Wednesday, September 4, 2019

9 month update


Is it just me, or are the times in this country just getting heavier and heavier? The recent shootings in Texas, the situation at the border, all of it has me feeling pretty down. But I honestly have to ask "Is it just me?" fairly often, thanks to having started Tamoxifen three weeks ago.

I was more worried about starting Tamoxifen than about doing chemotherapy, if you can believe that! I had read so many horror stories online, and I personally know someone who's been on it who struggled with emotional mood swings and just feeling run down all the time. But I knew I had to give it a try - I had the option to take it the first time I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I didn't, and the cancer came back. To me, that was good enough reason to try it.

I've had numerous side effects, some common, some not so common. Hot flashes, although they're not as bad as I experience on chemo. Achiness, but that was more within the first few days, and it has since subsided. Clouded vision, dry eyes, and eye pain, which is worrisome, as my vision was already affected by chemo. Extreme fatigue, which thankfully is helped by staying active and moderate exercise. I'm thirsty all the time, which is good since I drink more water now. I also struggle with dizziness and brain fog which comes and goes - I don't get it every day, and when I do get it, it passes after 1-3 hours. But while it's on it is so hard to concentrate and I make silly mistakes and can't think clearly. Sleep disturbances - I'll wake 3-4 times a night, wide awake, and have trouble falling asleep again - but again, this is helped by exercise.

And last, but not least, the mood swings. The best way to put it is that I feel extremely emotional, almost all the time. I was always teary eyed in sentimental scenes and sad commercials - now I have tears running down my face. Thoughts and memories at random also make me want to cry. I do my best to talk myself through it, so I'm not a mess in public. I've also experienced moments of depression, that thankfully pass, but when they pass I am amazed at how low I felt.

So, I now understand why Tamoxifen gets such a bad rap! I'm going to do my best to stick it out at least six months before I decide what to do next.

Also, I'm trying to see the positive side of being on a medication that makes me unusually emotional - I find myself remembering things from my childhood, and experiencing the emotions I felt at that time, all over again. It is fascinating, as these are sense memories I thought I had lost. And maybe being so emotional is helping me emotionally connect to others in my life? I hope so.

I hope everyone is doing well, and thanks to those who read these updates - I hope they are helpful to you in some way!