Most of my visits with Dr. Hafeez involve me talking way too much, way too fast. Basically, I walk in the door, vomit from the mouth for an hour and then walk out. So much so that during my previous visit, we did a 5-minute meditation, which involved just sitting and breathing – no talking or thinking. It was the first time I ever tried meditating and it turned out to be very calming. (The guided meditation app is called "Simply Being" - $1.99 in the app store)
Anyway, getting to the tamoxifen point here… somewhere between therapy visits and learning to love myself after cancer, I have come to realize that doing NOTHING to keep the cancer away is just stupid. For me, this drug came with terrible side effects when I originally began taking it and then stopped after just 34 days last September. (You can read that blog post here.) My hope today is that the chemo is completely out of my system now and the hair loss won’t be as bad, as well as the weight gain and the hot flashes... oh and the mood swings. I also did some research on my tumor that was removed back in Dec of 2013. The path reports reads that it was grade 3, which is the worst kind of tumor to have. I know I have looked at this information in the past, but I do think my vision is a bit clearer these days, now that the active part of cancer treatment is over.
The Komen website says the following:
“Tumor grade is a way of classifying tumors based on certain features of their cells. The grade of a tumor is directly linked to prognosis.
Using a microscope, a pathologist studies the tumor tissue removed during a biopsy to check:
- How much the cancer cells look like normal cells (The more the cancer cells look like normal cells, the lower the tumor grade tends to be.)
- How many of the cancer cells are in the process of dividing (The fewer cancer cells that are in the process of dividing, the more likely it is that the tumor is slow-growing slowly and the lower the tumor grade tends to be.)
These grades are usually classified as:
- Grade 1. The tumor cells look the most like normal tissue and are slow-growing (well-differentiated).
- Grade 2. The tumor cells fall somewhere in between grade 1 and grade 3 (moderately-differentiated).
- Grade 3. The tumor cells look very abnormal and are fast-growing (poorly-differentiated).
This is just one example of many that defines my specific situation with my breast cancer, which justifies taking the drug. So, last night I took the first pill. To some, it might seem like a simple task and an easy fix to keep the cancer from spreading… but for me, it was excruciatingly difficult to swallow. Every bit of my being does NOT want to take this pill… but I want to live. Always a damn trade off with cancer.
Here’s my apology in advance to those that have to deal with any mood swings that may come. I am aware of the possibility and will try – real hard – to keep my attitude in check.
I made a vow to take the drug for 3 months... we shall see how this pans out and hope for the best.
UPDATE TO THIS POST:
By day 3 - night sweats and horrible night mares are back.
By day 8 - night sweats, hot flashes, nightmares, nails are very soft and peeling, very fatigued, feel exhausted by mid day. Trying to walk dog daily and doing outdoor yard work to help keep the body in motion.