I have to admit, I’ve been planning the title of this post for several weeks, ever since I last saw my oncologist we decided to get me started on Zoladex. The title was supposed to be, Zoladex Is A Pain In The Ass, but it can’t be anymore. I’ll explain why.
Zoladex is a drug administered by monthly injection and in combination with Tamoxifen in premenopausal women, lowers the risk of recurrence when diagnosed with early stage, hormone positive breast cancer. It is an ovarian suppressor so it stop the ovaries (or lowers) production of estrogen. This will put me in complete menopause.
My oncologist has been bringing up this drug to me for over six months now and I have been very resistant. “Why,” I asked on many occasions,”do I need to do something else? Why do I need to put another drug in my body? Haven’t I done enough?” It was really that last question I was asking. “Haven’t I done enough?” Why isn’t a mastectomy, chemotherapy, herceptin, radiation and tamoxifen enough to keep my cancer at bay?
The answer she gave me is that Zoladex is one more thing that can help prevent recurrence. While it doesn’t improve my chances a huge amount, my oncologist feels that the benefit it is statistically significant in women who were diagnosed under the age of 35 (I was 37 so, close enough) when in combination with all of the treatment I have had. It took a long time for me to come to the conclusion to try it but I promised my son that I would do everything…EVERYTHING…to make sure this cancer never happens again. So, I need to at least try it.
I had heard that there is a “technique” for administering the injection so I was very curious about that, so I asked my oncologist. Her reply was, “How graphic do you want me to get? Are you sure you want to know?” I felt the blood leave my head but I said that I’m not good with surprises and that I’d rather know than be caught off guard. So she informed me.
WARNING: If you do not want to know how this is done, stop reading now. I acknowledge that this information is not helpful for all.
“Well, it’s a big needle. A really big needle. Whatever you do, don’t look at it. Because it’s a big needle, after sticking it in the skin it needs to be twisted. Then we inject the liquid which is more vicious that others. It is going to hurt but only going in. And when it’s done, it’s done. That’s it. And we inject it into your backside.”
My ass!!!! MY ASS!!!! They wanted to stick a huge needle into my ass?
Hence, the title I’ve been planning for weeks. Zoladex Is A Pain In The Ass.
But, yesterday, when I got the injection, I was informed I was going to get it in my belly and not my bum. “Are you sure,” I asked my nurse? She was positive. I was simultaneously elated and disappointed; elated because I got to keep my pants up and avoid the humiliation of getting a shot in the ass but, disappointed because what was the title of this post going to be?
I informed my nurse, Nina my chemo nurse, of course, that I didn’t want to see the needle. She agreed it was not a good idea. But let me tell you what I did see. The box!!!! I saw the box the needle came in.
I am of the belief that anything that is going to enter your body in any way while you are still conscious should not come in a box that size. I started to sweat. I wasn’t sure I could do it. But amazing Nina kept me talking (probably so I wouldn’t faint), sprayed some numbing solution on my skin and did it.
It didn’t hurt. Maybe a slight pinch but that’s nothing. And it was done in seconds. In fact, it hurt more after (a little soreness) than actually getting the injection. It was done. Now I just have to see if I get any side effects…more hot flashes, night sweats, that sort of thing.
I had been psyching myself out for weeks over this injection. In my mind, the needle looked something like this.
Or worse, this one.
My imagination really got the best of me. I’m still happy that I was prepared for what was coming. If I had seen that box and didn’t know what was in store, I think I would have flipped out.
It’s also ironic that I started this new treatment on the anniversary of my last chemo treatment. I can’t believe that one year ago, I said goodbye to chemotherapy (hopefully) forever! What’s amazing to me is how quickly this year has gone by. From the time I was diagnosed and throughout treatment, it felt like the world stopped turning and I was stuck in time. And since then the world has been spinning uncontrollably forward. This is good in the sense that I have been getting back to normal life, to the best of my ability. But it’s also had me scrambling to catch up. More on that in another post.
But today, I want to celebrate how far I’ve come. Even though I’m starting a new treatment and I don’t know what the side effects will be like, I have to remain hopeful. I have to trust that it’s one more thing keeping me safe. It’s one more thing ensuring that I see my son graduate college, get married and have his own children. And for that, you can stick any size needle into me whenever you want (not really but yes really).