Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Soy, Estrogen, Hot Flashes

Finally heard from the oncology nurse regarding taking low dose Premarin for my heat waves. Even though my tumor was not fueled by estrogen (ER negative), the Oncologist does not recommend any type of systemic estrogen. The oncologist would approve Estring, stating that a little estrogen would pass into the system from the vagina.

I asked about using over the counter Estroven. The nurse couldn't find on the internet the mg of phytoestrogens that are in Estroven and suggested that I speak with the pharmacist. Nurse Leslie said it was okay to consume soy-based foods, such as tofu, a few times a week, but not to consume soy supplements. After doing a little research, I now read that flax seeds aren't the best. But earlier research indicated that women should drink green tea and sprinkle flax seed on yogurt or salads, etc.

After disconnecting the call with the nurse, I was immediately mad and sad. I wanted to sit down and just cry. My first thought was, "Damn this cancer! Why does it continue to wreck havoc!?" I'm not sure why the emotions have been high these past few weeks. I find myself crying when driviing home from work. Soon I hope to have the light bulb moment that will shine on what is bothering me.

It's over 100 degrees in the Seattle area and it is miserable. Thank goodness for Ambien! We are taking a cold shower before bed, putting a wrapped ice pack on our bodies, laying spread-eagle in bed with a fan blowing . . . . waiting for that Ambien to kick in.

At least with this heat, I can't blame the sweating on hot flashes!!

~Renee



6 comments:

  1. Renee,
    In years to come, the doctors will have all the answers to cancer but at this moment in time, they just dont know and have to be cautious. Its hard for us. My cancer is fuelled by oestrogen and progesterone and is HER2 pos. Aggressive and a big chance of it coming back especially as I am only 42. All we can do is accept what is and enjoy life. The hot sweats are horrible adn I live in a cool climate! 16 degrees this morning! (and that is warm for us. My friends mum used to freeze sheets before bed time, or try using a water spray.

    Things will get better, continue to blog about them though cos it helps!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Renee,
    In years to come, the doctors will have all the answers to cancer but at this moment in time, they just dont know and have to be cautious. Its hard for us. My cancer is fuelled by oestrogen and progesterone and is HER2 pos. Aggressive and a big chance of it coming back especially as I am only 42. All we can do is accept what is and enjoy life. The hot sweats are horrible adn I live in a cool climate! 16 degrees this morning! (and that is warm for us. My friends mum used to freeze sheets before bed time, or try using a water spray.

    Things will get better, continue to blog about them though cos it helps!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Renee
    I was on Prem-Pro right before cancerfest and threw it away the day I found out about the tumor. As a triple neg, I know estrogens don't fuel our tumors but it is not clear if they hadn't initiated them in the first place. I know of lots of people on aromatase inhibitors for their estrogen fueled cancer and those really cause lots of misery so I guess we should be glad to avoid them. Since I ended the prem-pro so abruptly, I get hot flashes occasionally but less and less often. Hopefully when Seattle's heat wave goes away, the flashes won't be so bothersome.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Renee,

    The hotflashes and the heat sound like a really bad combination. I am so sorry to hear about that. I am a triple neg girl and halfway through cheme I think I'm starting to get those hotflashes, myself. They are no fun at all.

    As for the emotional struggle you're going through, just remember that you are dealing with a serious illness here. It's a lot to bear on the best of days, so you're entitled to being as emotional as you want every now and then.

    Cancer sucks, particularly TNBC as it's so aggressive, and it does affect our lives in so many ways and for so many years after we've dealt with the disease's initial onslaught. So I think we have a right to be upset about that.

    So no wonder you get sad... My guess is the hotflashes remind you that you're in menopause -- where you might not be if it weren't for the cancer. That's a big deal, and yet another loss cancer brings with it. We need to mourn what cancer takes from us, I believe.

    In any case, you are a very strong woman. And all strong women are allowed to be weak and vulnerable sometimes. So don't feel bad about that.

    As for the hotflashes, keep bugging the doctors and nurses for help in dealing with them. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? Why not ask your ob/gyn for suggestions, or an alternative health care practicioner? Maybe your cancer center has a nutritioninst on staff who could suggest dietary changes that might help? Just a few ideas.

    In any case, I just wanted you to know that I feel for you. Hang on in there, girl!!! It's just another little 'afterbump' on your road...

    Be cool -- and take care.

    ReplyDelete
  5. One thing that has really helped my hot flashes (esp. right after chemo) is the ChiliPad. It's a mattress pad that comes in all sizes - and you use it to change the temperature of your bed. It has a big range (from 46 - 118 degrees, I think). It's been such a relief to have a cool place to lie down. I got the one with two different zones which lets my husband sleep in a warmer temperature than I do. Hope this helps!

    ReplyDelete
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