Finally signed off

Today was a big day - I had my last hospital visit. I have one telephone appointment left but today was my last physical appointment - well for now and long may it continue.

It has been a very challenging 6 months in so many ways and today was the final resolution. And I am happy, relieved and - dare I say it - a little cross.

I was put on anastrazole as my cancer was oestrogen positive. Anastrazole is one of a group of drugs used which basically strip the body of all of its oestrogen so the cancer cells have nothing to feed on. It can significantly reduce the risk of reoccurrence in the right circumstances.  If you have oestrogen positive breast cancer you will in all likelihood in almost every single case be prescribed one of the drugs after surgery.

When I was told I had to have anastrazole I was very unhappy. I have never ever wanted to mess with hormones in my body. My mom died at 58 as a direct result of HRT. It was no-one's fault but it was the HRT which caused her death. I was 29. I immediately came off the pill as I decided I would never mess with hormones. I accept that is just me - it was an anxiety issue and maybe not a rational decision but it was a decision both Nigel and I stood by. So to be told that I was going to have to take a drug which would remove osterogen was devastating for me. I was so firmly convinced that oestrogen, already depleted after menopause, was there for a reason and removing it was not good. I read up on it and the side effects scared me rigid. Many were common, experienced by 1 in 10 patients like aches, hot flushes, headaches, and muscle aches, and then there were the silent serious common side effects like osteoporosis (so they give you calcium supplements and dexa scans) like raised blood pressure and cholesterol so they say that's fine they can give you pills for that, like potential disruption to liver function, possible links to cardiac issues, possible links to dementia. We both found it all terrifying but I have always been compliant and doctors told me I needed to take it so take it I did. Day one I suffered a very significant bleed as it strips the oestrogen quickly (80% in the first 24 hours). The hot flushes started in the first week and were severe, as were the daily headaches which were quite debilitating. But far worse was the depression and the mental strain of taking them. Every day I hated swallowing the one little pill as I really didn't agree with it. I wasn't aware I was depressed ... my best friend and husband were. In the end, after 7 weeks I rang and asked if I could stop. They advised me to take a 6 week break and so I did. My follow-up was today. In the break period, I also saw my GP who reinforced my view that it was about the whole person. Whilst they HAD to focus on stopping breast cancer reoccurrence I was a whole person and any number of other things could finish me off including things caused by the drug they had given me. It took about 5 weeks for me to start feeling myself again which time I did a lot of research. A lot of reading. A lot f medical study-based reading. The oncologist had no idea of the figures (we were staggered) but when pushed said the drug therapy might reduce my chance of reoccurrence from 5%  down to 2.5%. In the end, I ran the Precict tool myself at home and it showed that after 10 years I was 0.6% less likely to die of breast cancer with the drug than without it. In our view that simply wasn't worth it.

I went for my follow up today expecting a battle. I didn't have one. They listened to my concerns and then, without me asking, ran the predict tool with me. I hadn't done it quite right - when they did it properly it came out at 0.5% and even she said it really wasn't worth me taking it as the difference was so small it didn't even really register. I was thrilled to be told I never had to take those pills again but then, when we left, I became cross.

If the NHS have a tool like that, why wasn't it used when I was first prescribed it? They seem to have the 'one size fits all' view. I get that they have to do all they can to stop the cancer coming back. I get that for many people the risks are very high if they have larger tumours, higher grades, lymph node spread. I get that for some it is vital. But NOT for all. Why did they not run that test when I queried it at the outset.? Had I not been so worried and so determined I could have been on the drug for 5 or even 10 years. Goodness knows what other issues I may have developed (I would say at least some of them were highly likely). I don't pay for prescriptions so that would have cost the NHS a lot of money for the anastrazole, for the calcium tablets, the dexa scans, the blood tests and possibly for the medications to lower the raised blood pressure and cholesterol. I would have taken it, unwillingly, and totally and utterly unnecessarily. So I am a little bit cross. And very happy.

Sorry - I just needed to get that off my chest.

I haven't scrapped nearly as much as I used to but I have enjoyed playing along with scrapping for National Scrapbook Day taking part in various challenges. I listed 36 challenges I wanted to do and so far I have done 21. No not 21 different pages - I have been savvy and managed to do pages that meet more than one challenge criteria. It's been fun.

Here are a couple

This was for challenges at Hey Little Magpie, Bramble Fox and Peartree Cut Files


Celebrate-nd-of-radio insta


Celebrate-nd-of-radio insta


Celebrate-nd-of-radio insta


Celebrate-nd-of-radio insta

So was this one


Hugs insta

and this one


Deadwood insta


Deadwood insta


Deadwood insta


Today I am thankful for

  • no more hospital visits for the foreseeable future
  • no more medication I didn't like
  • a scrappy few days


April 11, 2023

April 05, 2023

March 29, 2023

March 18, 2023

March 08, 2023

February 19, 2023

February 14, 2023

February 08, 2023

February 06, 2023

February 02, 2023

My Photo

All About Me

  • I am Scrapdolly - frequently answering to just Dolly. I live with my soulmate Nigel and two new kittens and I love to scrap. Scrapping is my creative outlet, my daily therapy, my sanity restorer and where I meet my friends. Come share it with me.


Projects I am involved in


  • Crafty Blogs