Hair and Weight Gain

So – I am still losing handfuls of hair from my head when I shampoo. And….now I am experiencing some weight gain – about 7 pounds so far. I have not been using the treadmill as often as I should, so that accounts for some weight gain, and I have been prescribed Citalopram for anxiety. That was a couple of months ago. It may cause weight gain, so I am not quite ready to lay the blame for it on the Fosamax. Not yet.

 

Fosamax

AKA Alendronic acid or alendronate sodium. Here I am, day two after taking the very first weekly pill. I am not happy about the possible side effects of this medication. But the alternative, losing bone mass, is just as unsettling. There are four different medications that are available to help prevent bone loss, and to build up bone mass. Fosamax is the one chosen by my doctor. I expect that I will have to have more bone density testing done at some point. I wonder if the drug will work? I wonder if it will show within weeks, or if it will take months to have an effect. I have, in my life, only had one broken bone. The story is rather humorous.

I was watching television one afternoon – General Hospital, the soap opera, if I remember it correctly – and I got up from the sofa, and took a step, planning to go into another room. I was so engrossed in the TV show, that I didn’t look where I was going, and that step slammed my little toe right into the leg of the coffee table. I nearly passed out from the pain. Later, the toe was bruised and a bit swelled, but of course, as my doctor told me, there is nothing really to be done for a broken toe. I was more careful after that. Still watched the soap every day back then, though.

Arimidex

Well, after this time on Arimidex, I have discovered that I have one – just one – noticeable side effect. That is hair loss. Oh my! This after losing all my hair during chemo. It has grown back nicely and now this! The hair is coming out by the handful when I shampoo my hair or comb it.
At the oncologist appointment today, I told her this, and she wants to see me again in two months. We will wait to find out if the hair loss subsides.
Additionally, she wants me to see the family doctor about a prescription for a bisphosphonate. She said that my bone density test shows that I am indeed losing bone mass….I have a 20 per cent risk of breaking a bone if I fall, compared to the general population. I am nearly 63 years old. I have been on Synthroid for many years. It can also cause bone thinning….So while I do not like the possible side effects of the bisphosphonate, there is no alternative. There is one of the four different medicines that is not likely to be as damaging, so that is the one I will talk to my doctor about to see if it will work for me as it should…

My family was very poor when I was growing up, and we rarely had any milk in the house, let alone other dairy products, or even a plentiful supply of food in general. I think that the poor diet in childhood may also contribute to the osteoporosis/bone loss problem.

 

How Things Change

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I thought today about how relationships can change after a cancer diagnosis.

For instance, my husband and I became closer. He was a good support for me while I underwent treatment.

On the other hand, two of my relationships changed for the worst.

One, my hair stylist. She no longer chats with me about everyday things. She leaves great silences now, and is less chatty about her own life.

Two, my dental hygienist. She has been my hygienist for over eight years now. I am a nervous person at the dental office, and only go to her for dental cleaning. She has also become silent and seems less friendly than before she learned of my diagnosis.

Do these ladies fear that they, too, will develop cancer? Do they both feel that they must distance themselves from me, in case I die of the disease?
Do they have other problems that have nothing to do with me, and are they both thinking and worrying about such problems, in silence, not feeling that they can confide in me?

Am I simply imagining things? I hope so.

It is hard enough to be a cancer survivor without feelings of rejection or withdrawal from those one has had dealings with in the past.

Losses

I had to attend a funeral yesterday. My sister-in-law passed away at age 64. She was diagnosed with breast cancer only a few months after I was diagnosed. She had triple negative breast cancer, stage 4. After the treatment, she developed cancer of the spine, which responded to treatment, but then she developed lung cancer and was sent home without any hope of recovery.

We had the privilege of  a weekend visit with her and my brother-in-law a few months before she died. She was mostly confined to a wheelchair, due to serious hip and knee joint problems. The surgery for those problems had been cancelled once she was diagnosed with cancer.

She also suffered from fibromyalgia, and had for several years.

Despite her health issues, she was kind, and genuinely interested in others.

I will miss her terribly, even though we only visited occasionally. She was that sort of person. If you are lucky, you know someone like that, and can appreciate my loss.

My brother-in-law married her, in hospital, and less than 48 hours before she passed away. She was happy, though, and I think she died in peace.

My middle sister died 10 days later. She had had a kidney transplant many years ago, and had actually outlived the expected time. She was 73. She died from kidney failure.

My step-mother-in-law died in November, 2015 from COPD complications and malnutrition. She was a very picky eater in the last days at the senior’s lodge and I think she had anorexia associated with dementia. She died peacefully.

So….it has been a stressful and emotional time here. I hope to have brighter posts in future.

 

A New Prescription

A check at the cancer center, with a nurse practitioner yesterday. (The oncologist was away). She has prescribed an aromatase inhibitor now, which I will take for three years. It is called Arimidex, anastrozole tablets, 1 mg. There are less side effects than with Tamoxifen I have been told. I see the oncologist in two months.

I had a mammogram of the left side, and ultrasound a few weeks ago.
This was a busy week, with that appointment, plus optometrist for new glasses, hair do, and lab work requested by my family doctor. Next week? I am going to watch horror movies and cross stitch. Just to relax and recuperate!

All Okay

I have been remiss in not keeping this blog up to date. Thankfully, the second check (mammogram and ultrasound) was alright. It does give a person a scare though, and I hope this doesn’t happen again….