menapause and breast cancer

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skeeter1
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 6/20/2005 11:56 AM (GMT -7)   
This is the first time I ever wrote on this forum. I woke up several times last night with severe sweats and cold chills. See I was diagnosised with breast cancer in febr 05 went thru 8 chemo treatments and had lumpectomy with 7 lumpnodes removal two weeks ago. Still recovering from surgery. Get alot of fluid in my armpit and have to go to the doctor every 3-4 days to get it drained. I woke up this morning very sad and teary eyed and sore. Never got any sleep from the severe sweats and chills and getting very tired and depressed from everything I have gone thru lately. Sometimes I feel so alone. I have a wonderful fiance who takes wonderful care of me, but sure it is getting to be alot for him too and hate to lean on him to much, think at times I lean on him to much already. Oh forgot to tell you I am 48 years old. does anyone have and suggestions on what I can do to help the way I feel? My doctor prescribed effexor for me a week ago but I am not sure an antidepressant is the answer. He said he was giving it to me for my menapause symptoms. See the doctor says the chemo shut down my ovaries and now I am in full blown menapause. Has anyone gone through this and have any good suggestions to help me through this. trying to find things to keep me busy too. Just can't seem to find anything and when I do I don't have the energy for it..........skeeter1

tking
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2004
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 6/20/2005 12:10 PM (GMT -7)   

I am 48 also.  I had bc first in 1996 and then again last year.  I too went into menopause in 1996.  My onc and gyn both told me I needed to take Effexor or Prozac for the symptoms.  I thought they were crazy but did some research.  It appears that Effexor and Prozac are the main 2 antidepressants that help menopausal symptoms.  I've taken both.  Either one works well.  I think the Effexor is a little better but I gained some weight.  So, I went on Prozac and that worked pretty well.  I am now back on Effexor and have not gained weight.  On a strict diet - no sugar.  You can expect weight gain usually during the chemo anyway.  It's hard to believe that you can feel so badly and still gain weight but it happens.  Don't be afraid to lean on you fiancee.  That's all they (the men) can do to help us.  I felt like I was probably bothering my husband especially after two times but all he cared about was helping me.  Keep taking the Effexor, in a couple of weeks, the hot flashes and night sweats will begin to go away.  You'll sleep a lot better.  It's a hard road, I know, but take comfort in knowing that all of us on this board have been there and survived and we will help you in any way. 

Saying prayers for you - let us know how you feel.  DON"T GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Teresa King

Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

(NIV)


JUJU8872
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 6/20/2005 1:02 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, I just read your note. I am postmenopausal and have not had quite so severe hot flash problem. Everyone is different, I guess.
I just want to reiterate what Teresa said. ELIMINATE SUGAR. Use protein for energy - i.e.
walnuts (can't eat peanuts or cashews because they are addictive!!). Look for high protein foods with no sugar. Try Smucker's natural peanut butter (creamy) and eat a peanut butter sandwich. This has 8 gr protein and only 1 gr sugar. No, it's not like real peanut butter, but it is o.k. Remember you are just substituting protein for energy. I got my peanut butter at a healthfood store. When you are better, remember to do your arm exercises so you regain range of motion. Hope things get better soon. juju8872

tking
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2004
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 6/20/2005 2:12 PM (GMT -7)   

In regards to the peanut butter, now Skippy makes a Carb Option Peanut butter.  No sugar and low carbs or no carbs, can't remember, but it tastes like peanut butter.  I buy Wheat crackers with low sugar and low carbs and put the peanut butter on them and it's a nice treat.

 

Amen to the arm exercises - I waited a long time.  Just finished last reconstruction - chemo finished 10 months and just started going to the Y for arm and leg exercises.  Shouldn't have waited so long.  Am sore but I can tell my range of motion is improving.  I did try to keep halfway active during the time of treatment and recovery but not enough.


