cancer: the gift that keeps on giving

I think I may stop taking Tamoxifen.  I’m at least going to be taking a break.

It has come to my attention this last week that Tamoxifen (along with Methotrexate) is making my hair fall out.  It has gotten extremely thin.  You can see way more scalp than I’m comfortable with.  A Google search revealed that this is a very common side effect.  (It would have been nice to have been warned about it.)  This is the last straw for me. I’ve been putting up with the other side effects, such as depression, dental problems, skin issues, mood swings, and fatigue. I would have continued to suffer through these side effects, but the hair loss is too much. I can’t do that again.   Call me vain. Call me crazy.  Call me stupid. I don’t care. Cancer has taken so much from me, and I have to put a stop to it at some point.  I didn’t take it last night, and I don’t plan on taking it tonight. I see my oncologist on Wednesday. I’m expecting him to throw an epic fit when I tell him. He’s going to shove the statistics down my throat, but I’ve read the studies and the benefit is not nearly as great as he wants me to believe.

I was talking to two of my friends about this and they both said the same thing: you can’t stop taking it.  My response to that was: my body, my choice. I’ll be telling the same thing to my oncologist.

I stopped my Methotrexate last week.  I initially blamed the hair loss solely on that drug, since it too is known for causing hair loss, and I was warned this could happen. Its job is to kill rapidly dividing cells, which includes hair, so it’s not terribly surprising that I would see some hair loss.  However, I’m not going to continue to poison myself with this shit when it doesn’t even work.  My joints are still fucked like 50% of the time.  There was no difference in my condition during the time I was off the medication for over a month.  Still…my rheumatologist is going to flip her shit when she finds out.  **zero fucks**

So that is what I’ve been dealing with this week. It has been a hard week. Plus, my social media has been full of shit about the St. Louis Komen walk, which was this morning. I decided not to participate this year. I’m way over breast cancer.  I don’t want to think about it anymore. 

Sleepless in Saint Peters

According to the internet, Tamoxifen can cause insomnia. I haven’t slept through the night since about a week after I started taking it. I’ve been up since around three. It’s four now. I bet I’m up for another hour at least. This has been the trend these last few weeks. I keep hearing Dave’s clock chime the night away. I guess I’m calling my onc tomorrow and asking for sleeping pills. Just what I need…one more pill to take.

  • Yesterday was a great day.  It was Dave’s 40th birthday, and we had a lot of fun touring a bunch of local breweries.  I think he had a really good day, and that makes me very happy.
  • My skin is causing me a great deal of discomfort.  I don’t know how I’m going to make it through 11 more treatments. 
  • My big toenail on my left foot is falling off.  Fucking chemo side effects.  Ugh. When I realized it a little bit ago, I totally flipped my shit.  Kristie and Scott thought I was dying or something.  I’ve never denied that I’m very dramatic.
  • The apartment is coming along.  My dining room table will be delivered sometime tomorrow, and I can’t wait.  So far I’m really enjoying city life, though my entire routine is changing and I’m still trying to figure it out.  New stores, new gym, new everything.
  • I’m buying a new couch.  I want a sectional, which I think will look best in my living room.  Plus, my old couch is just a mess.  I’m way excited about it.  I’m going to go shopping this Friday and try to get it delivered on Saturday since I’ll be sitting around waiting on the cable guy anyway.
  • 10 days without cable and internet at home is kind of sucky, but we are managing a lot better than I expected.  Thank goodness for 4G access on the iPhone/iPad and for our blu-ray player. 
  • Things at the office are way busy, which is excellent.
  • I’m currently reading Defending Jacob.  I’m about 75 pages in and it’s great so far.  I’m a sucker for crime/mystery novels; especially when the main character is a lawyer.
  • There is other stuff I wanted to say but it’s gone.  Gotta go to radiation. Two weeks from today will be my last treatment! (Unless that stupid machine breaks again)

This has been a busy weekend and I am very tired. It was a good weekend though.  I need more like it.

