Tuesday, July 19, 2011


The past few weeks has been quite a "BALLOTABLE" time period. ( I'm now using this word to describe ups and downs, or periods of mixed or unsteady emotions.) Last week I blogged about my toenail while I was processing the situation.

I'll start with my last Doctor's appointment/Herceptin chemo treatment 3 weeks ago.  At that visit the doctor started me on the Tamoxifen. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamoxifen. Short exerpt from the blog that week:

 I am scheduled to be on this drug for 5 years. Sounds overwhelming, especially when the doctor and the pharmacist review the side effects…” some people just don’t feel good…” said the doctor. “Like what”, I said… ”well, it could be a whole host of things…you’d have to go to the PDR (Physician’s Desk Reference) to see them all”, he says…”Greeaat”, I thought to myself. Of particular note is the possible WORSENING HOT FLASHES, Increased Risk for Blood clots and therefore possible pulmonary embolism which could lead to death, increased risk of endometriosis and endometrial…you guessed it…CANCER.

Due to the above, i began to have some severe anxiety about taking this drug, and i did what I have kept myself from doing for the past 7 months, or so.......GOOGLING!  I continued to become increasingly upset about the cancer risk and the worsening hot flashes, especially in the light that my previously HORRENDOUS HOT FLASHES had pretty much subsided.  Due to this stopping of the HHFs, i figured that  i was now POST Menapausal.  This assumption heightened my skepticism about the Tamoxifen being the right drug for me.   I also began to think about how, up to this point, all of the chemo drugs (toxins) i had taken so far had been administered by someone else.  I've mentioned many times before that I've had an extreme aversion reaction to the chemo drugs and the cancer treatment building.  While i understand on one level that these drugs (were and) are saving my life, there is just an animal instinct that  i have that tells me it is NOT good for me.  But, for those drugs there were appointments, doctors, nurses, and family and friends,  all there supporting this act of me taking these drugs.  This time, i began to realize, it would be up to me to administer this "toxin", all on my own and i just wasn't sure i could do it.  I decided to take a week to think about the drug and to try calling the oncologists office to get some more encouragement to go ahead and take the drug.  During this "break" week, i began feeling not only anxioius, but also very randomly emotional.  This emotionality was upsetting me and confusing me at the same time.  Considering the cancer and everything, i've been surprisingly, and notedly level (even keel, if you will) emotionally for the past 9 months.  My severe HOT flashes had replaced any emotional ups and downs i MIGHT have had in years past.   But, my hot flashes had diminished drastically since the end of radiation, and I was actually starting to feel a bit more normal with increased energy levels at times due to slowly rising blood counts.  So, why now, have i thought to myself for the first time in over 9 months..."Does HE (Richie) REALLY love me".  It had all been so clear, and i'd believed it without a doubt for the past 9 months that he DID. On the second night of having this thought of doubt creep into my head, i woke in the middle of the night crying.  VERY odd.  I can't really even remember the last time i cried. (Oh, yes.  I did cry the night before my mastectomy.) Probably about 1/2 of you have already figured out where this is headed.  YES.  The morning after i woke crying, I was gushingly informed that I was PRE-MENAPAUSAL AGAIN!! DAMN IT!!!  It now all made sense.  The increased anxiety, the emotional lability, and later that evening, my moment of creative genius which borne unto it a new spectacular dessert that i named "caudled chocolate".   

It's as if i've been given a looking glass (what is that anyway?) that has allowed me to see the menstrual cycle from both sides.  It's almost creepy.  It's like a Twilight Zone Episode.  A woman moves in and out of inexplicable emotional zones.  A given scene plays out over and again with different emotional angles, or, emotional stability, portrayed.  The emotional stability zone (Menapause) teaches her how to better view and understand the other zones when she returns.

Back to Ballotable.   My menstural Cycle bounced back, and I, of course, had MIXED feelings about it.  Part of me felt good to be home again, part of me was/is very frightened that these hormones that we've spent the better part of the past year killing, are back, and part of me is upset that now i'll have to go through the Menapause Again....very possibly on a continual basis for the next 5 years.

Now, back up to today.  I'm back to the GawdAwful Place (GAP for those who follow closely).  Things went well today.  The nurse practitioner was not upset that my period started.  She was happy with the range of motion I'd gained in my arm.  My white cell counts are back to normal range and my reds are getting closer.  I've been taking the Tamoxifen for about 2 weeks and seem to be "tolerating" it OK so far.   I discussed my plans to run a 50 miler in March with the Nurse Practioner in order to make sure that she did not think it would be a problem medically and she said it would be fine.  I said,  "I know it seems a bit extreme, but, it's just that these were my plans prior to breast cancer".  She said ... "I expected nothing less from you". :)

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