The ovarian suppression has stopped working.
For the gents reading, be warned this will be a women’s health post.
As I have mentioned, I was switched to a type of ovarian suppression via injection for hormone therapy 3 months ago. The first two months went exactly as expected. This month, it seems the injection only lasted less than a week.
I had been feeling pretty ‘off’ meaning emotional, depressed, achy, headaches and nausea for about a week, but I honestly put it down to a combination of stress and side effects from the injection attributed to my estrogen levels dropping quite low.
It turns out, this was exactly what I should have realized it was–PMDD symptoms, or extreme PMS. Last night I suddenly had a period start, which is a huge ‘no no’ with this type of treatment. Basically, my ovaries have overcome the ovarian suppression and have continued to produce estrogen.
Industrious little B*T*H*S.
Knowing that a period was not a good sign, I called my oncologist this morning to see what, if anything can be done and what will be the next step. Basically, since the Zoladex is not working, he is going to try switching me to a similar ovarian suppressor named Lupron. This is apparently a stronger suppressor, and instead of an injection once/month, it is for 3 months at a time. On top of that, I have been told I must start the additional estrogen blocker next week, instead of the first week of march as I planned.
I get the new injection tomorrow. I am a little angry about this as I will have to miss an hour of school to get it, and once again there is no way to know what side effects this injection will have, or what side effects the estrogen blocker will have as well. I have one more week left to my masters residency, so I am optimistic that the result from this injection will be similar to how I felt after the injection of the zoladex.
I am determined to continue with school. It’s intense but I am really enjoying it and in all honesty, I am very tired of having to deal with cancer-related issues and having to put pieces of my life on hold to try and deal with therapies.
I was also told today that if this new course of hormone therapy does not keep me in menopause (for example if the injection wears off early), I will be ‘referred to gynecology’ which basically means oophorectomy (removal of ovaries), and surgery. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what to hope for right now. It would be nice to just eliminate all the issues my ovaries are causing, but on the other hand not having ovaries also has it’s own side effects. I would be in surgical menopause, for which there is no timeline (it could be years before it stops) and cannot be treated (due to inability to take hormones), bone health is affected and the ovaries are proven to big role in heart health later in life.
However, there is no point in worrying about that until and if I have to. For now, it is necessary to get my estrogen levels under control as best we can and go from there.
I just hope this form of hormone therapy works and my life will stop being affected by cancer prevention.
I can hope, right??