Tuesday, September 11, 2007

State of the Union

Today is September 11th. Some of you may remember my entry written last 9/11. (For those of you who cannot quote my blog by date - and really, who can't? - Here it is)

A year ago today I finished active treatment for breast cancer. 1 year already. Wow. I say active treatment because I'm still very much in treatment. I see a doctor or a nurse every month for my clinical trial, I take drugs, I have side effects. For those of you who might think that cancer's over once treatment is done, here's a little insight. (I swear, I tried not to make that sound snarky... don't think I succeeded.)

1 year after treatment...

My hair is still uncomfortably short. Still VERY curly. Still looks like Ronald McDonald. Now approaching an odd mullet stage. Still brown - although I've started a gradual step down approach to becoming blond again.

My eyes are still a little off. I can thank chemo for giving me astigmatism, now I can thank Tamoxifen for continual effects on my eyesight. For those of you who don't know, I was already pretty damn blind. Didn't know it could be worse.

My back is still a problem. We're not quite sure exactly why, but doctors credit the lack of estrogen to bone issues and chemo and tamoxifen to disc problems.

I am in menopause. Still. Will be for a few more years, thanks to my clinical trial. With that comes hot flashes, sleep problems and a spare tire that I can't seem to get rid of.

I am still 30 pounds too heavy. Although the mere fact I've done the whole menopause thing and not GAINED weight makes me happy... but I've now bought fat girl pants for a few seasons now and it's uncalled for.

My joints ache all the time. That's tamoxifen. Every morning when I wake up, it's like I'm walking on pegs for a while. I can't sit still for too long. I'm constantly stretching. Awesome.

My big toe has finally grown out from when I almost lost it... 14 months ago.

I bruise way too easily. This is a common complaint after treatment.

I am sensitive to the sun. If I'm out in it for too long, I get itchy rashes all over.

I take 5... count 'em five... pills every day.
Tamoxifen - hormone therapy
Ambien - for sleep issues
Effexor - for the hot flashes
Prescription Anti-Inflammatory - For the back
Muscle relaxer - also for the back

Once we get my back under control, I might be lucky enough to only take 3 pills a day.

I go to the doctor once a month for a shot that keeps me in menopause. I usually can't sit comfortably for a day or so after it.

Cancer is still a part of my everyday life.

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