me think of aromatherapy, a happy thought that has absolutely nothing to do with being an aromatase inhibitor) is not without side effects of its own (although hair loss not being one of them is awwwwesome). These include hot flashes, nausea, decreased energy and weakness, bone and joint pain, bone thinning and weakening, vaginal dryness (there's a fun one), and a cough. Because I will also be thrown full-force into menopause, then mood swings are another side effect (to which my son asked, "How will we notice a difference?"). This is also the point when the husband asked the oncologist for a prescription for Valium for himself. That's okay, because right after he gets that filled, I plan to ask the oncologist for a prescription to crank up the air conditioning and present it to the tightwad who is always trying to save on the gas and electric bills.
My son was (mostly) saying the bit about the mood swings in jest, because I'm really not a moody person, as long as nobody PISSES ME OFF. As for the rest of the side effects, I am once again employing the Think System. If 30% of the women taking this experience the side effects, then 70% don't. I am planning to be part of the 70%. Of all the potential side effects, the only one I am willing to succumb to is the loss of appetite one.
Until Dr. Croy and my gynecologist figure out what to do about my highly functioning ovaries, I will also get a shot IN MY STOMACH of a drug that will suppress the ovaries. It will be in the form of a pellet (their word, not mine) that will be implanted under the skin (I'm picturing a Tic Tac) and which will jack with the pituitary gland so that it doesn't signal the little fuckers to produce. Side effects are similar to that of the other drug, but since I don't plan on having ANY side effects, I am going to skip them (although the one about the inability to obtain or sustain an erection is troubling to me).
I don't like taking over-the-counter medicine, and now I am going to be taking a chemo drug and calcium supplements and who knows what else every day for the next five years? Time to concentrate on the positives: no i.v. chemo treatments, cute, perky boobies, flat tummy, no hair loss, no pesky erections. And there's my silver lining....