Hot Stuff

Some of you may know the feeling….your face starts to feel hot, the feeling spreads to your chest, and then you start to sweat. You are having a hot flash!

Most women go through menopause naturally, and experience hot flashes gradually. Some women will be forced into menopause due to surgery or chemotherapy, which can bring on hot flashes instantly. Women who take medications to prevent recurrence of breast cancer have the worst hot flashes known to womankind! I know this personally, and so do many of my friends.

You may have heard of the drug, Tamoxifen. This was the first drug I took after chemo to prevent a cancer recurrence. I woke up the same time every night sweating, and hot as hell. I was up for a while after having the hot flash, or what some like to call night sweats. I had a hard time falling back to sleep. During the day, I had around 50 hot flashes a day. I kid you not! I asked my oncologist to take me off Tamoxifen.

I tried two different drugs known as aromatase inhibitors, which work differently then Tamoxifen. Tomoxifen blocks estrogen in the body. Some breast cancers are estrogen receptive, meaning the cancer feeds off the estrogen.

Aromatase inhibitors stop an enzyme called aromatase from changing other hormones into estrogen, lowering estrogen levels in the body (source: American Cancer Society).

I tried Femarra first. I still had hot flashes day and night, and terrible joint pain. Next, was Aromasin. Same side effects as the Femarra, but more tolerable.

After three years on these drugs, my body was adjusting nicely, and the hot flashes started to subside, especially during the day. Happy, happy, joy, joy!
Well, that didn’t last long.

Once I started chemotherapy again, those nasty flashes came back with a vengeance. Ugh! I am now taking a drug called Faslodex, for my anti-estrogen therapy. I thought the hot flashes and night sweats were pretty awful when I was on the previous medications. They are no match compared to the Faslodex.

My oncologist tells me the hot flashes are a good thing. It means my body is metabolizing the medication. This makes me feel better about being on Faslodex.

I am pretty fortunate to have warning signs (sometimes) before a hot flash begins. I will get very thirsty, or I will feel very nervous. Then, FOOSH…..that damn hot feeling begins and the sweating starts . Sometimes my face and chest will turn a lovely shade of red.

There are some meds available for patients with estrogen receptive positive breast cancer. Most are anti-depressants. I tried one a few years back. I am a happy, hyper, outgoing person. When I started the drug, it changed my personality. I stayed on it for three days. That was enough.

Whether you get hot flashes naturally, or due to medications or surgery, they are a pain the ass. They interrupt our sleep, make us change our clothing and makes us feel uncomfortable around others.

If you would like to share how you control your hot flashes, I and I am sure others would be very interested.

For me, I always make sure to have a nice iced cold water with lemon with me at all times. At bed time, I sleep with the central AC, a ceiling fan and a table fan on my night stand next to my iced water. Even with all that I still wake up hot and sweaty.

Covers on, covers off……the story of my night life!

Sleep well, my friends, and stay cool.

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4 thoughts on “Hot Stuff

  1. I have been dealing with hot flashes and night sweats myself. I don’t have an effective way of dealing with them, though. I just wait them out. But I have been doing the covers on/covers off routine as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After chemo put me into menopause, the hot flashes started and have pretty much stayed with me. I can tell now when I’m about to get one. I have found that deep breathing helps to relax me and tends to make the hot flash less severe. I also know that 30 minutes after taking a shower (including a freezing cold one) will trigger a hot flash, although I cannot figure out why.

    My husband has gotten used to many blankets, as I sleep with AC on and a large fan in front of AC to blow the cold air right at me. In the winter, heat is shut off in bedroom, sometimes window is open but a fan is always blowing at me.

    If anyone knows a cure, I’d love to hear it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lisa, I have read that deep breathing can help during a hot flash. Happy to hear it helps you to relax.
      Many friends have told me they get hot flashes after showering (myself included). Hmmmm…..there must be a reason if this happens to so many women.
      I am still waiting to hear if anyone has a cure. I will be most happy to share!

      Like

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