Teresa King

Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

(NIV)


skeeter1
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 6/20/2005 3:15 PM (GMT -7)   
thank you for the advise on proteins and peanut butter.. I have been trying to do my exercises my arm is sore but still able to do full range of motion with it. it helps to be able to talk on here and have someone listen and understand what I am talking about. I did gain alittle weight with the chemo your advise about the no sugar has got my mind thinking. I haven't started the effexor yet,still not sold on it yet. anyway thanks for listening.....skeeter1

Jo-Ann
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 829
   Posted 6/20/2005 7:37 PM (GMT -7)   
There are many women on this board that take an antidepressant. In fact, mine were first prescribed at time of dx in 1-96 and I still take them. The onc said it was a rol med. They have made a big difference for me and you can tell when I miss a few doses. I started on Effexor and then that was changed when my husband passed away in 2000.

Jo-Ann
A good friend will bail you out of jail...
but a true friend will be sitting
next to you saying,
"Dâmn... that was fun!".


debbiR
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 6/20/2005 10:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi! First, don't feel that you are by yourself in what you have been feeling and experiencing. We have all been there. Please start the meds that your onco prescribed. Trust us when we say that they work. Once you get them into your system, you will find that your sleeping will improve as well as your emotions. Some of the emotional ups and downs that you are experiencing are from your chemo and surgery. Don't be afraid to cry or yell or scream or throw something. (the shower or car's a great place to do this) yeah Have you asked your onco for something to help you sleep? I am surprised that he/she hasn't already given a prescription for this. I take ambien when I am having problems sleeping. I don't take them every night. Remember that your body has been through a great deal in the past few months. Don't be ashamed to rest. It is what you need to help heal both emotionally and physically. If you think that you are leaning on your fiance too much, then why not ask him? I am sure that he will tell you that you aren't but by asking this might relieve some of the tension that you are feeling. Let the ones that care about you help. Also remember, you need to tell your family and friends what you need. They won't be able to know otherwise.
 
Call a girlfriend and go out for brunch and do a little light shopping. Don't overdo but just getting out of the house is a big emotional boost. Go on a special date one evening. Get plenty of rest beforehand so that you and your fiance can enjoy the evening.
 
Please continue to post here. We will be here to help you thru this journey.
 
Hugs...Deb
 


gma
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 6/21/2005 7:51 AM (GMT -7)   
Boy you have gotten a wealth of info from those with experience in this department. I have none so all I will say is to remind you that antidepressants do not work immediately, it takes time, sometimes over a week or two. Once they start working you will feel better and then be tempted to forget taking them. The residual will carry you and then all of a sudden you will crash. I have seen this in a good friend who suffers from depression that has nothing to do with cancer, but she hates to take medicine and she would stop or forget as soon as she was feeling normal again. Take your medicine. Hang in there and stick with us, everyone will help all they can. There isn't anything that someone hasn't experienced here. Hugs Mary K. MK


tking
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2004
Total Posts : 141
   Posted 6/21/2005 8:09 AM (GMT -7)   

I agree.  Take your meds - at least give it a month.  If you don't notice a difference then gradually quit taking them.  I can promise you that they helped me a lot and yes you can tell if I quit.  I tried that but the hot flashes alone were enough to make me hurt someone, anyone.  So, listen to the doc and try it.

Also, take care of yourself, rest and spend time with good friends.   AND a Hot Fudge Sundae always helps!!! yeah    I'm telling you, chocolate is the best medicine.......


Teresa King

Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

(NIV)


skeeter1
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 6/21/2005 9:12 AM (GMT -7)   
I started the effexor this morning. I think if I hadn't talked with all of you yesterday I would have tried it. I understand it takes awhile to get into your system so guess after a week I should feel better right? I'm not to sure about taking it long term, and the idea that I can crash kinda bugs me, but I will give it a try and see if it helps. Thank you all for listening and giving me wonderful advise. Today I woke up feeling better. You all have given me alot of food for thought. I think I have felt so out of control since the diagnosis of BC. The chemo and surgery has been out of my control too. Now that I only have radiation left I feel like I can get control in my life back. I don't feel so all alone anymore either its nice to know if things are bothering me or have questions I can turn here for the answers. (thank you ) I took your advise about going out and this afternoon I am going shopping for a little bit with my college daughter. She is always very busy with school and working but I took your advise and told her I needed to get out and asked if she could make time for a little shopping with me and she said yes. I do have one question does anyone know how long it takes to get your hair back. it has been a month since my last chemo and I only see little fuzzies. not much. uummm also I need more advise on high protein foods. I did gain about 10 pounds since chemo and surgery which is ok but I don't want to gain anymore. my fiancee is gone this week on business trip but I have talked with him on the phone and told him all about this forum and all the wonderful advise you have given me. He is glad that I found it. it has opened up alot of conversation with us and starting to help us too..... thank you .....skeeter1

debbiR
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 6/21/2005 10:44 AM (GMT -7)   

Sounds as though you are making some good decisions. I hope that you have a good time shopping with you dd today. Just one thing...remember that each person's body is different and reacts differently to drugs. It make take more than a week for you to notice any changes in the way that you feel from the antidepressant. So be patient. Give them some time.

