Half-life

Hormones

Today I saw the Doc again.  And as always it was a real pleasure.  I do love this man.  Officially, it was to review my lacy bones.  My DEXA scan of a few weeks ago showed that all is stable – neither worse nor better, which given the bone leaching properties of Aromatase Inhibitors is good news indeed.

Of course, a general review was undertaken and on being asked how I was, I promptly burst into tears.  Not my finest moment.  I have been really struggling with side effects from the Exemestane.  My sleep is rubbish.  I am woken several times a night by muscle cramps and joint pain.  The joint pain is so bad that there are days when it is hard to physically get out of bed.  Kneeling down is something I have been avoiding as much as possible because hauling myself back up again is extremely tricky.  I am hideously weepy (see above for classic example!) and the fatigue is overwhelming much of the time.  And everything has dried up.  And I mean EVERYTHING!  My skin, eyes (now need drops), vagina (thinking of renaming that the Sahara).

I have had some success in tackling many of these symptoms myself.  My joint pain has improved since I’ve been taking Glucosamine 1500mg and Chondrointin-Sulphate 1200mg a day based on this study. Thanks to Liz O’Riordan’s blog, I have now been prescribed Yes Vaginal Moisturiser which is a massive help.  However, despite this, things have remained pretty grim.  Since arriving back in our land based home, It has felt like I am living something of a half life, with fatigue, lack of sleep and joint pain controlling everything I do.

The Doc went through everything.  Having tackled my symptoms we then looked at my prognosis which given that I have had both surgery and chemotherapy is pretty good, despite an Oncotype Score of 28 and a grade 3 tumour on biopsy.  The hormonal therapy does make a difference, but there comes a point when quality of life has to be taken into consideration.  But I do not know how you say no to something that has a proven ability to elongate your life.

For now, the Doc has suggested I take a break.  My hormone therapy is to be packed up until after Christmas in the hope that I will get some respite from the relentlessness of hideosity I have been experiencing.  I will then see him in early January and will start on Tamoxifen, with a side order of Venlafaxine or Amitriptyline if necessary.

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Levels of Whelm

overwhelmed

Hello again.  Did you miss me?  You just knew that I could not shut up for long though, didn’t you?  It appears I need this blog more than I thought.  Recently I have read a couple of other blog posts (here and here) on post treatment life which greatly encouraged me.  I am not alone and that is really rather lovely.  Thank you Sue & Laura ❤

I have decided this Return to ‘Normal’ Life is overrated.  I seem to run better at the 2.3 miles per hour life on the canal afforded me.  Since arriving back on dry land exactly 2 weeks ago I have been brought face to face with just how knackering everyday life is.  Granted I have had my Mum with me since she has been recovering from cataract surgery.  And that has involved trips to and from Oopnorthshire a couple of times.  But even so.

Life post chemo/cancer treatment should not be about constantly avoiding one weepy outburst or another.  And yet that is what seems to be happening of late.  I am only ever one tissue away from becoming totally overwhelmed.  I know this means I am too tired but managing that is not something I am doing very well at.  Apologies to all and any who have been on the receiving end of one of my episodes.  I think, basically, I should not be allowed out.  Or allowed in.  I think I should probably be confined in a darkened room, though that is worryingly appealing …

Thanks to Exemestane, every night’s sleep is broken multiple times which makes me think I never sleep deeply.  Then again, it may not be the drugs, it may simply be good ol’ chemo fatigue.  I career from one obligation to another without ever really feeling that I cope with any of them.  I can control a certain amount of stuff, but not the relentlessness with which the unexpected occurs.  I seem to only have the energy to cope with a crawling hand to mouth existence when really I would like to soar.

One day, maybe, perhaps.

I should add: I have a friend.  He was receiving treatment for cancer a few years ago when I first met him.  He experienced all sorts of knackeredness for some time after his treatment ended.  This summer at an event we both attended, while I was snoozing in my bed, he was strutting his funky stuff all over the dance floor.  He is my Ray of Sunshine and gives me hope.