I had a voicemail from my oncologist yesterday in which she confirmed that I am officially post-menopausal! Yea! (I think?) This determination was critical to determining which medicine I would be instructed to take for the next five years.
All along I have been researching Aromasin as this was the drug she mentioned each time we talked about this. It turns out that, instead, she prescribed Femara. I picked up my prescription today but I haven’t taken it yet. I think I’ll wait until bedtime and shoot to take it each night when I brush my teeth. I think that’s the best way to make sure I take it each day.
Per their website, Femara “is a form of hormone therapy known as an aromatase inhibitor, which works by reducing the amount of estrogen produced in the bodies of postmenopausal women.” I have to get more information on this, as my understanding was that these drugs blocked the estrogen from being fed to any rogue cancer cells. I didn’t realize that it actually reduced the estrogen in your body and I’m sure there are impacts to that. The insert from the pharmacy reads “It works by reducing the total amount of estrogen produced primarily in the body. This helps starve cancer cells by depriving them of estrogen.”
There is more information on the website, but the information accompanying my prescription indicated the following possible side effects: back, leg, or arm pain; breast pain; constipation; cough; diarrhea; dizziness; headache; hot flashes; flushing; increased sweating; indigestion; joint or muscle pain; loss of appetite; mild swelling or fluid retention; nausea; night sweats; sleeplessness; stomach pain; tiredness; vaginal dryness or irritation; vomiting; weakness; weight gain or loss” (and of course, if there’s an option, you know MY body will pick weight gain over weight loss!)
There is also a full list of potential severe allergic reactions… Hmmm… maybe I shouldn’t wait until bedtime to take my first dose…
I am really not thrilled to be taking this drug at all. A few years ago I became very leery of taking any prescription drugs and, outside of my chemotherapy, I haven’t taken ANYthing in over two years. I feel I have made a lot of changes over the past year to improve my overall health and I am prepared to refuse this medication if I start feeling any nasty side effects. I realize that even if one person has a side effect, they need to publish it, so I’m hopeful for none. But only time will tell.