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?