Sunday, August 1

It's been a long week.

I've got no art for you yet - nadda.  I'm going to keep trying, pulling out the materials, but the pain I've been having in my hands has nearly immobilized my thumbs, and they just plain hurt.  The computer isn't much easier...

I'm beginning to understand, more fully, the impact of a breast cancer diagnosis - long term.  Sensing that "normal" is a thing of the past.  The daily reminders of meds and tiny black tattoos redefine "normalcy".

Because I was not menopausal when this all happened, I will now have to take Tamoxifen for the next several years.  This stops my body from absorbing the estrogen that the kind of tumor I had feeds on.  Tests show that I have a higher chance of recurrence than the average, and it's important that my body isn't a tumor friendly environment.  As my oncologist has put it, the Tamoxifen is as important, if not more important than the chemo was.  So I started it.

Here's a partial list of side effects:
  • hot flashes (check)
  • night sweats (check)
  • insomnia (check)
  • skin & nail dryness/cracking (check)
  • tiredness (double check!)
  • body aches (check)
  • bone, joint pain (check)
  • swelling in hands and feet (check)
  • depression, mood swings (uh-huh)
  • head aches (yup)
  • thinning hair (hahahaha)
  • weight gain (woo hooo, so far, nope)
More serious side effects include an increased incidence of liver cancer, uterine cancer, blood clots, and the scary list goes on, so let's not go there!
Then there is the one you don't really see listed much, because it isn't as common, but ever since I've been taking it I've had stomach aches, and by midday last Sunday, the pain was pretty bad, and by Monday I couldn't stand up straight...  and after a visit to the hospital triage nurse after radiation, I was taken off the Tamoxifen, for the time being. I'm enjoying the time off, as many of the side effects have already diminished.  I'll have to see a gastroenterologist this coming week, and hope for some help with gut protection - but this gut doesn't want any of it, I gotta tell you.  My gut is tired of processing any, and all of this. 
I wanna lie on the floor kicking my feet in the middle of the doctors office and throw a tantrum.  My coping skills seem to have diminished to the level of a two year old.  Thankfully, like a two year old, once the outburst has passed, so has the feeling of frustration and I'm ready to move on. To the next frustration!!
After making this analogy, the good ol' universe delivered a family as neighbors to my paper thin hotel walls.  A two (or so) year old.  I've gotten to hear for myself the ups and downs, from delight to despair in the blink of an eye.  I still haven't seen this child, only have heard her/him?!  But I've fallen completely in love with the hysterically giggling being over there!  And the munchkin voice.  I am grateful for my night time sound machine though :)

Another treat from the week came last night, after dinner.  My husband and I took a stroll around the town of Tarrytown after dinner, and came upon this sweet offering.  A wishing tree, with supplied tags and pen for filling out and hanging your wish.  I left mine, and know it's coming true as I write. 
My goal for the week ahead is to choose differently.  To choose not to stress over stuff out of my hands; stuff I can leave in other's hands; stuff that really just doesn't matter in the scheme of things, but I've been elevating to high priority.   
It's a beautiful Sunday, and I'm going to go spend some time in the garden.  How about you?


  1. i send you some wind from my sunday.

  2. you are so beautiful--

    going through hell and writing a funny post, making me laugh again and again with joy.

    I too am "re-aquainted" with a two year old and have thrown a few tantrums (was that Really me) since my brother passed this year. My family still teases me about one :episode: lol--since i am usually easy goin... but things do get set into new perspective sometimes. The bull-shit meter can't take the senseless stuff anymore.

    that two year old sounds like a gift across the walls; my ten month old nephew has been such a smile sower its amazing to have him around.

    this morning i have been watching a fine mist of white/gray rain move across river/yard and sometimes if lucky a lash of wind throws it into the sunporch and i get a mist; to cool after the hellish heat of july.

    be "cool" etc...

  3. Karin- that post was LOADED! Ouch! Side effects of medication sound just like what I experienced after hysterectomy- sudden and instant menopause-Takes some getting used to.So sorry you are all buggered up...dang! If thoughts could heal- you would be well!

  4. This is a beautiful heart wrenching post--that is honest, and bold. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing on such a deep level.

  5. I love your sense of humor and the candid posts!

    Sending blessings and energy!

  6. Oh, you ... You're reminding me of Renee with your wit, your magical way of seeing things, your brushes with two-year-old ways of being!

    A thought: Whenever our world is turned upside down / inside out by something as all-encompassing as a cancer diagnosis, we regress ... Survival is at stake and we feel so utterly vulnerable and unknowing ... and at the mercy of huge powers ... No wonder we feel young and wildly moody and all over the place ... There's a part of you, I imagine, that just wants MOMMY --> a mothering presence; a soothing and constant embrace ...

    I'm sending you that right now, beloved friend. Gentle arms around you and healing hands on the places that hurt ... A friendly arm to brush up against as you take your walks ... Another set of wonder-full eyes that see whimsy, beauty and the generation of goodness (like that wishing tree!) ...

    I love you xoxoxoxoxxoxoxoxoxox

  7. dont know what to say! get out your magic wand and say "begone" !I firmly believe that all physicians are sadists in disguise! tell them to do something for your thumbs so you can do something to distract from all the pain! lots of hugs, lyle

  8. You have a right to shout and scream and throw tantrums. People take medication that is supposed to be good for one thing and ends up being so very bad for other things. I have you in my mind Karin and I send you good thoughts. I hope that whatever wish you made on that tree comes true for you. Today when I go outside, I will hang a wish for you on one of my trees, perhaps the peach tree so that you start feeling peachy keen. Honestly though, my prayers are with you. Good Sunday to you in the garden.

