Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I Can Still Sew

Quilt Square Status: 7 done. 13 to go.

I slept long and hard last night. Yesterday was so upsetting. It only got more upsetting into the evening as I felt even more stiffening and aching in new places. My right hand is worse than my left and my hand ached all day. By evening, my right arm was starting to ache and feel weak lifting my water glass. Then, later, I noticed my left arm feeling stiff when I reached for thread or scissors. My back ... also suspect. I don't typically have back issues. Maybe it was just the tension of the day and crying and then the effort of trying not to cry. Damn! Just so you know, I feel tougher today. More prepared to get this problem dealt with, if possible.

Part of what I dread is the personal resolve it takes to get issues dealt with by my medical team. First I have to diagnose myself. Okay, I've done that. It might have helped if I'd been warned that this is a relatively common side effect experienced at varying levels by a third of all women taking this drug. If history repeats, I might well have to convince an apathetic, "let's wait and see" doctor that this is an issue to be dealt with at all, let alone now and by this doctor and not some other doctor. I might have to convince a doctor that this problem IS related to my cancer treatment and not to something else entirely. I might even have to take copies of the medical research papers with me as proof because since I'm not a doctor surely I'm just inventing this and am looking for a way to get out of just getting some exercise ... just some whacked out woman who needs to be placated or ignored and since my chemo is done why don't I just go away already and let them get on with dispensing chemicals? Sorry to be so distrustful and suspicious of my medical people but this has been my experience at times and more often than not. I have little faith in the due diligence of many doctors and that only comes from experience. They're all easy to get along with until something goes off the normal track and then, instead of being curious and concerned, it's like it means additional work for them and then they don't want to address it. They just want the easy stuff. Harsh? Maybe? All doctors? Certainly not. Some Doctors? You bet, and too many. It makes it hard to find the ones who will go the distance and you can't even know that about them until something comes up to challenge them. Having a good bedside manner is the easy part.

Yesterday I heard back from my oncological nurse. She seemed surprised to hear from me. When I explained what was happening she asked me if I'd tried tylenol. I hadn't and I told her that I didn't think it would help with the stiffening in the joints. But, because I felt I needed to rule it out before I hear from her again, I tried it and there was no effect whatsoever ... not even with the aching. She was going to talk with an oncologist today and get back to me and now I'll be able to say ix-nay if they suggest tylenol will fix me up good as new.

Now, I really hope I'll be forced to eat all of the above words. I hope. I hope. I hope!! I'll do so with relish! And, gladly, with mustard and ketchup, too! Please, oh, please Doctors ... prove me wrong!

This morning I don't feel as stiff and sore as I did all day yesterday. Then again, typically I get worse as the day progresses. Maybe that's because I take my Arimidex pill with breakfast and by the next morning the effects aren't as bad. I haven't taken my Arimidex pill yet. That's next on my agenda. I look at it now with some dread.

Maybe it's also why I feel a little nauseous sometimes. All those times have been before noon. I'm to take the pill with food and when that's the case usually it's because it can cause stomach upset.

I see that a lot of women also suffer with depression while on Arimidex. This comes up a lot while reading the breast cancer discussion forums. I won't explain my last few days away that way, though. Not yet. It doesn't strike me as unusual for me, at this point, to feel frustrated and upset at finding myself physically a step away from needing to be put into an assisted living residence.

The only thing I really recall the medical staff warning me about was hot flashes. And yes, I do get those from time to time. Some days I get none and other days I'll get several. I don't often get them in the night or else I just sleep right through them. Most days lately, I find myself pretty chilled so I'm usually bundled up in a big hoodies and warm caps at home. Every now and then I'll feel a sudden surge of heat and I'll whip off my cap. It's the first thing I want to do. Instinctively, I run my hand over my scalp, which helps to cool things a bit perhaps. Last night I noticed that when I whipped my cap off, my scalp felt dry at first touch and then within seconds I could actually feel it become wet. A layer of moisture just suddenly emerged all over my head. It was peculiar to feel it happen. It doesn't last long. I'm sure some of you are nodding knowingly, except you don't have the benefit of being able to take your hair off to help cool down. Nyah Nyah Nyah!

I don't get my treatment today until 3:00. I'm glad it's a later one today. I really needed that giant sleep. And I feel stronger for it.


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