Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Order and anarchy.


The Anarchy


I haven't posted about it before but I recently made the decision to stop the hormone therapy I've been on for the past two and a half years. It was a very hard decision to make and it took me six months to make it, but in the end, quality of life trumped quantity. I was supposed to take Tamoxifen for ten years to reduce the risk of cancer returning but the side effects of chemically induced menopause on my late-thirties body was just too much.


Since starting Tamoxifen I've gained almost twenty kilos; battled extreme fatigue and depression; had frightening bouts of vertigo and prolonged headaches; struggled with short term memory loss, night sweats and intense hot flushes that had me at my wits end. I became dependent on anti-depressants to help negate some of the side effects of the tamoxifen but that came with its own issues, affecting my blood pressure if I didn't take it at the exact same time every day.


My oncologist will have a pink fit when I tell her at my next check up in May. But truth be told, I just don't care. It was obvious at my last appointment that the quality of my post chemo life is of no consequence. I appreciate that my onc treats far too many who won't see remission, but when she couldn't take thirty seconds to glance at my notes and at least remind herself that I'd had a double mastectomy, I began to wonder why I'd bothered to turn up at all. The final straw that spurred me to re-evaluate my treatment options was when I explained that my fatigue was so bad I could barely get through each day. My oncologist responded with "Well, that's just life with small kids isn't it".

Given what I had been through during surgery, chemo and radiation that remark was incredibly insulting. I'm not the type to whine about my situation, I've worked hard to stay positive, even during the blackest times of cancer treatment and I know the difference between the 'normal' fatigue of life with small kids and the kind of fatigue that renders one useless.


That swift dismissal spurred me to think hard about how I want to live.


And the thing is, I really want to live, not just exist.


I don't want to spend the next eight years living a poorly functioning existence and ending up morbidly obese and severely depressed. I've reached my cancer treatment saturation point. Everyone has one...this is mine.


So, I'm having regular check ups with my GP who has a genuine interest in my wellbeing. Together we will make a plan to help me regain my health. My energy levels have already improved and my weight has stabilised in the few weeks that I've been off Tamoxifen. No more hot flushes or headaches either. I'm slowly weaning off the anti-depressants and aim to drop back down to my healthy weight by the end of this year.


I don't know if cancer will come back. There was no guarantee when I was on hormone therapy and there's none now. I guess that's life though isn't it...full of uncertainties. I'd rather not dwell on the what ifs and throw myself into living in the now, mothering my boys, loving my husband, being a friend, being creative, working hard and enjoying being alive.



The Order


In contrast to the chaos of hormone therapy, I've got a new project to work on when I'm not busy with Puddleducklane or the kids. Sprucing up the house one room at a time. Now that my energy is back I'm sorting out cupboards, designing better storage, jazzing up the interior and giving the house a pre-Autumn clean. It feels great for a neat freak like myself to de-clutter.

This week, in between playing nurse to my croupy four yr old, I've started sorting out the kitchen by labelling the recycled coffee jars that store all manner of dry goods.



Feels good to sort things out don't you think?


xx Em


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