Saturday, February 23, 2013

Insomnia again...

Just when I thought that my sleep habits were improving, tonight I woke up out of what seemed like a deep sleep with a ridiculous night sweat. I have never actually seen this written anywhere as a side effect of chemo but it must be one as it has been frequently plaguing me since I started the Taxol. It may be a lingering S/E as I am now more than 3 weeks PFC as it is said in breast cancer land. Post final chemo apparently though for the longest time I was sure it must mean post fucking chemo. So while towelling off a ridiculous amount of sweat, Flobi our tabby cat came meowing and joined me in bed. He seemed to enjoy licking my bald, salty head but soon curled up beside me while I found myself wide awake. Another hot chocolate late at night while I read my last blog post.

Then I read the results of my bone density test done last month. This was done as a baseline as I will start a drug called Anastrozole, an aromatase inhibitor on March 8. If all goes well I will take it daily for 5 years to ward off a recurrence. The main side effects are osteoporosis (bone loss) and fractures. But given the alternative, I will go for the bone loss. My oncologist says that due to my weight bearing activities, I should fare OK. All the more reason I think to have that Annapurna trek goal for next March! Meanwhile the density in my lumbar spine falls within the normal range but in my femoral neck it is osteopenic, the precursor to osteoporosis and thus hip fractures, which this report says I am moderately at risk for over 10 years. So I will be taking a risk but hope that for me, the side effects will be minimal.

I have found myself feeling angry, frustrated and sad once again and it is difficult to determine why. Well yeah, I do have breast cancer and have just entered the 8th month of treatment but still, why now and what can I do about it? Sometimes I just want to retreat and hide away but that is not very realistic. And I feel guilty for feeling the way I do. After all I am getting the best care in the world. But no matter how much I wish the troubling thoughts away, they persist.  Not having control over what is happening is a big factor. It is what it is, and though I accept it as necessary to save my life, it is tough to continue down the medical path of more drugs, more surgery and then radiation and more surgery. I work on being as healthy as I can to mitigate the side effects and to hasten the recovery from each treatment but I often feel helpless as I go through the process.

I have been a planner for a long time and those who know me understand that I thrive on working on the next trip, the next trek, the next sailing adventure or even next week's hike and of course, experiencing the fruition of that planning. But at this time, I feel like I am spinning my wheels. Intellectually, I know that there is an end to all the treatments for my breast cancer and by the end of the year I will be able to look back on it with relief but that is then not now.

And so it is; I am walking my 5 km a day, going to yoga, eating healthy food, drinking very little alcohol and looking forward to spring. The roller coaster ride of breast cancer continues and I suspect that the light is just around the corner and my darkness will lift, just as it has before. This is my hope as I try to go back to sleep.

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