Official end of treatment

I saw the oncologist this morning and now it’s official. My oral chemo, the daily letrozole tablet that I’ve taken for five years, ended today. I’d be in a celebratory mood, except that I’m supposed to see the doctor again in six months and, in the meantime, be weighing whether I want to take the letrozole for another two years. Two more years is a compromise with some standards of care that now suggest a total of ten years. It depends on what type of cancer you’ve had and what side effects you may be dealing with. He said it could reduce my chances of a recurrence by about 2%.

I’d pretty much come to terms with the idea that my thinning hair and really annoying hot flashes were likely just due to my age and that stopping the letrozole wouldn’t make much difference. But the doctor seemed quite confident that the letrozole has indeed been the cause and that those things should soon stop. That would be more than welcome.

If stopping does make an obvious difference — in the thinning hair, hot flashes, and general fatigue — it will be tough opting to take the drug for two more years. I hate having to make decisions like this. Especially if I feel notably better between now and October.

I’d been worried about assorted aches and soreness in the operated breast for a couple of months after Christmas. Vague, off and on kind of thing. First time since the original surgery that I’ve experienced any discomfort. I considered an earlier appointment but dragged my feet. Who wants to hear that their cancer has come back?

Anyway, the doctor wasn’t worried. He said temporary swelling or fluid build-up could cause that sort of thing, even though it hasn’t happened before. Didn’t sound to him like a recurrence, and he recommended massage if it bothers me again.

My next mammo is scheduled for August, but if I get concerned, he’ll schedule it earlier.

So that’s about it. I’m obviously relieved that he wasn’t concerned about the soreness and eager to have the damned hot flashes go away.

14 thoughts on “Official end of treatment

  1. philosophermouseofthehedge Tuesday, April 06, 2021 / 6:25 pm MDT

    YEA! YEA!
    Feeling better is a big thing. All these treatments have these stupid hot flashes and other nonsense .Regaining energy level is something to look forward to.
    Just enjoy now until Oct. and don’t spend time worrying – cherish feeling better ( and seeing people again.)
    Have they said anything about vaccines messing with mammo images? They are here – but August is down the road a way, so maybe they will know more by then
    Meanwhile YEA!

    • Pied Type Saturday, April 10, 2021 / 11:49 pm MDT

      I’d read about the vaccine causing lymph node lumps or something that messed with mammo images. But I finished my vaccine in early Feb., so no worries about that.

      As for feeling better, I’m certainly looking forward to it! Definitely YEA!

      • philosophermouseofthehedge Monday, April 12, 2021 / 4:32 pm MDT

        They are saying here, just don’t panic if it reads weird. A surprise no one needs!

        • Pied Type Monday, April 12, 2021 / 6:47 pm MDT

          Got that right.

  2. zenzalei Saturday, April 10, 2021 / 11:28 pm MDT

    WOW! I am thrilled for you!

  3. dunelight Sunday, April 11, 2021 / 5:33 pm MDT

    Exciting news indeed!

    • Pied Type Sunday, April 11, 2021 / 9:05 pm MDT

      It is. It was kind of anticlimactic, just moving a pill bottle off the shelf. But it was the one that said “cancer” on the label. I should have burned it or blown it up or something.

      • dunelight Sunday, April 11, 2021 / 9:45 pm MDT

        Some years we do a ritual ‘burning of the old year’s more odious events on New Year’s Eve before we welcome in the new. Basically we write the hated thing on a piece of paper and throw it in the fire and take a drink.

        A more powerful stance may be to turn the pill bottle into something, what, I don’t know. Perhaps a mini time capsule of F*ck you, cancer, I beat you! for someone else to find.

        • Pied Type Sunday, April 11, 2021 / 9:48 pm MDT

          Oh, I love that idea! Leaving the bottle for someone else to find. Now to think of a good place …
          maybe down around the cancer center grounds someplace.

        • dunelight Sunday, April 11, 2021 / 9:49 pm MDT

          Maybe you should put something joyful inside with the note.

        • Pied Type Sunday, April 11, 2021 / 10:01 pm MDT

          That would be better than gloating and giving cancer the finger. Wouldn’t want to tempt fate.

  4. huey77blogg Tuesday, April 13, 2021 / 2:11 pm MDT

    Sorry to hear about your brush with cancer but it seems as if you came out best. Most people nowadays get cancer in their lives. Whether it is a relative or a friend. Too many chemicals in food and the environment, I think. Good luck for the future.

    • Pied Type Tuesday, April 13, 2021 / 5:34 pm MDT

      Thanks, Huey. I appreciate that.

"You don’t have to say everything to say something." ~Beth Moore

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