burning the fuck up

I’m hot flashing like a mf today.

And I woke up like 5 times last night from night sweats. I’ve started keeping a towel next to the bed. That’s how ridiculous this shit has gotten.

Luckily, I contacted my doc and she called in a prescription for Effexor, which is supposed to help a lot. It’s an anti-depressant, but apparently is used for this issue as well. I’ll be picking it up on the way home. I’ve read some things online that suggest it works quickly. God I fucking hope so.

I took Effexor once before several years back, so I know I have a good two weeks of nausea and headaches to look forward to while I adjust to the meds.

Yay!

Menopause is such a fucking delight let me tell you.

Me, lecturing myself for doubting myself:

If you have to have a bad month or two in order to potentially have a longer, healthier life then you need to stfu and deal. You’ve got this.

I need to do what I did after breast cancer, and use this as a launching pad to positive life changes.

I already have some in mind. The waiting is hard, but six weeks is really not so long.

coming to terms with it all

I spent my morning at Barnes — the hospital where I’m having my surgery next week. I had to have pre-op testing and go over all the info.  Both of the nurses I spoke with today were visibly surprised when they saw the procedures I’m having. Ugh…that just drives home how fucking unfair this all is.

I’ve been having doubts recently. Not about the hysterectomy. That makes sense under the circumstances. The doubts have been creeping in regarding the necessity of the oophorectomy. Will it really increase my odds of survival? Will the side effects outweigh the benefits? Stuff like that.

So I did what anybody would do…I took it to the internet. I started googling all sorts of stuff:

life after menopause
life after oophorectomy
tamoxifen vs ovary removal
oophorectomy after breast cancer

You get the idea.

The last search led me to a 2015 article written by a lady who was experiencing a breast cancer recurrence. Her breast cancer was ER+, just like mine. She was about my age, too. Maybe slightly older. The article discussed why having her ovaries removed would be beneficial for her estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, especially considering she was now Stage 4, the other meds weren’t really working anymore, and removal of the ovaries was the only way to truly cut out the estrogen that was feeding her cancer.

The article had a link to her WordPress blog. I clicked the link, anxious to learn more about her journey and her experiences post-oophorectomy. It became clear to me rather quickly that she had died. The blog hasn’t been updated since 2016. In one of her last posts, she wrote about how sick she had become, and remarked that she wished she had removed her ovaries sooner.

I cried.

Having the oophorectomy is the right decision. It’s difficult, but it is the right thing to do.

That said, I’m going to cry about it. I’m going to be down about it for a while. That’s just the way it goes. But I’ll come out the other side stronger for it, like I always do.

Lymphedema fashion

When you have lymphedema, but you still like to be fashionable:

Luckily, I only need to wear this compression sleeve for part of the day at this point. Still…I prefer the cute ones to the ugly beige one. I have another cute one that’s blue with stars on it. Both purchased at Lymphedivas.

If the physical therapy doesn’t resolve the issues, I’ll probably buy a few more to keep things interesting. They’re kinda pricey though. This one was $99.

because of course

I don’t know what the deal is, but I’ve had to wear my compression sleeve for the past three days due to my lymphedema flaring. I’m hoping it is simply due to weather related pressure changes, and not something more serious. I’m considering looking into a lymphedema therapist just to be safe.

Ugh…it’s always something.

Just one of many cancer side effects.

Weird

I picked up a fresh bottle of tamoxifen from Walgreens this afternoon. It occurred to me tonight, after taking my daily dose, that this is likely the last bottle I’ll ever fill. Chicks without ovaries don’t need tamoxifen.

Day one (of the rest of my life)

I feel at peace with my decisions today.

It was the right move to let my associate go. For several reasons. Not the least of which is that I feel a renewed connection with my business. I can’t be complacent anymore. I have to get back into the mix; in a big way.

I’m also feeling good about my decision to move forward with the oophorectomy. I talked to my doctor for about twenty minutes yesterday. We have a plan to beat back the side effects, but it honestly sounds like I’ve already been through the worst of it due to the tamoxifen. Regardless, I have a plan of action, and a renewed motivation to get my health, both physical and mental, under control.

I feel like I’m taking the wheel again. It feels good.

My gyn doc told me this morning that she would like to take my ovaries when she does the hysterectomy; basically because of my breast cancer history combined with how aggressive the cervical cancer/pre-cancer cells have been. She’s going to have a conversation with my oncologist and get back to me.

I’m trying to absorb it. Immediately after the appointment, I broke down in the parking lot. I’m 38 years old. I’ve had more than my fair share of health issues. I don’t want to go into menopause at 38. I don’t want to keep losing all my female parts. I’m sad. So very sad. And angry. Absolutely furious.

I have some thinking to do. And some research. I’ll need to discuss it more with my husband.

But I keep coming back to the same thought: if you die from cancer (either ovarian or your highly estrogen receptor positive breast cancer) because you were too vain/scared to go through menopause early then you are a fucking fool, Jennifer.