The Tamoxifen

I think I’d mentioned that I have to take Tamoxifen, a hormone blocker, for the next 5 years, to help keep the cancer from coming back. They had told me that there would be side effects, including most of the symptoms of menopause, without the ‘pause’. What they didn’t tell me was that I would end up with one of the more rare side effects, depression. For the first 3 weeks or so, I cried about every day, several times a day. It doesn’t take much to set me off even now, but at first all you really had to do was say hello, and the waterworks would start. It was embarrassing, and a bit exhausting. At an appointment with my oncologist, I asked about this, and she said yes, that’s a rare side effect, and we need to deal with it, because it can, in some cases, go as far as to make one suicidal. Yay. We took a look at the anti-depressant my GP had me on, Wellbutrin, and the oncologist thought that perhaps that wouldn’t be strong enough. I took her recommendations to the GP, and they are switching me to Effexor. Right now, I’m in transition, taking Wellbutrin one day and Effexor the next two days, and so on, and eventually (in about another week or so), I’ll be only on Effexor. I can already tell the difference between the two. I feel much better on the Effexor days than the Wellbutrin days. At some level, just knowing that it’s a side effect of the Tamoxifen and not *just* me going crazy helps.

The hot flashes are coming more frequently and regularly, also. I’m looking at that as a good thing, in December. Maybe it’ll keep my heating bills lower…

Also, I just realized the other day that I haven’t had a period since I started the Tamoxifen, so maybe I *will* get the ‘pause’, after all. One can only hope…

I can haz nipples!

So, once again, it’s been too long since I’ve written here. I really should do it more often. Yesterday, I had my second surgery, mostly nipple reconstruction, but with other things thrown in. Dr. Rinker also ‘revised’ my belly scar, to make it more pretty. I had had one spot sort of pop open during the healing from the first surgery, and it made for about an inch of bigger, less pretty scarring. He also trimmed off the ‘dog ears’ at either end of the belly scar so that the little bumps there will be gone. As part of that, which I didn’t know was gonna happen until he started the sharpie art on my torso, was BONUS LIPO on both hips. Now my butt and hips look like I’ve been beaten. I bruise more easily than most people, I think, but the bruises generally heal faster, too. Sleeping on my side, my favorite position, has been a bit tender, but nothing I and the drugs can’t handle.

And the nipples. I can’t wait for the bandages to come off so I can see what they’re gonna look like. I go in Monday for a followup, which seems soon, but I’m cool with that. At least maybe I won’t have to wear the surgical bra until it stinks, like last time. I did take a peek at my breasts, even though I can’t actually take the bra off. The bandages are the weirdest I’ve ever seen. It actually looks like they’ve sewn the bandage to the nipple area. It kinda freaked me out at first because I thought at first glance that that WAS my nipple, and it was huge! I guess that’s all to keep everything in the proper shape while they heal.

I had also asked Dr. Rinker, since he was ‘under the hood’, if he could lipo my left breast a bit to make it the same size as the right. The right is just the right size, but the left was ‘running over’ in my bras. I think he actually might have done a bit of lipo on both sides, since I’m sore under both armpits. All these questions will be answered Monday, I guess.

Once again, my church family and friends have come through for me. My pastor and his wife were my drivers, staying in tag-team fashion during the surgery. Poor Trudi got the ‘full monty’, as she was there while Dr. Rinker did his pre-op artwork. She was a real trooper, though, and took it all with her usual humor. It’s a real friend who will offer to take a nekkid picture of you and post it on the Internet for you. (She didn’t, actually. Just offered.)

Oh, while he was at it, Dr. Rinker also did a ‘lift’, yet another thing I’ve wanted for some time. When he was explaining that part to me, I told him not to go crazy with that, because at 53, there’s only so much lift that people will believe anyway. I actually got a “that’s funny” out of him at that. 🙂

I’m restricted from driving for the next week, which puts a bit of a cramp in my job search, but it’s just in time for an ice storm anyway, so I suppose it all evens out. Also, I can do freelance from the couch, so maybe I’ll get some of that to carry me through. I got a big jewelry commission, for Christmas gifts, so that will fill my days (well, a couple of them) as well.