Saturday, February 07, 2009

Whatever Could Be Next?

Tamoxifen. That's what.

I've been kind of nervous the last few months about Tamoxifen. Way more nervous than I was about radiation--which I wasn't that nervous about, though. Mostly I'm nervous about going into early menopause. I'm not sure why. I don't plan to have children and I am not a terrific fan of The Cycle, so you would think I might kind of be looking forward to this prospective side effect or something.

But I guess I feel like I will be aging my body before its time. While I don't consider 50 to be
old, exactly, I do consider myself to be not-50, and I don't want my body to be all acting like it's 50 when it isn't. Also, one time I was on the Pill to treat my acne, and it didn't help that at all, but it did make me very sick. I'm now kind of afraid that anything that messes with my hormones will mess with my entire body.

So I voicemailed the Nurse Practitioner. I haven't seen her in a long time and I like her, and I thought maybe I could chat to her about some of my concerns. I said, "I'm a little nervous about Tamoxifen, and I am planning on taking it, but I wondered if I could maybe ask you a few questions about it."

She emailed me back:
"Attached are a couple of handouts I use in my high risk clinic that I developed on Tamoxifen..see if they answer your questions...if not let me know and we'll see what else we can come up with..."

I was okay with this until I read them and learned that I could also develop blood clots and deep vein thrombosis. Who knew? After that I thought, "This was probably not the best approach for dealing with someone who has just admitted they're nervous about the prospect to begin with."

Then, a few weeks later I was in the bank changing tip change into bills for Starbucks and the Bank Ladies asked me how I was doing. "I'm doing okay," I said. "I'm almost done with radiation. But I have to start Tamoxifen soon. I'm actually a little more nervous about that."

"Yeah," said a Bank Lady seriously. "My mother had to take that. And she
did get uterine cancer from it, but the great thing is that they monitor you all the time, so they can catch stuff like that right away."


If we didn't have the right to free speech, I would not be able to write this blog, but sometimes I think that people should be prevented from talking without a license.


Cliff said...

Cancer prevention treatment that causes cancer...

...something doesn't seem to be adding up...

Annelise said...

Oh brother, I'm sure all that really helped!

Jenn said...

Cliff--the really odd thing is that all of the prevention treatments could cause cancer. Which, I suppose, lends validity to the old adage, "Everything causes cancer." I guess the key is that the chances of tamoxifen reducing my recurrence is less than the chance of it causing another cancer . . . ? I don't know. We'll see what happens!

Mom--yeah. People are all geniuses. ;)