Friday, July 9, 2010

Big Baby!

I've never had a bike helmet. I've always just been really careful. I avoid traffic, I don't bike very fast, I'm so cautious. But there's been much prodding by my colleagues to get a helmet and probably because of them I did. I started wearing it this week. The orange on it matches my bike. Otherwise, don't you think it looks like a curling rock? Kevin says he's going to make a handle to attach to the top.

Except for Monday when it was pouring rain, I've ridden my bike to work and back all week. Today on the way home I had a wipe out! With all the construction going on around campus, the usual bike routes are inacessible and so the routes are a bit awkward. Nonetheless, I've found a route that works quite well for me. There's a tricky bit at College Drive and Wiggins but I go slow and I stop and wait for traffic. I have to ride on the sidewalk for a little while on College and then there's one curb to maneuvre. There's a spot on the curb that's a little lower and it's easy to tell that everyone chooses that spot to go up on the curb. Today, on the way home, as I was approaching that little part of the curb, a much faster bike rider tried to pass me and access that part of the curb before me, forcing me unexpectedly to a higher part of the curb where my front tire caught and I fell. As I was falling, all I could think was "Nora said this could happen!" and "How lucky I have a helmet!". The other bike rider didn't even stop, which I thought was really horrible.

And man, did I hurt! But dignity stopped me from just sitting on the sidewalk and crying. I got up, gathered all the things that fell out of my basket, and got back on my bike. I thought to myself, "If I can just get myself to the other side of College, I'll stop and survey the damage and have a good cry if I need to. As it was, I just kept going. I just wanted to get home. What hurt the worst and hurt acutely was my left shoulder. It doesn't have much range of motion (because of it still being "frozen") and it was forced beyond where it can go. Oh man, it hurt. It still hurts but not so sharply. I have a nasty bump on my left shin and a I slightly scraped my knee and the heel of my left hand. My left wrist feels like it might be slightly sprained, though it's feeling a bit better into the evening. I took some tylenol, too, so maybe that's helping. I ever so slightly scraped my chin and my cheek. As I was falling, I could tell that my face was about me to meet the pavement so I did all I could to keep my chin up. It only just touched down ... just enough for the slightest little scrape. I hope it doesn't show. It's a bit tender.

Anyway, so much for my evening. That spill really took the wind out of my sails. I did have a good cry when I got home. I felt sorry for myself for a while and really angry at the other bike rider who was long gone by the time I got myself up off the sidewalk. So I've done nothing all night except make a short car excursion to the drug store and then I parked myself. It feels better to stay still. Very still. I'm quite sure I'll feel much better tomorrow, though. I'm lucky it wasn't worse.

It's actually been a mix of crappy and good day today, the good part being lunch at Quizno's with friends I work with. Things went downhill last night when I got "re-shingled". Yes, my third outbreak of shingles. ARGHHH!! I still had one of those Acyclovir pills left so I took it and called my Doctor this morning to get another prescription. They're expensive. Ten days worth cost $121.00. Good thing my extended health benefits covers them. Anyway, shingles explains why I've been so frustratingly tired the past few days. I wonder if my immune system is still low? I had to stop at the Champion Centre today to get my more Tamoxifen so I asked for a copy of my last bloodwork results (from early May) just so I could see for myself where I was at then. They'll mail them to me.

When I asked for more Tamoxifen at the Pharmacy in the Champion Centre, the person working there said I would need a new prescription and that it would take several days to arrange that. I didn't know I had to get a new prescription and since I don't have an oncologist assigned to me yet, I didn't know who to call about it either. I was a little distressed. I only have 4 pills left. I explained to the young woman at the desk that I hadn't understood that I would need a new prescription because I was told I would need to take it for the next 5 years. In my mind that meant a "5-year prescription". Nobody told me I would have to get it renewed every few months. She seemed quite settled on me having to wait until next week and tossed off a "there's no such thing as a 5-year prescription". I started to cry. Not as a tactic. I just couldn't help myself. I was having a shitty time and sometimes dealing with the Champion Centre can require fortitude. I didn't have fortitude today. Just walking in the building brings back a lot of difficult memories and feelings. The young woman excused herself and then called a pharmacist to the desk. The pharmacist was WONDERFUL. She was immediately understanding and compassionate. Right away, she said (twice), "Oh, no. You can't be without your Tamoxifen! Absolutely not!". She took care of it right away and directed me to the waiting room while she assembled my prescription. She said she would talk to an oncologist to make sure my prescription was updated and on my file. And then, because she was SO kind and helpful (that "kindness of strangers" really gets me), I cried even more and couldn't bring myself to go out to the waiting room with weepy eyes so I ducked into an empty side-room and waited until I could pull myself together enough. I just needed a moment and then I was able to sit in the waiting room. It just wouldn't be right to go out there all teary in view of families with young children who are obviously going through cancer treatments. It just wouldn't be right, while they're trying to have some laughs and keep the mood light. Soon the kindly pharmacist was back and I was able to leave the building (YEAH!) with my Tamoxifen. Sheeeesh! I loathe feeling so fragile!! I'm not all the time ... I don't think ... and often when I am, it takes me by surprise. I rarely know what will set me off. I HATE that!! I'll be feeling strong and cheerful and then, wham! Tears! Then again, after seeing Menopause, the Musical, I think that must be a typical symptom of menopause. The problem for me with all of that is I just don't know where cancer medication side-effects end and menopause begins. There is so much over-lap. What is natural for me and what is "just the medication"? There's not always the same, I know that. The oncological nurse warned me that people who don't normally experience hot flashes, for instance, will usually experience them while on the estrogen blocking drugs.

I also talked to my Doctor today on the phone about what to do about my still aching, stiff limbs. The last medication didn't work. What it did do is make me hungry all the time. It didn't actually upset my stomach, I just felt like I needed food in my stomach all the time. That was a bit distressing. I can NOT afford to gain any more weight! Absolutely NOT! I must have also retained more fluid on the drug than I knew. My feet and ankles were a bit puffy but I've lost 4 pounds since taking the last pill Tuesday night so I must have been retaining fluid all over. There certainly wasn't 4 pounds worth of fluid in my feet! I'm to go tomorrow and get some bloodwork done. My Doctor and I are both unsure whether this is still an Arimidex problem (since I was told the bad effects should have subsided by now) or whether it's something more permanent. Some bloodwork might give us some answers he hopes. After we get the results back, we'll decide what drug to try next. We discussed the frustration of not having an oncologist involved in helping get to the bottom of this.

Now I'm going to have a bath, soothe my bumps and scrapes, and go to bed. Hopefully, I'll wake up in the morning feeling less sore and less miserable in general. I plan to have a WONDERFUL weekend. I might not do as much bike riding as I'd planned, though. I'm now feeling a little bike-shy.

I love the blooms in the garden. This frothy bit of fluff is what's left over after a clematis blossom is spent. It's so pretty!

The first of the lilies have opened, with many more to come.

I'm loving these white begonias in our window boxes under the front window. I hope, with some heat, they'll grow a lot bushier.


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