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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Life after cancer

Things have been going really well for my family and I recently.  We went on a family trip to Spain in April and May, which was amazing.  I ran 2 half marathons and a triathalon over the summer, and have also done a lot of road biking.  I have been back to work for a little over a year, and am liking that.  Because things are going so well, I am a little nervous that something bad is going to happen.  For the last 3 weeks I have had pain in my lower right back.  I let it go, thinking that it would go away, but after 2 weeks of worrying and angst, I decided to go in.  My new primary care Dr. reassured me that it was probably just a muscle strain, or bulging disc, but with my history she recommended getting an xray just to make sure the pain wasn't from breast cancer metastasis to my spine or ribs.  The xray came back normal, which is reassuring, but I am still having the back pain:(  I am tired of thinking that every pain I have is breast cancer metastasis.  I am wondering if this worry will every go away, or if it is something I will be dealing with forever.  

Last Tuesday was another 6 month visit with my onologist, Dr. Whisenant.  Everything is looking good, Yeah! We talked a lot about my having lots lots of hot flashes, sometimes as many as 20 a day.  (This is a side affect of early menopause from having my ovaries removed, and the anti-estrogen medication arimidex)  The ones  during the day are just an annoyance, but the night ones wake me up.  So a lot of the time I feel kind of tired.  He thinks I should start taking low dose Paxil, which is an antidepressant.  (It was recently approved by the FDA as the first non-hormonal treatment of hot flashes.  I'm not a candidate for hormonal therapy because of the breast cancer)  I am not 100% sure I want to take this, but am seriously considering.  We also talked about my bone density, which is not so good.  The chemotherapy, early menopause, and anti-estrogen medication have not been very good for my bones.  We were hoping that the Zometa (medication that has been shown in studies in Europe to decrease breast cancer recurrence in combination with arimidex, and also increases bone density) would stop the osteopenia that I have in my back, but it was worse on my most recent bone density test.  Don't get me wrong, I am grateful to be alive, but sometimes I wonder what my quality of life will be like a few years down the road....