tamoxifen girl: life marches on

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.

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About carla

Writer, blogger, photographer, breast cancer survivor. I write about whatever strikes my fancy as I meander through life.
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4 Responses to tamoxifen girl: life marches on

  1. Maureen says:

    I feel like the song, ” I’m hot then I’m cold… ” Keep the faith. You are doing great.

  2. jelebelle says:

    You get to complain & have fearful days and still keep your positive credo. You and your body are lovely for enduring this crazy ride. hugs.

  3. you really did have a stream of consciesness ( ?sp) going today – I just wanted to jump in on one thing – the leg cramps. With my fibromyalgia, I am in constant pain and huge sleep disturbances, because of the latter, I had to undergo a sleep study. Turned out I also have RLS (restless leg syndrome) so now i take an additional med that really helps with the leg pain. When the sleep doc looked at my study, she said – “don’t your legs hurt?” of course they hurt, I have FMS. The RLS is a great contributor to the leg pain, If I hadn’t had the sleep study I would have just continued thinking that the leg pain was from the FMS ( and sometimes it is).
    You are alwas in my prayers.
    maureen

  4. Robin says:

    Hi- I surfed in after searching for ‘radiation tired’- cause… yea. I’m bloody tired and wanted to see how others were dealing with the effects of radiation. I’ve got 10 more rounds left and holy cow- I’m freaky tired!

    And I get to start Tamoxifen once I’m done with this- yay?

    I’m bookmarking your blog- you’re about 6 months ahead of me treatment wise and it’s really helpful to get a glimpse of what might be coming up for me. Commenting because chemo tipped me into early menopause and the hotflashes waking me up was super annoying. My oncologist put me on Gabapentin- 1 capsule at night. It really helped with not being woken up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. Might be worth checking out. At least for me, it was a big help.

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