Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Time Will Tell
My day to day life goes on, normal on the outside for the most part, and sometimes confused on the inside. Outside of the reconstruction process, the part of this journey that is at the forefront of my mind these days is hormone levels. I knew going into chemotherapy that my chances were 50/50 of going into premature menopause. I also knew that the younger you are going into chemotherapy, the greater your chances were of surviving with your hormone functions intact. I knew I was strong physically, emotionally, mentally, and truly believed I would be fine.

At my first follow-up appointment with my oncologist in December, it seemed that my hormone levels were rather low indicating a perimenopausal or menopausal state. At the time I didn’t feel that this was an accurate diagnosis because hypothyroidism often has similar symptoms and my thyroid condition was not stable. We decided to check the levels again in three months (next month).

Most women, when they get this news at the normal age range, are fine with menopause. It often explains erratic symptoms for which there is an end in sight. For me it has somehow taken me back a step or two. Early menopause has certain risks such as osteoporosis. It also closes the door to other avenues for me. Even though it is not completely clear whether I am in menopause or not, I have noticed some symptoms that may be connected. But then again, it can still be related to the hypothyroid situation as well.

There is a lot going through my mind with this right now and as I learn more, I am certain I will share more. I have thyroid tests in the next couple of weeks and oncology follow up in the next month. I look forward to more definite answers so I can stop fretting and just address it and move on. The interesting part of this journey is that during treatment everything is so focused on being positive and strong to fight the battle -- very single-minded with clear direction. After treatment there are so many questions and there is no clear direction.

Is the cancer gone? What are the chances of recurrence? Will the tingling in my feet go away? Will the black marks on my toenails go away? Was there any permanent nerve damage? Will these new breasts ever feel normal? How long before my hair grows back? Will these scars ever fade? Even though things appear normal, how long before it feels normal?
Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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