Sunday, February 10, 2019

Bumps in the Road

It's my birthday month. January was my checkup month (the first one of 2019, there will be more). For a month now, I have been pondering the news I was given at my last visit. The medicine I take to protect me from recurrence of breast cancer causes low bone density. I do not (yet) have osteoporosis but I do have osteopenia. They want to start me on bone medicine. The doctor (bone expert) prefers Prolia injections. He made it all sound so safe and simple. I resent him not being forthcoming with me. I want to give him "what for" and tell him how rushed I felt when I saw him. I wish I'd seen him before I saw my breast people. I feel like she would have taken time to talk things out with me. She did call me back after I left a message but the phone call felt rushed too.

I've been looking around and that stuff comes with some heavy duty (possible) side effects. Maybe none of them will affect me. But if they do, it could be debilitating. I think the truth of the matter is the people recommending this stuff do not really know what all it can do or how long it stays in your system. It does seem to help increase bone density. I mean, it's made from something in the ovaries of genetically engineered Chines hamsters, what could go wrong?

I've joined a Facebook group of people who have been on the injections or are considering the injections. Someone on the group mentioned dried plums (prunes) being good for building bone density. The study was sponsored by the plum folks so I'm taking it all with a grain of salt. But I have a little time before I have to decide what to do. I have a few options. None of them are all that great. For now, I believe I'm going to try the prunes (6-8 per day, a nice sweet little snack!), and get back with my regular walking program, along with a few other helpful things. We'll see how it goes.

The thing is, what good will it do me to not have a recurrence of breast cancer if I am laid down by this medicine? Granted, maybe that won't happen to me. Maybe it will all be just fine. But if it's not, what then? I've said I don't know how to make this decision. I've talked to a few friends. My GP is not at all alarmed by the prospect and praised Prolia. I have an appointment next week with our wellness nurse at work. I've laid things out for her in an email. I just want to talk about possible consequences of my choices.

This has been a discouraging development. I feel a bit like a lamb being led to the slaughter. I probably can't ignore osteoporosis but maybe I can live with osteopenia a little longer. The bone doctor says I'll likely have osteoporosis in six months.

I came across this Thoughtograph/thang when I was transferring files from my old laptop to my new one (let me say I now understand why they want a hundred bucks to transfer files over from old to new). I feel as uncertain as I have ever felt in this journey.


  1. I'm reading a book that would no doubt say something along the lines of 'uncertainty sucks, sit with the uncertainty'. I hate that book. And I hope you find the right, or least wrong, option. I'm sorry for the situation and the choices.

  2. I might hate that book too, Rach! I will find some option, sucky as it is, and I will eventually sit and make my peace with it. But first, I gotta moan and kvetch a bit!

  3. After my breast cancer treatment the oncologist prescribed 5 years of Anastrozole, which suppresses estrogen. Trouble is, estrogen is needed for healthy bones. A bone density scan showed I already had osteoporosis and the oncologist wanted me on bone drugs with scary side effects. I said I wanted to try natural remedies for 2 years. I've been eating 6 prunes a day, plus lots of kale, and gouda cheese, and unflavored gelatin mixed with fruit juice. After 2 years I had a second scan, and my bones are "holding their own" with no further loss of bone density. My oncologist told me to keep doing whatever I'm doing.
    I hope you find a healthy bones plan that works for you.

    1. Thank you for your encouragement and information, Karen. I got discouraged and kind of quit on my own plan. Need to get back with the program!


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