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    Oh No (Cancer has spread/Metastasized): After a month on Femara, my count more than doubled so my oncologist ordered a petscan. The good news is that the original tumor is about the same and the SUV (standardized uptake value) has decreased. The bad news is there is another tumor above the first one. It is tiny but she fears it may cause problems with my other organs if it grows. She was ready to set me up for chemo and I asked if she didn't have anything else up her sleeve. She said no then after a while said she was tempted to try one more thing. I said, let's go for it. So I am taking Exemestane for one month and if the results aren't favorable, I will start chemo. She said, you'll lose your hair (as if I didn't know that) and I said, darn I just got a new hairdo and color. Oh well, I said, I look cute bald, too! So there's where I am at right now. XXX!
    I did have a nice birthday with my nearest and dearest. I had a really good time. Now I just have to put my big girl panties on again or actually I never take them off. This journey is one bump after another. You have to be prepared constantly.

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    Oh No: My CA 125 dropped to 24 in October, Unfortunately the November result rose and continued to rise for the next two blood draws. My oncologist determined the Tamoxifen was no longer working so has switched me to Femara. I broke down in her office in November because I was upset that the Tamoxifen was not going to be the answer to my prayers. I have had it with this disease and told her I want it to go away but I know it won't. It was a bad day but I got over it. The other night when she called to give me my latest result and her decision to change meds, she told me if the numbers start to bother me too much, we can do chemo. I told her I agree with her and the surgeon to stay away from chemo as long as possible. I told her I am just afraid the cancer will drift off into other areas if we let it grow. She assured me that with the monthly CA 125 that will not happen. I am still feeling so well, with no symptoms that it would be foolish to mess with my quality of life with chemo at this point. So what is there to do but move forward and continue to enjoy the good health I have. The first listed side effects of Femara are hot flashes, hair loss (great!), joint pain and tiredness. I have been experiencing hot flashes with the Tamoxifen. I don't relish losing my hair but if it starts to look noticeably thin, I promise I will have it shaved off. The journey continues.

    I am in the process of planning my next birthday party. It will be smaller this year because I am feeling a little overwhelmed right now. I am only inviting my retired friends and family because it falls on a weekday. This will keep the size down and hopefully eliminate hurt feelings for the ones not invited who are working. I had a difficult time with Christmas because I was feeling overwhelmed and when I tried to do more than I was comfortable with, I experienced anxiety. I guess I am dealing with the latest issues of my illness but cannot handle a whole lot more.

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    Celebration (Cancer is shrinking): I had a CA 125 the day I started Tamoxifen so we would know where I started. It had gone from 46 to 115 in about a month. That tumor was growing.

    After one month on Tamoxifen my count went from 115 to 67. Thank God. My oncologist emailed me the news. Everyone was so happy especially me because I continued to feel good and now know that the drug is working. The oncologist had told me the drug may or may not work and even if it did work it could be a long process. A month later I had another CA 125 and as I waited for the result I tried to steel myself for whatever news would come. I didn't want to let it bother me too much if the count stayed the same or even went up some (hopefully not too much).

    I usually wait for the results to come in the mail because I find it nerve-wracking to call in. It takes about ten days for the letter to come. I was calm and surprised that the pending result was not uppermost on my mind. The letter arrived and I admit I was a little apprehensive as I opened it. To my great relief the count went down again. The magic number is 29. So far the news is great and I can look forward to the holidays knowing I will feel good. I don't need to look beyond that for now.

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    Side Effects (Hot flashes): That is really the only side effect I have experienced so far.

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    Drug or Chemo Therapy (Hormone therapy): My surgeon who is a gyn/oncologist urged me to try Tamoxifen. The alternative was chemo but he does not believe in administering the chemo until there are symptoms. I have no symptoms at all and figured it made more sense to try the drug which may shrink the tumor rather than let it grow until I was symptomatic. It was really a no brainer because if the Tamoxifen didn't work I knew the big guns were waiting in the wings. My oncologist thought the Tamoxifen was the best choice as well. She said you feel good right? I agreed so it made even more sense to avoid chemo. With this disease I have already been told I will have chemo the rest of my life so if I can avoid it for now and feel strong and healthy that is how I want to procede.

    Although the possible side effects are a mile long as with most drugs; I have had minimal problems. Most common are the hot flashes which come and go quickly and only happen a couple of times each day. I have had a couple of days where I was so fatigued I rested the whole day. The Tamoxifen my have nothing to do with that.

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    Oh No (Cancer is back/Recurred ): In April my CA 125 came back 23. Although less than 35 is considered within range, my oncologist had determined my nadir was 7. I was scared to death. I requested a call from the doctor. When she called that afternoon she said she was concerned too. She said I should have another CA 125 in two months as the number could possibly go down. That was a hard two months but the result was even worse. My count had gone to 46. I was immediately scheduled for a petscan. The petscan revealed a tumor about the size of a walnut to the side of my liver.

    By the time I got the news I was fairly sure I had a recurrence. I was hit hardest in April when the CA 125 first rose. When it went to 46 I was kind of expecting that and by the time the cancer was confirmed I took it in stride. It's a lesson I learned early on with this disease. Acceptance. I don't like it but I accept the facts and move on. What do we do about it?