Patty's Mammie Grams

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jan 24 Femara for 5 years

My 'Firefox' part of the computer has been wonky and I couldn't get on to the computer, let alone (I thought) to any of my blog - hence the wait this time. Sara just showed me how to access it another way. (Type in plecompte.blogspot.com and there it (add post) is on the top of the page where I never look! Who'da thunk it? My thorough and vast computer knowledge does not come to me easily. : )
The Dr. appointment with the surgeon on Monday was canceled and when they called to reschedule it, we had all forgotten that it was just a check up on my 'tushie'. It is fine, so we just completely skipped rescheduling it.
I have my next MRI scheduled for Monday, April 14th, and the next follow-up mammogram is Thursday the 17. THEN I go see Dr. Roeder (who will have all the films) on May 12 for the next checkup on the surgery and cancer site.
Tuesday I went in to see the Rad Onc Dr. Brooks, and only had to see the nurse practioner, Linda. She explained all the after-care medications, and the one we are beginning with is Femara, which is an Aromatase Inhibitor.
Here is what that means: the adrenal gland (and the fat and muscle) puts out androgen which in turn is turned into an aromatase enzyme which then is turned into estrogen through the kidneys.
This medication prevents the kidneys from changing the androgen to estrogen. "So, in essence, Femara helps to starve breast cancer cells by depriving them of estrogen".
The letrozole (Femara) has been given to postmenopausal women only, since 1977. They began testing it on estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. In 2004, an international clinical trial showed that Femara "significantly reduces the risk of recurrence in postmenopausal women with early stage breast cancer who are within three months of completion of five years of tamoxifen therapy".
They have since discovered that the patient doesn't need to have the tamoxifen treatment first. Compared to tamoxifen it has been found that Femara is 21% more effective at reducing the risk of recurrence than tamoxifen.
I like this next part: "For those women who had prior chemotherapy, Femara reduced the risk of cancer returning by 30%".
This all sounds great to me. I just trust the doctors and have done a little research on all this and this does sound like the best thing.
Here is the bad news. There may be MORE hot flashes and night sweats. No incidence of blood clots or endometrial cancer as there would be with tamoxifen. Joint pain is also a side effect - I'm really planning on skipping that one!
Tamoxifen improves bone density. Femara actually causes about 1% loss of bone density in years 1 and 2 then levels off. However, my last bone density (DEXA) scan showed 149% bone density (for what my age would be I guess), so I have a lot of leeway and not much to worry about.
There are other, more scary side effects for both treatments, but they are very small percentages, and I promise to not have any of those! ; )
If you want even more information than this - please look it up at http://www.femara.com/home.jsp?m=2 . More information that you can shake a stick at!
I'm just healing, tender at the site, peeling like a mild sunburn on the radiation site, and beginning to think about starting my walking program again. I haven't been walking for about a year, since my foot began acting up. Then the surgery on the foot, then the next surgery, then the recovery from the chemo. I'm getting there.
I'm also growing hair. My cousin Bill was in town and met me for lunch and took a picture. He says he is going to post it on the family web site. Be careful if you don't want to see a head of very short and gray hair. I really really do like it short. It is beginning to stick out in different places (OK - not very much sticking out) and so I have to look in the mirror now, to see if the hair is looking funny. Well - funnier than usual.
I have put off tinting it back to the natural reddish brown color that the chemotherapy or the cancer changed to gray. ; ) I think if I do color it at this short stage, the balding very high temple spots will show up a lot. So, I'm waiting until the little short hairs begin to thicken and the other hairs are long enough to kind of cover those holes in my head. I mean in my hairline. ; )
OK - Enough already. Peace and love and goodwill to all mankind and may we all live happily ever after. Love to you all. Patty : )

3 Comments:

At January 25, 2008 at 5:22 PM , Anonymous Susan B said...

Hi Patty poo..I am so impressed with how you are learning and really trying to understand everything that is going on with you. It is quite interesting to me, and if, God Forbid, I have to go thru this, I will have been enlightened by you! Hey...I am sorry we didnt come to Eclectic #1...but Frank had foot surgery the next morning at 730 and he really wanted Red Lobster! lol I want you to know that I think of you OFTEN...and NOT just becuz I need my roots taken care of!!! lol I'll be calling what-his-name at the salon tomorrow. Love ya and God Bless
Ur fav
Susan

 
At January 27, 2008 at 11:37 AM , Anonymous Patty said...

: )

 
At January 27, 2008 at 6:10 PM , OpenID morganaleer said...

Hey girl,
I do hope that you can get pictures to post so we all can see them, you with short hair is such a kick.

Wishing I was there for Thursday nights, but hey eat an enchilada for me. Big Hugs and lots of sloppy kisses.

 

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