20
Dec
11

Opinions, opinions… and decisions

I saw Dr. Sonfield last week and told him I’d stopped radiation therapy. He said he thought it was perfectly reasonable that I had stopped. He’d actually seen my radiation burns while they were pretty bad. He commented that there’s no accurate way to tell whether the additional few treatments would have added much more benefit and not to worry about it.

He’s giving me a couple more months to heal up before removing the porta-cath, which was fine with me! He also didn’t want to drain the seroma again, saying it was stable and would gradually resolve on its own. I did remember to tell him about the torn bursa in my shoulder so he could add that to my medical records. (It’s feeling very well these days.)

Friday I saw Dr. Bajaj who didn’t comment much about my stopping radiation. He outlined pros and cons of my taking hormone therapy (Femara) for the next 5 years. On the pathology report after surgery, the sensitivity of the cancer cells (in the excised lymph nodes) to hormone therapy was 2, the very bottom of the range just over the none level. The pathology report from the needle biopsy had showed no sensitivity at all.

Considering this, the likelihood of the hormone therapy actually offering me any benefit in preventing recurrence is questionable. Dr. Bajaj recommended I do it anyway, saying the possibility of benefit is better than no possibility. I said okay.

He then ordered a bone density study, done immediately down the hall at Carolina Health Care. The reason for this test was that Femara lessens bone density and thus that will need to be monitored regularly. The test showed osteopenia bordering on osteoporosis. That’s not a new finding, basically the same as 5-6 years ago.

Since Femara would make it even worse, Dr. Bajaj said I needed to talk to my family doctor (Dr. Burnett) about starting Fosamax. I will be seeing her next week and will ask her about that.

I don’t know why I was surprised, but even the generic Femara was extremely expensive – $400 for 30 pills. My Medicare drug insurance paid $340, leaving me $60 to pay. Next month the deductible will be in force again, however, so the refill would no doubt cost me the entire $400. I simply can’t afford that, especially considering its questionable benefit to me in the first place.

After coming home from the drug store I went online to do some research about this medication, which I should have done beforehand. Decreased bone density is not the only bad side effect, by any means. They are about the same as for the chemotherapy drugs I took. I wish I had not gotten the prescription filled.

Dr. Bajaj’s office does blood work every visit, and this month my numbers were worse than last time. Radiation therapy had lowered WBC, platelet count and other things, just as chemotherapy had done. RBC’s are back to normal though and I have less overall fatigue and more energy. I’ll be glad when all this returns to normal.

As far as the radiation burns – the redness is nearly gone and the peeling stopped. The one spot that was so bad still burns and itches like crazy. I just slather anti-itch cream on it a couple of times a day to prevent myself from scratching. My hair is growing and I finally gave up wearing the little hat.

All in all things are looking much better and I feel much better. Christmas is almost here and I look forward to spending time with my family. I so appreciate all the prayers of faith and thankfulness my friends and family have offered for me this year – please don’t stop now!

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1 Response to “Opinions, opinions… and decisions”


  1. 1 Diane
    December 21, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I keep thinking about how the Good Shepherd walks with us through the valley of shadows of death- shadows are just that. They look scary but are not really. Keep close to The Good Shepherd- He is the Way through the valley of shadows. Nothing to fear! His wisdom will guide you, and your heart will be in perfect peace.


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Bette’s Journal

Bette Cox 2010

Christ is the "Big C" in my life!

That was told to me by a good friend recently, and it's so very true.

Jesus says in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

I believe Jesus. I hope you do too.

I have one request of other believers reading this journal:

Agree with me that the invader will shrink, shrivel, die and disappear from my body, whatever method the Lord uses to accomplish that.

Thanks in advance.

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