My official 5k time was 37 min, 31 seconds.  So that is now the time to beat.

I have spent all day cleaning, organizing, and redecorating my apartment.  There is still a lot to do, but I’m pleased with the progress I have made.  I have decided to renew my lease here, and so I want to make it a more comfortable place for us to live.  This will be the first time in years that I haven’t moved at the end of the lease.  I’m excited about that.  Moving sucks.

My windows are open!  (Well the ones I can get to open. I guess I’m calling the maintenance guy tomorrow)  I love that spring weather has arrived, but I’m hating the allergies that came with it. 

I haven’t been sleeping well.  The hot flashes/night sweats are out of control.  I’m going to complain about it on Friday, because it’s driving me crazy.  I want to sleep without waking up drenched in sweat every 90 minutes. Fucking chemo.

Sometimes it amazes me that I can feel so bad and not be dying. It’s weird to think that feeling this way means I’m fighting the cancer that’s trying to kill me. You grow up thinking that medicine is supposed to make you feel better, not worse. It’s still funny to me that I was feeling my absolute best, and was in the best shape of my life, the day I found out I had cancer. Look at me now. What a joke.

It’s hard to believe I’ve made it through seven rounds of chemo. In January, this part of treatment felt so far away, and I was so scared. Now a week from today, I will finish number 8, and I will be done. Right now that feels really far away, even further than it did in January, and each day I feel worse than the last. Every day feels like a month. That’s how hard it has gotten to get through the days.

I’m scared that the side effects will linger, and I’ll feel bad for a long time. All I can do is hope for the best, I guess. I’m tired. I’m sick. I’m sad. But I can’t give in. I have to keep fighting the temptation to give into the depression that’s trying to beat me down.

I’m so close. I can do this. I will use all of my remaining strength to make it through this and reclaim my life. I can only hope my support system doesn’t fail me now, because while the treatment journey is almost over, it is going to take a long time to heal from this. Physically and emotionally.

I’m bedridden today.  It sucks.  I woke up and my body was like, “yeah…no."   So I’m lying in bed with my laptop. I’m bored. I finally finished The Passage, so now I need something else to read. Any suggestions?  By the way, I don’t recommend The Passage.  I typically enjoy apocalypse stories, but this one was way too long, and not terribly interesting. I only finished it because I really hate giving up on stuff.  Plus, I had somehow read over 400 pages before realizing it kind of sucked.  At that point, there was no way I was giving up.

I’m feeling really cancery lately.  I’m tired all the time. The skin on my feet is peeling off.  I have a bald spot on my left eyebrow. The Taxol related pain is lingering.  I want to fast forward to the 12th, do the last chemo, suffer the side effects, and call it good. The waiting is killing me. 

I ran 1.2 miles yesterday. It took like 13 minutes, and I felt like I was going to collapse.  I’m so out of shape now.  It’s really hard, but I’m trying to stay positive about it.  It’s easy for me to get down on myself about every little thing, because I am a perfectionist.  I demand a lot from myself. However, I know that I cannot expect to go right back to running a nine minute mile.  I have to work at it. My body has been through hell these last few months.  I should be grateful that I have the ability to run at all.  I will work hard to get back to where I was, but I need to accept that if it doesn’t happen that’s okay too.  The goal is to never give up on improving myself. All I can do is try. As long as I’m trying, I’m winning.

Hopefully this makes sense. I’m a little high right now.

Last night was a lot of fun.  There was only one bad point.  We had been standing up for a while, when I suddenly felt really hot, dizzy, and nauseous.  I knew I was going to pass out if I didn’t sit down asap.  I ran off to the bathroom, and made it just in time.  I couldn’t stand up for more than about five minutes without feeling bad, so I figured we were in trouble.  Thankfully, this super nice guy offered me his seat, and we were able to stay.  I’m so glad too, because the band was good, and it’s Dave’s favorite, so it was really important to me to make it until the end.

I probably shouldn’t have been out last night, but it was worth it. Suck it, cancer.