Hugs..Deb


 


gma
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 6/21/2005 5:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey skeeter, it is great you feel we are helping. Please stick around and before long you will be helping others, too, and that will also make you feel much better. Shopping is our favorite therapy around here. Do we know where you are located? You know it is just possible one of us could be near by and could meet for lunch. That is always fun. We have group get togethers about once a year, too. We are talking about having one in Cleveland, OH area in October. We have met in St. Louis, Myrtle Beach, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Louisville in big group meetings, then there are areas where several live close and they have lunch occasionally. Tonight one of the girls from Washinton State who is traveling in CA is going to meet with two of the CA girls. Did you read the Roll Call and see where some of us live? I live near Fort Worth, TX. Jo-Ann is north of Dallas. She comes over to my house every couple of months if we can manage it and we have several days of running around, eating out and doing things we enjoy like a jigsaw puzzle. We often laugh because we are really a diverse group as to age, economic state, education, etc. and probably under no circumstances would we have ever even met but here we are all close breast friends. There are also some pictures to see in the roll call. Hugs Mary K. MK for short


coopfesta
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2003
Total Posts : 1373
   Posted 6/21/2005 6:37 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi:
 
I got hot flashes and night sweats with chemo, too.  I didn't go into permanent menopause (I was diagnosed at 38). 
 
I take vitamin E at night, before going to bed, my onc cleared it for me, and it does wonders!  Really diminishes the night sweats
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." -Confucius

Ellen


skeeter1
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 6/22/2005 10:06 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey MK I put my information on roll call, but I really don't think anyone lives close to me. Gosh Ellen I saw your note on vitamin E. You said it did wonders. yesterday I started on my Effexor. I really am not sold on taking it. Now I wonder if I should go off the Effexor and take Vit E for a while to see if it works. I got so bad hot flashes the other night I couldn't sleep, but I do get sad and think that is probably normal. What are your thoughts on this. Of coarse I would clear it with my onc. I have only had two doses of effexor so think I could easly quit! Anyone have any thoughts on this on what is the best road to take??? confused

debbiR
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 6/22/2005 10:11 AM (GMT -7)   

I would give the Effexor a chance. It has worked for many of us with good results. If you are second guessing your onco, then I think you should sit down and have a good talk with him/her. Have your onco explain why this was prescriped to you, along w/ your other meds. If you have questions, get answers. The vit E didn't do anything for me. Each person's body is different and reacts differently to meds. Be patient if you decide to continue w/ the Effexor. It will take a couple of weeks to begin to do its job. Remember what your body has been through and all of the harsh drugs that it has in it.

Deb


 


gma
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 6/23/2005 2:58 PM (GMT -7)   
OK Skeeter, I tried three times to post a new post to you (and it would not submit) to say Welcome and you are right. No one lives near you. LOL You are out in God's country!! We do have a breast friend in North Dakota! Possibly she is nearest?? Or would you be nearer to IN or IL? I visited Lincoln, Nebraska many years ago. My DH was in the Navy and we met a couple from there and stayed overnight with them on our way across the US to Bremerton WA.

I don't know why but we do not get many women from the center of the US. We seem to have cluster groups from NY/NJ, OH, IN, MI, KY, NC, VA, WA. CA and TX. Oh dear did I leave someplace out?

