Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Case for HRT

Some of you will not be interested in this, so you may be excused.

To make a longer story shorter, start with the fact that Donica and I have both had complete hysterectomies. Translation: early/rapid menopause! We both immediately went on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), popping the Premarin pill (estrogen only) every day.

Then came the Freak-Out over HRT: the risk of breast cancer, heart attacks, strokes, etc. The early tests seemed to indicate a higher incidence/risk for just about everything. You name it.

So we both stopped. End of story, right?

Wrong! All these years later, I recently went through a slew of tests, including a total-hormones blood test, and found out all my hormones are not only low but abnormally low. The low end of Estrogen, for example, is 24 (24 what, I don't know), and mine was 10. The neurologist said she wanted it to be 80 (80 what, I don't know).

Also, my muscle mass was weak. Important point for one who travels around with heavy suitcases/backpacks all the time!

So anyway, after finding out that new tests are reassessing the Freak-Out over HRT (not nearly as much risk as they initially thought), and after back-n-forths trying to make sense out of it, the doctor suggested I take Estratest, which is for Estrogen AND the smallest dose of Testosterone. (Both she and Donica assured me the latter would not give me unwanted hair!)

When I asked what all those women used to do before HRT, she said, "They died younger and they didn't have careers!"

Now here's the clincher, in case I needed to be convinced (and I did): guess who makes Estratest! Yup! And because Donica works for them, guess how much it costs me! Yup! The pharmist said: "You must have pretty good insurance to have it come up at $0."

So now you know why I'll probably be a bit perkier in the days to come. HA! Now, if we can get Donica to get her mammogram done, maybe she can go on it as well (she drags way too many suitcases/backpacks/brief cases around!). The one concern for her is that breast cancer IS in her family. And that DOES make her more susceptible to the risks. The question is, however, if the benefits far outweigh the risks. Maybe?

WTMI, I know, but I did excuse you, remember?

On Friday I get on a train to go visit Astrid who lives in Arkel, Holland! Another blogger friend from my other blog, Shutterchance, who has also crossed over to here. :)


  1. This is an interesting coincidence because I just finished reading the book The Female Brain, which talks a lot about hormones in general, and HRT, especially the recent reassessment. I hope you've done your research on testosterone. It won't give you unwanted hair but it does have other (some would say beneficial) side effects to be aware of.

  2. That's really interesting. I've suspected for years that my hormones are unbalanced. I wonder if I get enough estrogen myself. Well, have a nice day and enjoy your Solvey:D

  3. Karen: As with so many things, assessments on controversial drugs seem to change all the time! In the end, it's like you have to make up your own mind. Yes, I've done my research on testosterone. It's given the lowest dose in Estratest (2.5) as compared to the combination in Premarin, which is (10). That was the clincher for me.

    Swedehart: Maybe it runs in the family???

  4. Can you give me an advice? You know my age? LOL.

    You are forgiven. But why so concerned? Most accidents happens at home. And you are not that often there - right?

    PS. We are soon leavinf for Argentina. To day, our old Windows are to be replaced with new ones. It's a terrible noise from the machinery. But I have to stay here during the work. To take care of the scared cats.

  5. Well I do hope things work out for you medication wise/health wise...

    I'm really happy that you will be meeting another blogger person! Very cool. I can't wait to see what Arkel is about.

  6. That's interesting, Ginnie, Thank you for paving the way for us young 'uns! Please both of you take care :)

  7. If menopause was a part of men's health concerns, all this would have been researched and worked out long ago. Take Donica's hand and walk her to the mammography dept. A good friend of mine has just been diagnosed with a late stage rare type of Breast cancer and I have issues there too. Woman's health problems do not have the research and weight placed upon them as there should be. Makes me angry! Mary MacAdnski

  8. It's all such a mystery, and we can only do the best we can with these decisions. I am so happy you have the prospect of more energy, etc.!

    Have a blast with Astrid today! She is so sweet! I can't wait to hear about it.

    I'm sorry things have been so hectic here. The weekend should be relaxing, and I hope to catch up on email and blogworld. :)

    I love you.

  9. Interesting observations. And also interesting that you mentioned Premarin... have you ever thought of the origins of that name?
    PRE = pregnant
    MAR = mare
    IN = Urine
    yes, it's made from pregnant mare urine.
    My DIL (The Equestrienne) has a beautiful horse who is the daughter of one of the preg mares. These mares are kept pregnant year after year and the urine is harvested (the poor horses are kept in stalls where they can hardly move) and of course the unwanted by-product is a foal every year. Most foals meet a fate at the slaughterhouse but some of the lucky ones get adopted and our beautiful Maeve is one of them. I'll have to do a blogpost about her soon.
    Meanwhile ... I'm back from Florida, and it's COOOOOLLLLDDD here, I want to go back to the beach and the palm trees. Thanks for sticking with my blog while I didn't have internet access, I should be back to normal now. Florida pics being posted in a day or two.

  10. we women and our complex constitution!!! phew!!!!

  11. Tor: HA! We are 2 old geezers, let's face it. :) LOL about most accidents happening at home. Good thing I'm NOT there that often.

    ET: Thank you kindly! Wasn't able to show you Arkel yet but maybe another time.

    RRD: HA! It may come sooner than you think, Stacey. :)

    Mary: Don't even get me started!!! But you are ever so right. Thanks for the reminder.

    Ruth: Decisions, decisions. I think we need to take some of the medical world into our own hands!!! As you now by now, Astrid and I DID have a blast.

    Ex-S: Ohhhhh. What a thought and YOU have the power and good fortune to be part of the salvation. Thanks for sharing this!

    Moi: HA! Isn't that the truth. How did we ever get to be this old in History!!!