I believe that knowledge is power. I also believe that having a clear understanding of what you’re up against can also help take some of the fear away. While the situation may be less than pleasant, at least if I have an understanding of the ins and outs, I can consciously make a plan and choose how I want to deal with it.
I had a couple of really bad weeks where my body just hurt, non-stop. The only relief I found was with pain medication. Between hot flashes and muscle and joint pain, sleeping was a challenge. I literally couldn’t roll over in bed. My head and neck could not find a comfortable position and my low back was flared up and angry. Getting out of bed in the morning was a painful experience as well. My first couple of steps were intense, as my feet and ankles protested quite loudly. My knees felt stiff and that made getting up the stairs a slow, crusty process.
It took pain meds and 30 minutes before I felt relief from whatever was gripping and ripping my body. At the two week mark I decided to contact the cancer centre and schedule a time with the nurse to discuss options other than Tamoxifen. I also decided that we needed a new bed. Cheryl thought our very awesome mattress of 12 years was still good, and it is, for a healthier body, but for a compromised body, it feels like I am sleeping in a hammock. I am doing everything I can proactively, to develop a relationship with Tamoxifen.
I met with the nurse yesterday and learned a little more about the hormone part of this journey. Being premenopausal, the options other than Tamoxifen aren’t really viable for me. My breast cancer is considered “high” ER+ which means Tamoxifen does the best job. If I wanted to change hormone drugs, it would mean either getting my ovaries removed or get monthly shots that would basically fry my ovaries. So, Tamoxifen it is!
I thanked the nurse for taking the time to run through the how’s and why’s with me. Now when I feel the darkness of Shade slipping in and causing me doubt about this drug, I have some knowledge to help me stand back and allow Blaze to bring things back into perspective. For example, Shade is convinced that the drug companies just want to make money while Blaze knows that science and research have given women like me the chance at a longer life.
I had an eye opener yesterday.
I was working on this post when I learned some news about a friend who has been going through this journey almost parallel to mine. She too has stage II breast cancer and began her climb a month ahead of me. This wonderful warrior just learned that her breast cancer has spread to her brain. The fighter in her is digging in, and preparing for the next battle round with strength and fortitude. I can only imagine what is going through her mind. She is facing the worst case scenario, that every woman who is on this journey has been fighting to avoid, which is hearing the word metastasized.
Here I was, writing a post about being on a drug that is causing me issues and my questioning if I really need to be on it, while my friend is now facing THE climb of her life. I’m sure if I asked her, she would take any drug, no matter how many hot flashes and how much weight gain, and memory issues it created. That could easily be me facing the same fate. I decided in that moment to embrace Tamoxifen and be thankful for every day that I get to wake up and be a part of this crazy, wonderful world.