Anyhow we will do our best to keep you company from wherever we are. You sound like you will fit right in here. Make yourself at home and speak your piece. LOL

Hugs MK


Jean in WA
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 43
   Posted 6/24/2005 10:28 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Skeeter,
I haven't been on-line this week, so I missed saying hello. But, HELLO!! Everyone is right...we have all been through this and are doing well now, so your good times are just ahead! I didn't have to have chemo, so I can't know what you have gone through. It must be very difficult to have been cast into menapause so suddenly. But, be sure to follow your doctor's advise, get LOTS of rest, and concentrate on getting well. I felt rather lazy for some time, until my physical therapist told me, "This is your job right now, to take care of yourself and not worry about the house needing to be cleaned or the laundry that needs to be done.." She was right, and when I learned to let others help me, my whole outlook changed. I finished radiation one month ago today and I am feeling just about like my old self again!

Just a quick word on the Vitamin E. You said you are going to be doing radiation next. My radiation oncologist asked me not to take Vitamin E orally while on radiation. It is an antioxident and they just are not sure what affect it will have on the potentcy of the treatments. Be sure to ask before taking it.

Remember, we are here to support you, so don't hesitate to write.

Take care, Jean in WA

skeeter1
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 6/24/2005 1:35 PM (GMT -7)   

thanks for the advise about radiology tx and vit E. I thought about it and decided to continue on the effexor and I am working on my attitude. I think its helping. I seem to have more energy now. Oh and I also bought some almonds and walnut for snacks to boost my energy. Things are starting to full into place for me now. I just can't help but feel I pass on hurtle only to find another one, but starting to understand I do have more control in my life then I thought and thats a good feeling.

I had my first visit with the radiologist yesterday. I will 33 treatments. They will start on 5th July. I get my mapping on 30th. He told me I could have the tatoo or ink markings. I am not sure which way to go any thoughts on this??? They gave me a prescription for radio-plex ( think that is the name of it) to put on after Tx to prevent burns. They said not to use ice packs afterwards may make me burn more. I still have alot of swelling in my axillary area from my lymphnodes being removed and its been almost 3 weeks. They removed 4 oz today. My radiologist says the treatments will not increase the swelling there and my nurse practioner says it can, so now I'm not sure which one to believe and hope the swelling goes down before I have my treatments. Getting tired again with Tx is kind of a bummer too!! needless to say I am alittle apprehensive about the treatments and the side effects and hoping I won't have bad burns and lymphoma ect....

I'm probably two states away the breast friends either way from North Dakota or IN, IL yes I am in GOD'S country huh!! lol. So glad I found you guys, being able to speak my piece here has helped me. Wish there were more breast friends here in Central US.

 


Jean in WA
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 43
   Posted 6/24/2005 4:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi again Skeeter,
After what you have already been through, radiation will be a breeze!! Really! The people at the Cancer Centers are all so loving and caring, and you will be amazed at quickly the 6 1/2 weeks goes by. Try to get to know some of the other patients whom you will meet there. We got to where we looked forward to seeing one another each day, and would check on how we were feeling, and giving support to each other.

The simulation before the actual treatments begin is to prepare for your exact positioning on the table. Here, I was actually molded into a "cradle" that fit my body. Then when you go in each day, you lie in the cradle and it holds you in the perfect position. The mapping I had done with tattoos, although they also used pens periodically. The tattoos hurt for just a moment...I got four, on the perimeter of my radiation site. Be sure to remove the ink makings before you get dressed each day (unless they tell you not to!) so they don't stain your clothing.

If you are having problems with mobility and range of motion in your arm, do ask your surgeon for a referral to a physical and/or occupational therapist. I could not have gotten through this whole process without them. They taught me exercises to minimize the chances of getting lymphodema, and helped me to regain most of my range of motion. Also, to get into position for the simulation, you must be able to raise your arm above your head. Without their help, I never would have made it.

Glad to see are going to eat healthy...my motto for getting through just about everything, Eat healthy, exercise daily, and rely on your support people. You will do great...just remember, this is a temporary problem that will be behind you soon.

Sending love and hugs to you.
Take care, Jean in WA

JUJU8872
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 6/24/2005 4:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Skeeter, I am fortunate enough to have had no swelling or fluid after surgery. Swelling of the arm, lymphadema, can come with radiation per my rad onc. I do not know about the anxillary node area. Regardless. my rad onc sent me to a "lymphadema clinic" to prevent lymphadema. The clinic teaches a self massage technique and measured me for a compression sleeve as a precaution.

As far as hair growing back, I wonder, too. Hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes came out twice.

I have my 12th Placitaxel Monday. Mapping is 12th of July, so you are a little ahead of me on the treatment schedule.

