Friday, July 16, 2010

Bottoms up! Faslodex

The new regimen of treatment for me is Faslodex injections once a month and Zometa IVs once every three months. Last month I had my "loading dose" of Faslodex (fulvestrant).

Faslodex is an injection which is used to treat cancer in hormone receptor positive women who have not responded to (or have had their case worsen) with other treatments, such as tamoxifen, or in my case, Arimidex. Faslodex is an estrogen receptor antagonist which prevents the cancer from being able to use the body's hormones to grow. It is only used in menopausal women and is NOT chemotherapy.

It is administered as an injection in the "buttocks" as the material so nicely describes it. There are very few side effects, other than packing a substantial whallop to your wallet. Well...relatively minor ones. The most common is an "injection site reaction."

Last month, I received a "loading dose" (basically twice the dose I will normally have), one shot in each "cheek" so to speak. The needles were a pleasure after getting used to the chemotherapy needles I have been using for so long. What did amaze me is the size and variation in color of the bruise which I had by the time I went to bed. Imagine yellows, to magenta, to dark "blue"....all in one fairly large spot. The spot was also hard and warm to the touch for about 10 days. The second week, I could still feel the lump but by then, the swelling had gone down and the area well...itched. Not exactly a ladylike spot to relieve the sensation.

Today, I got my second dose. When I went in, the nurse had two syringes ready....TWO? I asked about this because it was my second dose, and I thought I was done with the loading doses. She had wondered the same thing and had asked my oncologist before she came into the room with me. So, she decided it was worth asking again as I had understood that I was only getting one shot today.

She came back saying that recent information indicated that the "loading dose" should be administered for a longer period to have the greatest amount of efficacy. This news made me feel really great. Why? Well, it indicated that my doc keeps up on the latest information. Cancer treatment is changing....and rapidly. I'm grateful that I have someone who keeps up on what might be best for me.

I said something to the nurse about hoping this will work...her comment was that lots of people have lived a long time with good results on this drug. I'm just hoping I'm one of them.


  1. Our Kate has finished chemotherapy and is now on Herceptin, an estrogen inhibitor, every three weeks for a year. Tuesday she has a lumpectomy and a few lymphnodes will be removed for examination. The results will determine the next step in her treatment. I also hope this drug is successful for you.

  2. Glad to hear it! I hope she does well, so many people do. I remember being a little upset that I didn't qualify for Herceptin--I wanted another arrow in my arsenal, and at the time, there wasn't much else.

    One word of caution, if no one else has said this or not, make sure that she has loose, button down shirts to wear after the lumpectomy. She will have a drain and won't be able to lift that arm up above her head for a while, so button downs are easier. I had basically none in my closet and had to borrow them!

    Make sure that she is aware of the exercises to do and as soon as the doc gives her the go ahead, have her do them. Women who don't have a tendency to lose mobility in the affected arm.

  3. Hey there -- good to hear that the doc's up on all the latest. Sorry to hear about the bum bruise ... what a pain in the ass that must be! Here's to it all working exactly as planned!

    Sorry I missed you on your visit here, but it's good that I stayed home. Morgan doesn't have a sleeve fracture, but the MRI did reveal she did some damage to the tendon. We're hoping more time in the splint and intense physical therapy (that can't start for two more weeks -- she still needs to rest it!) will keep us out of the operating suite.

  4. Just found your blog. And glad I did. Sister is stage IV. Diagnosed in Sept. of 09 w/mets to nodes, liver, and bones. After 4 rounds of a "red devil" cuncoction. PET was clear but one spot on bone. Started on arimidex, then had full hysterectomy, then put on tamoxifin, but next PET showed many more new mets. Is now taking taxol and avastin. Last weeks tumor markers were up and liver enzymes were off. Feel helpless, and it seems like the dr.s are not reacting quick enough. Anyways, you encouraged me.

  5. Glad you found me, Lisa....My whole point in starting this blog over a year ago was to give some people some hope and perspective...

    Cancer is a bumpy journey. I hope the best for your sister. I'm assuming that the "red devil" is CAF, which I too had. I hope that you are in an area of good docs, and that she can ask questions. Sometimes getting a second opinion, or even asking if there is some trials she can participate in might help. Many, Many hugs. My thoughts are with you.

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