As I was sitting here finishing up my entry into the 2012 Note & Words Essay Contest and the phone rang.
It’s one of my gals, and not with happy news. Added bonus? Both bits of unhappiness have to do with breast cancer.
First comes the news that a mother of a mutual friend is in the hospital in some coma-like state. This older lady has metastatic breast cancer. She fell or something and ended up in the hospital, and it’s pretty grim right now. This is the woman’s second round with breast cancer. This is so sad, and her family waits and prays.
Second comes the news that another woman we know has been diagnosed with breast cancer. My friend doesn’t know if she has been staged yet, or what is going on, and well that freaks me out a bit. Another woman in my area, in close proximity to me with breast cancer. What is it about the area in which I live?
And here I am, taking it day by day, one step at a time. Damn it, will I always fear the specter of breast cancer that always seems to hover not so far away?
I wonder if the emotional roller coaster aspect of breast cancer will ever truly fade, or will it just abate to consistently manageable levels?
I am starting to sleep a little better a little more consistently. I am not certain if my sleep patterns will be moderately or massively inconsistent throughout my five years of Tamoxifen and chemically induced menopause. Some days I honestly feel tired all day long. And when I go to sleep, I often wake up flashing. Getting back to sleep from there is not the same, and never really deep enough.
In addition to the hot flashes and sleepus interruptus, there are the inexplicable leg aches. I don’t know how else to describe it. On Tamoxifen I am fighting my moods and my darn weight again. I feel like such an unattractive blob some days. I met a woman at that event I photographed yesterday who told me her mother was a survivor and had done five years with Tamoxifen. She said that the first couple of years her mother often did the strip around the house because of the hot flashes.
And oh yes, let us not forget that some days my left breast where the tumor came out just hurts. Not only is it lop-sided, but yep, some days it hurts – little darty aches that are damn annoying.
I understand all of the above is normal, but hell, it still doesn’t feel normal to me. Nor do I want it to remain normal. Yes, another common compliant of the breast cancer survivor: new normal is not the old normal and while some of the new normal ain’t bad and we’re all trying to be healthier, this new normal can pretty much suck some days.
I have traveled so far, yet the journey is not yet so old that I can leave it in my rear view mirror. So when I hear of people dying of breast cancer, and being diagnosed with breast cancer I find myself at emotional sixes and sevens as a result….and that messes with my be positive credo.
Meanwhile, back on the sidelines cheering me on is the most awesome sweet man imaginable. He and the kid have developed a very amusing soft shoe of dealing with my hot flashes: they literally blow on me. It makes me giggle.
I just had a hot flash. It felt like my back was glowing and then my face. Is this my reward in life for not being particularly crampy? I haven’t had a period now since October. I have also had a couple inexplicable allergic reactions to I am not sure what.
What other fun facts do you want to know? Truthfully, I am a little anxious about the next round of doctors appointments. I want to NOT have breast cancer again, ya know?
I think this is enough of a flowing stream of consciousness for one day.
Tamoxifen girl out.