Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chapter 2

I continue to do my best to be grateful... Grateful to be alive, that my treatments were straightforward and without complications (until now), and grateful to have the privileges that have allowed me to go through this, heal, and process without a whole lot of situational worry.

That said, I have to keep discussing the complications, which really are a total surprise.  It seems funny to me that I powered through chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy, and radiation treatments and never felt much worse than I have felt off and on this last month.  And all because of some little pills.  It is astounding to consider the brain, and how easily it can be altered and manipulated.

Six weeks after taking my first Tamoxifen pill I sat down with Dr. Raish to discuss options.  Actually taking those daily pills only lasted three weeks (refer to the prior blog post to read more about that).  I knew I would have to take some kind of anti-depressant medication to be able to get back on Tamoxifen, so I left with my prescription, oddly looking forward to taking that first pill, and starting on the road back to productive recurrence prevention.  I don't know how many times in this blog I have stated that nothing is simple or predictable, but... nothing is simple or predictable.  An hour after I took the first dose of Effexor I was miserable.  Very painful stomach, very painful head, disorientation...  I was roasting hot.  I woke up on my 50th birthday in that state, and spent the day waiting for the drug to pass through my system, alternating between my bed and the couch.  The only substantial amount of food I ate that day was, appropriately, a slice of the birthday cake Ani made.  I was much better in a couple of days, fortunately, as Jon's long planned birthday bash was happening. I have to say that as with our wedding, which Jon made sure was big when I was sure I wanted small,  he was right again to insist on a big celebration of a big milestone.  Ribs, barbecued tuna, a band in the back yard all hit the spot.

I was surprised to get a call from the nurse yesterday telling me to go to the pharmacy and get a bottle of Effexor in a smaller dose and try taking the pills again, every other night.  I ate a banana, swallowed the little pill, and went to bed, pretty anxiety filled.  I slept the night at least, but woke up spaced out, a little nauseous, head-achy.  This lasted the better part of the day.  I am hoping that as I take little doses of those little pills, over time my body will adjust and let them do their work.  And then get back to the business of taking the Tamoxifen.

My family is getting used to me, after a short hiatus of being pretty well and full of energy, again being a fairly useless blob on the couch.  We leave for about ten days of togetherness on a road trip through California tomorrow.  Should be interesting... :)

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