  9. En France, on prend le tamoxifène en deux doses, ce qui pour moi a facilité les choses car sinon j'avais de fortes douleurs articulaires.
    J'espère que tu comprends le français. Bises.

  10. I can only imagine the difficulties you are going through, but I think that we can always draw out something good or something to learn from our experiences, good and bad. Hang in there and I hope at least blogging helps to push out some frustrations :) We're here to listen!

  11. Hey K
    I know that your Muse hears you say "My goal for the week ahead is to choose differently. To choose not to stress over stuff out of my hands; stuff I can leave in other's hands; stuff that really just doesn't matter in the scheme of things".

    The wish tree is a wonderful gift to us all ...and I visualize your wishes coming true ;-)

    huge cyber hugs darlin' K

  12. Thank you for sharing this post with us. You have a great spirit through these difficult times. The side effects really suck. I wish you weren't having to go through all this. I would write a wish for you too for the wish tree. My prayers are with you!!

  13. What a poignant post of your suffering and the feelings throughout your body. I'm just recovering from brain surgery from a brain abscess - and as i read your treatment and symptoms, they are the same as mine, i get antibiotics from a central line twice a day, am on steroids and tons of anti seizure meds and drug reaction meds- am bloated like a huge ball as well. I feel though that this was a miracle experience for me- and despite the daily hell, i am blessed to be alive and here- and feel so connected to all. What a gift to read about the wishing tree in tarrytown. I can't drive now, but if I could, would love to see the area. Seth Apter and I did a gorilla project through Grrrl and made similar tags on a tree that we decorated. I go for my f/u mri today and per your beautiful words, i am choosing to make a healing wish tag for myself that all is wonderful. unending hugs for your spirit, your strength and how you've shared your soul to touch me so.

  14. Karin, my wish is that I could take away your pain, and the pain of others I love. I think I'll start a wishing tree of my own. My second wish is that you know how much you inspire everyone who knows you. "... to choose not to stress over stuff out of my hands..." If you can attempt to do that in your situation, then maybe even I can adopt that attitude. And given the circumstances, I don't think throwing a fit like a two-year-old is such a bad thing, either! Much love and healing wishes to you.

  15. If I was in your position I would be wanting to throw a major tantrum, that's for sure. In fact I can feel my blood beginning to boil in sympathy....... and then there's the wishing tree .... and I am calmed. Sending love and more love.

  16. I'll take some of that wind Valerie :)

    Oh thank you Mansuetude! I know that "is that really me?!" feeling for sure. I have this observer self part of me just looking on slowly shaking her head back and forth with a half smile patiently waiting for the fit to pass... but yes, it shakes things up and settles them down. and my little friend next door has now come and gone, never seen, only heard.
    mmm, my favorite kind of weather - that misty gray magic...

    Hi Linda Sue, thank you - I'm sure your thoughts are helping my healing! and commiseration doesn't hurt!! xox

    You are welcome Patricia, and thank you for your words.

    thanks Magnolia :)

    Oh, you honor me Jaliya, with a comparison to our dear Renee... You're probably right - I thought I was just regressing due to fuming frustration hitting me again and again and again!! in which case, I find throwing a fit much more satisfying than loving arms - ha!! No patience for soothing, but once I calm down, I'll take that in my loving friend. xoxoxoxo

    Ha! I sometimes agree Lyle :) at least it can feel like that. I'm probably going to get some cortisone injections for these thumbs, until I can have the necessary surgery...

    Dear Gloria, thank you so much. Your words have touched me, and I love the idea of your hanging a wish on your peach tree for me!! xoxox

    Hi Paola, Merci, j'ai utilisé un traducteur :) je l'avais pris deux fois par jour, mais ai toujours eu les effets secondaires. Je devine que je juste dois l'attendre dehors… J'espère ce des tranlates correctement!

    Yes, I agree, in the long run Linda. In the midst of suffering it's good for me to just get through the suffering and feel it in it's fullness, not necessarily look for the good in it. I trust that that will come. Like in the form of a wishing tree, or laughing two year old!! And seeing how I can choose my reactions to my circumstances...

    Hey Donna, yes, just by writing it I felt the shift happening :) xoxoxo

    You're welcome Manon, thank you for your good wishes and supportive prayers!

    Hi Jill, thank you for sharing some of your story here - your story is amazing. I too feel my process has been miraculous, in the way that my cancer was found completely by chance. I remember reading about the wishing tree on Seth's page!! I didn't know who his partner in creativity was, so it's good to meet you :) I will be keeping good thoughts for you and your MRI, and will leave you a wish on the wishing tree this week when I'm back in town!!

    Hi Sharmon, yes, wouldn't a magical wand be fun to have - to wave above our loved ones?! but in the mean time the choosing thing is the next best thing!! along with a tantrum on the side :) love to you, too K

    Hi Robyn, that's just what it's been like - up and down, boil and calm, fury and laughter... ahhh life. much love, Karin

  17. Love that wish tree - hoping that your wish comes true xxxx

  18. I think temper tantrums are perfectly acceptable... especially at 57... no one seems to expect it!!!
    love the wishing tree and I KNOW your wish is true NOW..xoxox

  19. ya know it's good to scream every now and then
    it chases away the crap that seems to stick in the corners

    what a wonderful tree

    happy thoughts and prayers to ya

    don't worry bout us, we got your back

  20. bloody hell fire that's a lot of toxic stuff to deal with! Sometimes letting your frustrations out IS the only way. Much love as always

  21. loved the wishing tree !!! and i'm glad there is that kid shouting for you too. I had to smile with the way you make your side effects list ( i'm sorry for all those difficulties).

    Let your 2year old kid to express herself. I trust our inner kid they know the way...

    take care
    love you xoxo
    you are in my prayers


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