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Old 12-13-2014, 09:06 AM   #23
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rhondalea's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Somerset, NJ
Posts: 487
Re: Any advice for Hot Flashes after chemo?

I wanted to revive this thread for the conversation that occurred at the end, and then I realized I could also be topical.

First, the topical. I never really went through menopause. My last period started the day I started chemo. I never had another period after that. I've never had a hot flash or any other symptom that would normally be attributed to menopause. I was just pre- and then I was post-.

Now that my brain is better, I realize that all along, I have taken pine bark, which, when processed in a specific way and patented, is known as Pycnogenol®. Here's an abstract. I tried to get the study, but when I clicked the link, it wasn't where it was supposed to be, so I'll keep trying.

What's nice about pine bark/Pycnogenol® is that it's not a phytoestrogen, so it's safe for those of us with hormone receptive positive cancers.

I take the Vitacost pine bark. Two capsules a day. I've never actually tried Pycnogenol® so I don't know if it is more effective. What I'm using has been plenty effective for me.

Now, to the next thing. I had a bad PAP in June, so I had to go back for a follow-up. It was fine--most likely the bad result was because I am dry like the Sahara. So I asked the doctor what to do. We went over the non-starters again, and then the light bulb went off (in her head, not mine). She gave me a sample of something called Luvena (Laclede, Inc., creator of Biotene, which is now owned by GSK). Turned out that the sample box was empty (ha, ha), so I gritted my teeth and bought a package.

Recommended dosing is every 3 days but the disclaimer is that if that's too much, you can lengthen the time. I use it every 5 days. The applicator is ridiculous, and I have no idea why they made it that way. It's best applied at night when you're already lying down and not planning to get up, but you should wear a panty liner to bed, because even then, it leaks a bit. (If you stand up, it's a mess.)

The FDA is now after Laclede for labeling violations. Go FDA. <sigh>

There are also sharks in the water:

With full disclosure done, this stuff really works. It's like being normal again. No discomfort, and none of the yuck factor of Replens. (I told my doctor that Replens claims the discharge is old vaginal lining and that it will eventually stop. She just shook her head.)

Luvena is not cheap--I paid $21 at Walgreens for a box of six applicators. When I got home, I googled. The best price is available at$15.99. If you order 3, you get free shipping. If you put it on auto-order (which I did), you get a 10% discount on subsequent orders. I think it's worth buying a box at retail to see if it works first, though.

You can also buy it direct. Here's the website with more information and a "Buy Now!" link at the bottom. They offer free shipping, but the price is higher ($19.99) than (still cheaper than retail).

The doctor also gave me a sample of the wipes. Don't waste your money.

2/6/09 Core needle biopsy: negative; Mammos through 2010: no change
3/30/11 Pea-sized lump in left breast at site of prior biopsy; mammo negative, sonogram not so much
4/14/11 Core needle biopsy: negative for cancer
5/18/11 Excisional biopsy 1.2 cm tumor, LVI, positive margin; ER+60%,PR+20%,HER2/CEP17 5
6/15/11 BMX: Left DCIS & LH; Right ADH; SNB: 2/3 nodes: 1.4 cm and 1 mm; ALND L1&2: 0/10; Stage IIa, Grade 3
7/14/11 CT/Bone scans NED; MUGA 66%
7/19/11 Biweekly dd AC w/Neulasta; done 8/30/11
9/13/11 Transfusion (Hemoglobin 8.6); MUGA 64%
9/20/11 Start Taxol + Herceptin; Taxol done 12/6/2011; continue Herceptin until 9/4/2012
12/27/11 Radiation - 6 weeks; 2/27/2012 - DONE! Yayyyy!
2/29/12 Start Tamoxifen 20 mg/day; continue until 2/28/17
5/16/12 Start five-years Metformin trial
6/19/12 MUGA 61%
8/21/12 Brain MRI NED (head still hurts, brain still fogged)
9/4/12 Herceptin done!
9/6/12 Port out!
7/11/13 Aricept 5mg for cognitive impairment; increased to 10mg as of 8/23/13; back to 5mg 12/2013
5/2014 Add Namenda 7mg
9/2014 Stop Aricept and Namenda; Neuropsychological evaluation
10/24/14 Start cognitive rehabilitation therapy
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