Different Hormone Medication Experiences

Last updated: September 2023

One of the first lines of defense for my type of cancer is a monthly shot in both butt cheeks.

Doesn't that sound lovely?

Monthly injections

It includes a beautiful "loading" period, where I have to get it every 2 weeks for 3 times before I can move on to monthly injections. It's all so fun and fresh!

Okay, it really isn't, you got me there, but it's fun to joke about sometimes! Humor is one of my best coping mechanisms, after all.

I was on this injection for about a year, and it truly sucked. My side effects might not sound like much, but they were for me, and I'm so glad I'm on a different medication now (which I will explain later in this piece).

My experiences with fulvestrant

So, let's talk about fulvestrant (Faslodex®). Every month after the loading period, I go to the clinic and get the butt shots. These are supposed to help block estrogen production throughout the body, not just around the ovaries. My cancer feeds off the estrogen in my body, so this is one of the many meds I can use to help block out estrogen.

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Major side effects

I am not a doctor, but I can share my thoughts and how fulvestrant affected me. Throughout my experience on this specific medication, I had MAJOR hot flashes. I'm talking sweaty-all-the-time hot flashes. They were INTENSE around the injection times and lasted almost the entire 28-day cycle.

After my injections, I also had mood swings wildly similar to PMS (premenstrual syndrome). I would have very high highs and intense lows. It was difficult for me and my partner to navigate because I no longer have periods due to my ovaries being gone.

The last thing that got to me, and something I don't hear others talk about, is the drug's odor while it passes through my system. Right after my injections, I would have that "fulvestrant smell" for about a week, making me so self-conscious.

Trying a different medication

After dealing with all that fun stuff for about a year, I sought a different avenue. I was getting ready to travel the western half of the U.S. for quite a few weeks, and I did not want to have to deal with going to injection clinics every month on top of lining up blood work on the road. I had never been put on an aromatase inhibitor before, as I was on tamoxifen for the longest time, so I was lucky enough to try that out.

Dealing with joint pain

What a GAME CHANGER! I feel like I have evened out the most in the past few months that I have been on this medication. I no longer have intense mood swings or those hot flashes from hell, and I don't deal with the smell anymore.

The only problem I consistently experience while on this particular medication is joint pain. That side effect can be tricky because every day is an adventure. I love finding new ways to move my body that are helpful to me, though, and everything has been far more manageable thus far.

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