It has been 6 months now since my last chemotherapy. My hair is coming in nicely. It came back in brown and curly! As it gets long enough to style, my hair stylist will no doubt create something fun and easy to manage. In the meantime, when Cheryl had her last hair cut, David took 10 minutes to etch some designs along the sides and back of my hair. Doing this took the heavy fuzzy wings out, and I had a daring and fun look for a few weeks! I loved it!
My eyelashes and eyebrows have been very slow at coming back. It’s amazing how a lack of these two things can really alter a persons look. My eyelashes appear to be coming in very light in colour. Hopefully in time, they too make a full recovery.
I still have chemo fatigue. It is miles better than it was a few months ago, but it is still there. Basically, it feels like my body just runs out of oxygen. When I have accidentally pushed myself to this point, it takes a couple of days of dedicated rest to recover. In general, I’m not napping in the day anymore, but I am lights out by 8:00 and need a good 10 hours sleep. Now, I should clarify, that 10 hours isn’t all sleep. I wish it was, perhaps my body would feel better, but a lot of the night is disrupted with tamoxifen induced hot flashes. My covers alternate between getting kicked off with extreme heat and sweating, then pulled back on because of cold and shivering. This gong show happens a dozen or more times a night. I really hope this will get better in time because when I get back to work I will need a solid sleep, so I can get up early enough to do my morning routine before getting out the door for 8:00am.
Being chronically exhausted is one thing, the biggest challenge I currently face every day is body pain. Seeing this has gotten worse over the last month, I am going to blame Tamoxifen, not chemo. My muscles and joints are so stiff, I look like the Tin Man from The Wizard Of Oz getting out of bed in the morning. Instead of a few shots of oil, it takes a pain and muscle relaxant, and 15 minutes, before I can move. (This is a routine that is NOT sustainable. I’m just saying.) Once the pain settles down, I do stretches and some strength training to help keep strong and maintain the integrity of my body. Some days it feels like an uphill battle, but at least I am keeping my feet moving forward. For the record, my 100 year old Granny moved better than I am right now!
I have considered trying to counter balance the tamoxifen with MSM, Chondroitin and Glucosamine. My concern is they may have their own set of side effects and interactions. I was healthy and drug free before this journey and I was really looking at not having to take counterbalancing meds or supplements, it’s a can of worms that I don’t want to open.
I am really trying to have a relationship with Tamoxifen, but if my hot flashes and body pain don’t settle down by the time I see the Oncologist in six weeks, we will have to come up with a plan B. I want to do everything I can to help keep this genetic mutation from forming new cancer cells, but I also want to live a healthy, vibrant life.