Upon completion of my chemotherapy my medical oncologist prescribed Tamoxifen.
I had heard lots of mixed messages about this medication. Going from extreme side effects and hot flushes to hardly any side effects.
Tamoxifen is a hormone therapy used to treat breast cancer or lower the instance of recurrence in breast cancer survivors who are pre-menopausal.
My periods had stopped coming pretty early on during my chemo treatments. While I was getting Taxol I had awful night sweats. I would wake up in the middle of the night completely drenched and having to get some towels to dry off. The bed sheets were soaked. In addition, I would have crazy temperature swings. I would be so cold, shivering and only a hot shower would warm me up. The next moment I would run to lower the temperature on the AC because I was so hot.
I braced myself for Tamoxifen and nothing happened. The night sweats I had experienced during the Taxol treatment disappeared. I would get the occasional hot flush, but nothing compared to what I had experienced during chemo.
Out of the blue I would start to feel warm and my face would turn red and then after a few minutes it would fade away. It never turned into a full-blown hot flush with sweating and wanting to take my clothes off. I guess I should consider myself lucky.
I would take the Tamoxifen in the morning, together with a baby aspirin as the doctor has prescribed. There is an increased risk of blood cloths or DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and the aspirin lowers the risk of this happening.
My cancer was hormone driven and to further suppress the production of estrogen I would get a monthly injection of Zoladex. Zoladex is a hormone therapy that stops the ovaries from producing estrogen.
Between the chemo and Zoladex, I was chemically induced into menopause.
I also made an appointment with a gynecologist oncologist to discuss the possibilities of a hysterectomy. My grandmother had ovarian cancer which put me at an increased risk of ovarian cancer as well and given my cancer was 98% fueled by hormones it made sense to go for a total hysterectomy.
Not only would I now be post-menopausal, I would also be infertile.
Infertility is something I have struggled with. I was never able to have children. Something I came to terms with a while ago. I actually strongly believe that my infertility treatments are at the root of my breast cancer. Years of injecting hormones into your body to stimulate egg production in the ovaries and now having been diagnosed with hormone driven breast cancer seem to coincidental especially given there is no history of breast cancer in my family. I am curious if there are others out there with a similar experience. Infertility treatment and breast cancer.
The total hysterectomy would take place at the same time as my reconstructive surgery.