Tuesday, March 4, 2014


After menopause, my doctor suggested phytoestrogens (plant estrogen) for hot flashes and various other problems.  I put flax seed on my cereal, I bought soy milk by half gallons. At work (no lunch break) I had a soy bar for lunch and one later.  When my employer went out of business, when I moved in with a friend, even when I came to another state to stay with my family - year after year soy and flax were my staff of life during changing cuisine.  

And let's admit this: the phytoestrogens may help us look like we're taking an elixir of youth.

Then, that call back for more mammograms.  DCIS.  I was overwhelmed, but not so overwhelmed that I couldn't read my pathology report:  the abnormal cells were nourished by estrogen.   

The famous hospital literature seemed in conflict on the phytoestrogens - pro or con.  I started tapering off. Stopped flax, cut down on soy.  Got constipated, had more trouble with my sinuses, gained weight.  Finally, as I feared, the medical oncologist said "If it says soy, run."

When diagnosed, women already had a medical situation even if we were eating healthy food every day.  A doctor in spine rehab said I was probably the healthiest one there because most of my meds were not prescriptions.  So what!  I needed my OTC stuff including allergy meds, generic Benadryl for sleep with nerves damaged by the spine injury.  And there's the GERD list that forbids everything one would want to eat, even most fruit. 

That part of life goes on. But now it goes on without the forbidden soy, and without diphenhydramine (Benadryl), which interferes with Tamoxifen.  And in a new place, with new doctors, how in the world do you know which problems are due to no soy and new medicine and which aren't?

My 11th day on Tamoxifen pauses for an hour so I can shop for something, anything without soy. There is only so much celery and chicken one woman can eat.

And I'm afraid I'll start looking 92 instead of never mind how old I already am.  Afraid of marching into a job interview alive, but looking like I won't be for long.

Yes, I am incredibly grateful for my cure and the fabulous medical people involved.  No, tamoxifen did not cause my problems. Yes, I'm grateful for these preventive pills.

And now I'm a split personality (insert smileface) living with my usual health picture while happily Cured! of DCIS and almost able to forget about possible Tamoxifen side effects.  

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