During my doctor visit, we discussed my 3 options and the doc sent me home with a printout of the percentages based on treatment and my type of breast cancer.
1. Take Tamoxifen and deal with the side effects
2. Take nothing
3. Get a Lupron shot to shut down my ovaries and then begin taking Femara.
I explained that I could handle many of the side effects from the Tamoxifen, such as weight gain (I will just exercise more and eat less), hot flashes and night sweats (I use a fan at night and I can take a drug such as effexor to minimize the hot flashes), and fatigue (once again, I will exercise to increase my energy level). But the one side effect that I have absolutely no control over is hair loss.
This is the part of my recovery where I really look at my character as a person and question everything about myself. Is hair really that important? Why does it matter so much what I look like?
After much thought, I realize that I had expectations, which were to get through treatment and then get back to normal. These expectations did NOT include being bald for the next 10 years. I believe that is where the biggest disappointment comes from. One, there is no getting back to normal, only learning to live a new normal. And two, After learning I wasn't going to die, I knew that all these treatments for breast cancer would really screw my life up for one whole year or a bit more... BUT NOT FOR 10 YEARS! I disappointed myself by putting insane and unfair expectations on when my treatment and side effects from treatment would be over.
I am physically beginning to feel like myself again, but every time I look in the mirror, I still don't recognize the person staring back at me. If I take a hormone therapy drug, it could increase my chances of living by 8%, but there is no guarantee. There is no way of knowing if the cancer will come back or if it will spread, and also no way of knowing if the drugs will work. It is a total crap shoot. Therefore, with no guarantees, I am choosing the best quality of life for me, which is to be drug free and hope my hair grows back.