It’s been awhile since I’ve written a post. I’ve been a little preoccupied with finding my way through my medical treatment maze. I’ve had a bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy, and I’ve been on Tamoxifen for five months. I stopped the chemo after one treatment, and now I’ve stopped taking the Tamoxifen. Now you’re caught up. This whole cancer thing has really curbed my wandering–just saying. Lately the only places I’ve wandered to have been the oncologist’s office and around Google looking for information on cancer, cancer treatments, and effects of different drugs.
I am over being angry–almost. My oncologist recommended I get my ovaries taken out; or why not have a full hysterectomy? All because I informed him that I am still getting my menstrual cycle. He acted surprised by that info and then went on with his suggestions of further invasive surgery and/or drugs as a solution. After a very informative appointment with my new OBGYN, I decided to stop taking the Tamoxifen. She asked me why I needed the drug in the first place, and as a good patient I reiterated, “Because it blocks estrogen production, and my tumor had estrogen receptors” (which means estrogen made it grow). She repeated the question and then asked, “Where is it your oncologist thinks your cancer will come back if they’ve already taken both breasts and told you it hadn’t spread?” Silence.
These are the same questions my dear husband has been asking. I agree with their logic, but it is so hard to resist treatment recommended by a man with a doctorate degree. I mean, aren’t these the people we entrust our healthcare to? Let me hear you all say a resounding, NO! First of all, my oncologist knows that Tamoxifen is an aromatase inhibitor. It blocks the production of aromatase, which is a type of estrogen produced by the fat cells in your abdomen. It has nothing to do with the ovaries or the production of estrogen from the ovaries; so he shouldn’t be surprised that my menses are continuing given my age (still young) and, again, the fact that Tamoxifen WILL NOT stop your periods and result in menopause, as he has led me to believe. Now, maybe if I were older and nearer menopause perhaps the Tamoxifen would do just that; but it hasn’t. My oncologist even went so far as to suggest that I may have uterine cancer and that is likely the reason I am still “bleeding”. How irresponsible is this? How many women have fallen for this? Tamoxifen increases your risk of uterine cancer, and recent reports are showing an increased risk of a second more aggressive breast cancer. The oncologist’s own nurse shared with me that she, too, was a breast cancer survivor. She told me that the oncologist recommended that she have her ovaries removed and she complied. Now, he wants her on another round of “hormone therapy” drugs for the next five years even though she already had five years of Tamoxifen!
My OBGYN, bless her heart, has reaffirmed my belief that I need estrogen, not only for the health of my uterus, but also for skin, hair, brain, and bone health. She did recommend that I avoid consuming all white foods, except for cauliflower, because they lead to inflammation of your peritoneum which leads to all kinds of cancers down the road. How ironic is it that the last time I took Tamoxifen (for nine months) I suffered from severe hip and back pains. When I had a CAT scan done they discovered that I had arthritis in my hip and one of the vertebrae in my back had simply disappeared. For the last two weeks, I’ve been having pain to the left of my tailbone that will not go away.
I am posting this in the hopes of encouraging all readers to be your own advocate in regards to your health and to the health of the ones you love. In 2010, 44 – 48% of Americans were on prescription drugs. Please do your research and ask many, many questions of your doctors before taking any medications. When doctors start throwing statistics at you, or standard protocol such as “five year” drug therapy, please be suspicious enough to ask for a second opinion and also curious enough to review the research out there.
One final thought: in Germany, they are having success with curing cancer by heating your body’s core temperature up to 102 degrees in a sauna or with infrared heat. The tumors melt at this temperature and there are no nasty side effects such as those you have with chemotherapy. Thanks for letting me rant.