I have been on a medically approved break from my Aromatase Inhibitor since June. Since then I have been able to lose 15lbs and I’ve felt so much better.
While I’ve been on this break I have been seriously considering making this break permanent. Whelp, my Oncologist got wind of my thoughts and wrote me an email. She was very stern and let me know that this was only to be a short break and that at our next meeting we would discuss other options.
Last Wednesday was my appointment with my Oncologist. I repeated my thoughts and told her that quality of life was becoming a higher priority for me. Let’s face it, at some point I will have progression. This will happen on or off meds. No one knows when this will happen. I’m very comfortable rolling the dice at this point.
BUT…I did hear her out. My Oncologist offered me 3 different Aromatase Inhibitor options: Anastrozle, Toremifene or Raloxifene. The first two have the same side effects as what I was on but includes blindness and urinating blood. FUN!! The other includes more weight gain, swelling of hands and feet and more.
Her other option was sending me to a surgeon that would give me a lumpectomy. She would only feel comfortable with my choice to stop meds if I removed the cancer from my breast. She told me that the MRI I had in June did show uptake as did the deeper tumor that we were unable to biopsy. My metastasis bypassed my lymph system and went directly to my bones so she explained that doing nothing and taking no meds is like playing a game of Russia Roulette with a loaded gun. It wouldn’t be a matter of IF but WHEN.
Tomorrow, I see the surgeon. I will discuss with her the lumpectomy and I will also ask about a mastectomy as well. I know a mastectomy might be overkill and a much harder surgery but if I’m going to consider surgery I would be remiss in not covering this topic.
Then I have to make a decision:
Door #1: begin a new Aromatase Inhibitor
Door #2: Lumpectomy or
Door #3: No surgery, No meds
I’ll be honest and I know I’ll catch shit for this but, gun to my head, if I had to decide right this second…I choose Door #3. Here’s why….
What if I don’t progress for 5, 10, 15 yrs? What if I never progress before something else does me in? What if??
After how completely shitty I’ve felt taking Exemestane and the 4 weeks of Letrozole, I’m not in a hurry to go back to that. Yes, I know chemo is much, much worse. But who knows when I will have to pony up to that bridge and (more brutal truth) I’m not certain I will decide to do chemo. There are so many considerations that will go into THAT decision. First and foremost will be what age and where my son is in his life.
I realize I may catch all kinds of shit for my lack of drive and perseverance when it comes to my treatment but please understand, I’m in a different place in my life. I don’t have young children, I’ve already had some amazing experiences, vacations and career. I’m pretty content and whether I have 2 yrs or 20 yrs, I don’t want to be sick, hurting or be a drag on my family.
So….this is where I am. I have a feeling I’ll have to decide sooner than later and by that I mean this week.
I will update again soon…
This is really hard. No resolution in any direction really makes the idea of “choice” seem absurd. That said, choosing is affirmative, still ours, and I was about to say “within limits” but that’s such a tiring phrase that closes us into a box.
I wish doctors could understand we are more than a path to least complicated outcomes.
Some choice, huh? I would never judge your decisions. You need to do what feels right for you. Thank you for keeping us in the loop and good luck making your decision. xx
I appreciate the detail you showed for making the choice, these things aren’t simple! All best as you sort through your options.
I don’t know about lumpectomies. I had a mastectomy (single) and I didn’t experience pain. It felt weird – numb, actually – but no pain.
That’s great. I’ve heard horror stories about how it hurt to move and how the drains are so uncomfortable.
I totally understand …