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May 25, 2019 08:29AM
not sure if this will be helpful-but here goes. I was in the gray area (pre tailor x) around 26-- had 4 chemo (A/C ) treatments over 8 weeks then radiation. Because of a blood clot during one of my pregnancies, I was unable to take tamoxifen-which meant they had to put me in menopause (lupron) in order for me to take an AI (letrozole). I did the lupron injections every month at the gyn. There was vaginal dryness and atrophy (but I worked hard to counter that- saw a pelvic floor therapist and when I am good about the exercises, it is ok--dryness was probably going to happen anyway-lots of Replens etc). I did find that something (not sure if it was the letrozole or lupron) made me a little cranky for a while-- it took about 6 months to develop a rythym on the drugs. I stayed on lupron for 3 years then went off because I figured I must be in menopause- I was right-and took letrozole for 5 years.
As for working - I work full time and at the time of dx I was working in a fast paced executive position-- I had my chemo on Fridays and found that I usually "worked at home" on Mondays and Tuesdays. I was not sick but queasy and tired. Then I was back in the game on Wednesdays. I think it was right for me. I work with hundreds of people-I did not speak widely about my dx at the time-- so each day I could focus on my work and did not have to talk about cancer all day--it was really a relief and made me feel "normal". I was just really careful about not picking up any germs (I work in a university--so many opportunities to get sick!!)
We did not change our kids's schedules at all -they still had play dates, school, music lessons,--my h had to do more (cooking dinner) but overall I think we kept them on track and did not make a huge deal out of this. I suspect that they barely remember it-- I have had 2 other low level cancers since then and again, we keep the trains running and just keep moving forward.
You have to do what works for you-some people find working through chemo to be too much-- and that is ok-- my onc really encouraged it so I just did what she said. There are probably people in your workplace who are going through chemo right now and no one knows. I did buy 2 human hair wigs. My treatment started in January and I shaved my head pre-chemo- then by July 4 I was no longer wearing the wig and had a super short haircut for the summer. None of this is ideal. The best advice I got when I started chemo was "do everything they say to do, take all the drugs when the say to" because they really do have this down to a science.
All of that said, you may choose not to do chemo- and that is also up to you. I think it is hard when you have 2 same opinions and there is no clear path. But in the end, you have to live with the decision. Someone once told me - when you have a hard decision to make- wake up one day and decide yes I will do that- and live with that all day. On the next day, wake up and decide- no I will not do that- and live with that. On the third day, the decision might be clearer.
I had my chemo every other week. When I asked why it was so close together (many of my friends had it every 3 weeks) my onc said "you are young, healthy and we want you to get through this and get on with your life" . I really appreciated that.
happy to answer any questions that you have-- be confident that you will ulitmately make the best decision for you and your family.
10/29/2008, ILC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
11/25/2008 Lumpectomy: Right
1/16/2009 Adriamycin (doxorubicin)
6/15/2009 Femara (letrozole)