I thought I was done with side effects since I finished chemotherapy, but I am learning that anything that is strong enough to wallop cancer will likely also cause side effects. I am now waiting for surgery because of the side effects from the pill that I was prescribed to keep me from having a recurrence of cancer.
The pill is called Femara or Letrozole. This tiny little pill is a nonsterooidal aromatase inhibitor (AI) and it is used to treat advanced breast cancer. It fights breast cancer by inactivating an enzyme called aromatase and in turn this prevents the enzyme from supplying estrogen to the cancers that are dependant on estrogen to grow and survive.
At first I didn’t have any side effects from the pill but within three months of starting the treatment I developed bumps around my wrists and then it progressed to pain. Three fingers in my left hand became numb and this numbness did not go away after waking in the morning. I was referred to a nerve specialist and her tests showed that I had nerve damage in my fingers from carpal tunnel syndrome. The nerves are already starting to die off so she recommends immediate surgery. My doctor also said that I had tendonitis in both my wrists and this is causing radiating pain up my arms. All of this is a known side effect of Femara. The nerve specialist has warned me that if I don’t have surgery soon, my thumb muscle could atrophy I could have permanent nerve damage in my hand. Lovely. …
Chemotherapy hair regrowth
By request I am posting a history of my hair from the effects of chemotherapy. I decided not to post the original bald head because that was not a memory I would like to keep.
First hair growth is grey
I was so surprised that my first hair growth came in grey! I was so happy to have hair, but the grey was really hard to get used to. Don’t be shocked at the picture. …
My new life flow
Yesterday was a banner day for me as I looked forward to two events that were important to me. The first event was getting the results of my bone scan, which I will share in just a moment. The last event of the day was far less important but something that I had been looking forward to for a whole year. It was a wonderful experience to get my chemo curls removed. I went from a mass of curls to a real hair style for the first time in more than a year. During the past twelve months, I was completely bald for at least six months, so it was wonderful just to have hair again. But lately I found myself looking more like a woolly lamb as my longer hair was threatening to turn into ringlets. I am so thankful for my friend Shauna, who took the time to cut and shape my post chemo hair. My husband said that the cut was “terrific.” That is a first for me in such a long time. Thanks Shaun
The first event that happened to me yesterday was something that I had been eagerly awaiting. In February of 2014, I had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer from a bone scan that showed the cancer had spread to my spine. My internist said that it had been verified by two tests so it was sure, however, my surgeon took issue with this diagnosis saying that it could be something other than cancer.
Life after Cancer
Living life after cancer is a whole new mindset. I guess I never realized how much cancer had changed the way I look at life. When I found out that the cancer I had was stage 3 (mine was a very aggressive cancer with a high chance of recurrence) I went into survival mode. Every purchase I considered, I weighed, “Is this item worth the price if I only live a short time?” After months of living this way, my decision-making progressed from a habit to a mindset. This mindset was now Cheryl living with cancer. However, there is a definite paradigm shift when the treatment is over. How do I now live life after cancer? …
Are you in the Abbotsford, BC area June 12-14, 2014? Meet with us at the Learn to Discern Conference. Here is the list of speakers and the conference address:
For more information or to register for the conference, click here.