|In this video: A trip to radiation, Millie goes to the vet, and I decide to attempt a triathlon that very day.|
My understanding is that most doctors wait, that there is no evidence that it's better to overlap treatments. A long time ago I asked my doctor why she didn't want to wait in my case, expecting some evidence-based response, something about how studies suggest it's better, or at least a scientific explanation of the mechanism of the two approaches, how, theoretically at least, I would benefit from the aggressive approach. Instead I got the usual bug-eyed emphatic frustrated-sounding answer about my age, how big and aggressive my tumor was, about my lymph node involvement. The answer didn't satisfy but it succeeded in shaming me into silence. I wrestled with the question privately, ultimately deciding to go ahead and start the pills without any further protest or push back or struggle for answers.
I tried not to think about it.
Not a good approach.
|How did the triathlon go? Watch this video to find out! More of my videos here.|
And then I read about the side effects, all the women who quit the drug despite its efficacy because they just can't bear to live with the side effects another day. Statistics show that Tamoxifen is more effective at preventing breast cancer recurrence than chemotherapy. But whether they suffered headaches, sleeplessness, muscle and joint aches, blurred vision, mood swings, bloating, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, constant tiredness, or uterine pressure akin to menstrual cramps, many women just can't bear that daily pill. I read about people counting down the days that make up the five years, and so many testimonials from non-complainers who have put in their time, summing up their experience in exactly the same way: It was a long five years.
I have five more radiation treatments ahead of me. Just five. My doctor returns from her vacation tomorrow. Unless she gives me real, concrete reasons based on science rather than fear, the day after I finish radiation, I plan to do one more triathlon. I will start the clock on my five years of pills after that.