I have started to take the medications that Dr Moss prescribed, but not before a trip to my dentist to make sure my jaw could take it! Apparently, with the bisphosphonate (ibandronic acid), there is a 1% chance of necrosis of the jaw, and tooth extractions could pose a problem. Fortunately, I have no need for any extractions, so I can take the drug without worry. I was advised to take the ibandronic acid on an empty stomach in the morning with a glass of water, a good half hour before breakfast, and standing up so that it doesn’t damage the oesophagus.
The other drug I take is a hormone suppressant (Letrozole) prescribed to women with cancer of my age. As always, it has side-effects, one of which is that I might become irritable and bad-tempered. Bob would say “no change there then” but he would be very unfair. Anyway, I don’t believe my mood has changed at all. If anything I am happier because I feel fitter. I felt a bit bloated after a week, but that has passed. I will have to take these drugs for several years, so my particular jury is out on drug reaction. It could be that after a couple of years, I react differently. Time will tell. After a lifetime of never being on any long-term medication I am unhappy that I have now joined the repeat meds brigade.
The hospital was only able to dispense half the quantity of one of the medications, so I had to go back to get the rest. Then there was a bit of an issue with the medications team at my GP surgery who had difficulty getting hold of the drugs for my repeat prescription, but that has been solved now.
The start of the end of baldness?
Every day I eagerly check my scalp for signs of hair regrowth. I think there are signs that this is happening. So far it’s little more than a quickening of the hair follicles, but something is definitely going on, though I’m not ready to show my head to the world yet.
I lost most of my eyebrows and all the lashes, but even they feel as though they are about to regenerate. I am so impatient for it to grow though. It’s hard to wait.
Next up: radiotherapy.
On Tuesday I go to Brighton for a scan prior to the radiotherapy. I will report on how I get on there. Although the medical team gave me a lot of information, it’s still something of an unknown to me. Sadly I have to miss my book club meeting in order to attend the scan.
The positive news this week is that I really do feel well now. It’s nearly six weeks since the last chemo session, and although the effects (mainly the dry mouth) lasted until last week, I have been feeling motivated to embark on projects around the house. Project number one was clearing out and then painting the walls of an outhouse (starting small), and project number two was discarding lots of very old files and moving my office furniture around to make more room. I have lots more lined up for the summer.
I have been pretty active at the gym, attending classes when I can, and doing my new gym routine when I can’t. Exercise is important for everyone, but more and more research is showing that exercise during cancer treatment is vital.
I’ll be back next week to tell you about the scan.
Note: Once again I state here how thankful I am that I only had four cycles of chemo. The last one was the hardest to get over, and had I needed two more, I’m sure that the side-effects would have lasted much longer each time. If you are prescribed 6 or more cycles, my heart really goes out to you. But it will end eventually. Keep exercising and eating healthily.