As for protein, I read labels. Pita bread has about 4 grams of protein in each, eggs are a little rich in protein also. All meat has protein, but you have to pay attention to the quantity since you want to maintain weight. As for me I have actually lost about 10 pounds, but I eliminated sugar in December when I was diagnosed.

JuJu

lemonz
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1090
   Posted 6/24/2005 5:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Ok I am keeping this simple. Hi I am Joyce and wanted to say a lot more but posting is a problem so I am keeping this short. I wrote three replys to you and lost them. I have a friend that said all the meds in the world could not keep her from wanting to wring the necks of her ducks when she started feeling like that. Then she quit her meds and started chasing her ducks and realized the meds did help. She went back into the house and took her meds. Her Lenny and Luci and Donald and Daisy are still alive thanks to better living through chemistry. Hugs and a smile Joyce
How wonderful it would be to see Angels where there are only clouds. How sad it would be to see clouds where there are Angels.
 
 


skeeter1
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 6/27/2005 9:04 AM (GMT -7)   

Well, I am very happy to say the swelling in my axillary area has finally gone down. I did my exercise and maintained my full range of motion to my arm. yeah  

Joyce, that was a very cute posting about the duck and very meaningful. Thanks I enjoyed it. Sorry you had such a hard time posting the other day I really don't know why that happened.

JuJu, sounds like we are close to the same schedule with treatment but was very surprise to hear you took 12 treatments of taxol? I only had 4 treatments of taxol and 4 treatments of A/C. How many radiation tx's will you have? I looked on the roll call to see if I could find out more about your dx and see how close we were to treatments but was unable to find it.

Jean, your advise about radiation tx was very helpful. I have thought about it and think I will have them use the ink instead of the tatooing. Not sure I want permanent markings on my chest, is there any reason later on I would regret not using the tatoo (that I am not aware of)? Not really looking forward to the tx's but know once I get them done, all my treatments will be over and hopefully I can look forward to being cancer free. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

I am getting fine hair back now but not much and its been a little over a month since my last treatment does anyone have any idea when the hair starts to come back? I enjoy reading the messages on this forum and have learned a lot already. There were so many good responses. Thanks..... Gonna jet ............skeeter1


babyseeester
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 826
   Posted 6/27/2005 10:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Skeeter,
 
I don't think the tatoos are an option.  I got 3 and they still mark me with pen, which I need to leave on so they know I'm in the right position.  I don't have a cradle, like Jean mentioned.  I am starting my 4th week of rads and it is a breeze, compared to chemo.  My skin is getting a little red, but after this week, I'm taking a week off for a vacation that was planned months ago and the rad onc said that was perfect timing.  Then once I'm back, I have a few more treatments and then the boost. 
 
Good luck and keep posting.
L & H,
Kathy


JUJU8872
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 6/27/2005 7:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Skeeter, I had 4 tri-weekly AC treatments and 12 weekly Taxol treatments, My doctor believes that the smaller treatments are more tolerable than the larger Taxol ones and the effect is the same, I have had some trouble this last month -- fatigue for first 2 weeks in June - never really had before, and have not gotten strength back completely --- metallic and salty taste, food is awful -- last week diarrhea for Wednesday and today extreme cramps and diarrhea. Since this was the last treatment I won't complain. My rads start mapping on the 12th I will have 28 treatments with 5 boosts. I will have a craddle.
 
I have not done the Roll Call yet - I want to finish everything first. My dx was originally mucinous carcinoma. After the surgery, I believe the diagnosis was invasive carcinoma - very aggressive with mucin, lobellar and another type. My doctor called it an adneocarcinoma. I have 5 lymph nodes of 15.
 
Doing Well  now though.
 
JUJU

JUJU8872
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 6/28/2005 8:59 AM (GMT -7)   

Skeeter, I am 58 and I live in Alabama. I have a sister who had breast cancer 6 years ago. Still clear. I had a maternal aunt who died with breast cancer, a great aunt who died with ovarian cancer, her daughter, my 2nd cousin, had breast cancer at 36, and finally a third cousin, my age, died of breast cancer at 54. Spookie, huh? My doctor started me on Paxil for hot flashes and it really works, but I do not believe mine are as bad as yours.

JuJu

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