Gerry and I took this photo while we were waiting … we had no idea our world was about to be turned upside down.
Cancer-versarys are weird. I’m so thankful we found the tumor. That we had it removed. Thankful I’m alive. But also so mad.
Mad that I had to have such a body-altering surgery. That chemo/radiation made more more sick than I’ve ever been in my life. Mad that chemo/radiation WRECKED me physically and mentally.
I’m thankful that the nausea has passed but I’m pissed that I have zero interest in food. I get no joy from eating anymore.
Then I think about my friends sister who started her cancer treatment around the same time I did. She passed away this week. It’s heartbreaking… I’m lucky to be alive. I should stop complaining and just be grateful.
I went to see my oncologist on Monday to talk about the Tamoxifen and my bad reaction to it. I asked her to explain again why I need to take it and it’s a numbers game.
If I had just done my mastectomy and no other treatment… there would be a 50/50 chance of recurrence. That’s 1 in 2. But because I did chemo/radiation that brings my numbers down to 35/65 chance of recurrence. That’s 1 in 3. And if I add Tamoxifen to the mix: that brings me down to 20/80 chance of recurrence. That’s 1 in 5.
So it’s kind of a no-brainer. Except that when I took the Tamox – I was in agony and it would be impossible to function like that.
So Dr. B suggested we switch brands. I first took Tamox (TEV) and this time I am taking Tamox (APO). She said that she’s seen woman take one brand and be fine and then they switch to another brand (for whatever reason) and they can’t handle it. So I agreed to go back on Tamox but we are starting slow. I am taking 10mg (instead of 20mg) a day for a month and we are going to see how I do.
She said even a little Tamox is better than no Tamox.
Gerry and I got home from the appointment and I totally melted down. Just the thought of going back on Tamox triggered something so dark and scary inside me. I am so afraid of the pain/joint flare ups I had the first time I took it. Ugh. It gives me so much anxiety.
In the middle of my melt-down I actually told Gerry he should leave me because I’m a genetic dud and he deserves a better wife. Oh man. I was so low. I sobbed my face off for about an hour. I couldn’t stop crying … So Gerry shoved an Ativan in my mouth and 2 minutes later I was fine.
I kind of love Ativan.
When I took my first dose of Tamox I got immediate gut-rot (like I did with the other brand) and I could feel my body panic. It triggered so much anxiety that I crawled into bed and spent the entire day there. I lay in the dark with Fergus curled up beside me … Ugh.
Then I looked at my calendar and realized that it was the anniversary of the day I had my needle biopsy. That was the day the doctor held my hand after he punctured my breast and said “It’s definitely something. I wish you lots of luck.” That horrible fucked up day is stuck in every cell of my body. Of course I am feeling all these feelings today. This was the day when everything changed. I am full of so much grief.
This morning Gerry said to me “You can try taking this pill for 1 day. 2 days. 2 weeks. You get to decide.” but all I can think is that if I don’t take this pill … I’m going to die. That is so much weird crazy pressure to put on myself. It’s not fair to do that.
So today when I took my Tamox I looked at it and said “Go to work little friend. Do your job.” and while my Tamox is making sure that my body doesn’t make anymore cancer … my job is to not get so hyped up and anxious that this is going to be a repeat of last time.
I took my pill yesterday and had gut-rot again (yes I’m taking it with food) but instead of obsessing about it I took Fergus to the beach for a walk. While I was at the beach I got a call from my surgeon about removing my port.
Fantastic! That’s a step forward right? …It’s a reason to celebrate but instead I’m filled with more anxiety.
The nurse assured me it’s easier to remove then put in. I told her I would be taking ALL of the Ativan. She said that would be fine.
March 4th 2013 was the needle biopsy. March 6th was confirmation of my cancer. March 14 I shared my bad news with the world.
March came in like a lion and never left…
All year the nurses have been telling me that cancer is a marathon not a sprint and I’ve been trying to pace myself but today I am officially out of steam.