I will not be doing any more preventative cancer treatments.
The decision was made today with my oncologist. Initially, he wanted me to consider trying one of the other 2 hormone therapies I have not yet tried, but after we talked more he changed to waiting 6 months to try one of them. With more talk, we finally agreed that the side effects I experience from the hormone therapies were not worth the 10% reduction in risk they would give me.
So no restarting the hormone therapy. No HT side effects, no side effect preventing medications (with their own side effects), no more medications.
My only follow-up from now on are regular 6-month check-ups for the next 3 years until I am outside the 5-year high risk window. My overall risk of recurrence during this time is approximately 15-20%. The risk for a woman my age with no history is 5% (but with breasts and ovaries). My risk will never be that low again, even with treatments.
I feel like I was just officially handed my life back.
For some, any increased risk may seem to high, but for me the side effects took so much of my energy I couldn’t live my life. I am actually more afraid of the effect of the side effects than finding out I have cancer again.
That said, it wasn’t an easy decision. There was a lot to consider, pros, cons, advantages, disadvantages. It was a lot of discussion with my oncologist, but in the end this is the best decision for me.
I can’t live my life in fear of cancer coming back, and I can’t live my life experiencing the side effects I was having.
This may have been an easier decision for me than my oncologist expected. When it comes down to it, the thought of recurrence is not one I dwell on. I have done a lot to reduce my cancer risk, but they are the basic things expected–chemo, radiation, surgery. If I didn’t have side effects from the HT I would still be doing it.
When it comes to cancer, I chose from the beginning not to live in fear.
I don’t have any regrets from my life. I have been very lucky, had lots of ups and down, but I don’t feel like there is anything unfinished. It’s not that I am ready for my life to be over–far from it–but if fate determines that cancer is to be a part of my future I don’t feel I have or could have control over that. I had no (known) risk factors before I was diagnosed, but I still found a lump and began this journey.
I can only live my life as best as I can right now and take the future as it comes. I was not able to do that while undergoing the hormone therapy and that is reason enough to not do more HT.
I don’t know what the future holds, but in the meantime I am ready to continue rebuilding my life. I am ready to embrace the whatever challenges the future holds as I am now and I feel like I have been given final permission to put cancer behind me and move forward.
I feel released from the hold cancer has had on my life.
It’s been almost 3 years coming.