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Posted 2019-01-02T22:12:00Z

The winter is cold. The flashes are hot.

Happy 2019 to you all! And greetings from the tropical shores of menopause!

It's been much too long since my last entry,

but I will admit, December was a bumpy ride. 

It made sense to me that taking 4 tubes of flesh out of my boob through a needle hurt like hell. 

It made sense that cutting out a lymph node and a tumor inside a racquetball sized chunk of my boob hurt like hell. 

It made sense to me that laying in a $3,000,000 machine every weekday for 20 treatments

would turn my boob Pantone 18-1659 (goji berry!)

(although the green nipple did catch me a bit off guard)

It made sense to me that the aforementioned red boob would hurt like hell. 

 

(TOPLESS TV ANYONE?)

 

It didn't make sense to me that the redness and pain would increase even after the bell was rung. 

The doctor was clear about this from the start, I just didn't get it.

Looking back, it was like a mammoth version of a sunburn

revealing its true colors long after the sun went down -- but at the time - a mystery!

Same for radiation fatigue.

I now know the difference between tired and fatigue. 

Tired wants to take a nap.

Fatigue makes you unmovable yet awake on the couch for impressive stretches of time.

Sleep isn't a fix. There is no fix. Just Netflix

 

Then is was adios to Dr Sullivan, queen of radiation. And back to Dr Leach, king of oncology. 

I continued to underestimate the evil power of menopause.

"Oh, I've been having hot flashes for years -- I'm used to them"

I was slightly annoyed at the Dr's "sure you have" face when ever i said this. 

I mean, I *know* my hot flashes. 

So I make way too big of a deal out of the ovary killing injection. 

And start dropping tamoxifen into my daily regime. 

My boob was starting to quiet down into a whiny child. 

Although the scientific wonder of nerve regeneration started up,

which is like random lightning bolts shooting through your tit. 

It comes so absolutely out of nowhere with such a hot intensity, 

sometimes you yell MOTHER FUCKER right there in the middle of Target.

Then you catch your breath leaning over your buggy. Then onward ho.

 

And then the legit hot flashes started. 

What I had been having for the last 4 years was most certainly NOT hot flashes. 

Those were like like little ripples of warm. 

What started hitting me was a tsunami of indescribable heat. Head to toe. Every 20 minutes or so.

Until I figured out a system, I actually tweaked my hip, flinging off covers

like they were flock of snakes, all night long. 

So that's menopause. A natural occurrence for every woman. 

Tamoxifen, not so natural. 

Dizzy spells and constantly ringing ears (TINNITUS!!) chips away at ones mojo. 

 

FUN FACT:

Tin-a-tus and Tin-eye-tus are both proper pronunciations. Take your pick!

 

So a little poke and little pills making me feel so unfabulous DID NOT MAKE SENSE

I was tired. I was dizzy. I was hot. I wasn't sleeping. And i was grumpy as hell. 

And on top of it all, it was the holidays!

A time we're expected to be filled with obligatory joy and cheer!

And when you're not on your A game, that obligation becomes even more annoying. 

Ho Ho fucking Hum.

Dogs weren't getting walked. Jolly was nowhere in sight. 

I mustered up something replicating holiday cheer around my holiday loving kiddo. 

That was about it. 

I was counting the days til I was off tamoxifen. And I got there. 

With a 7 day half-life, it is now out of my system.

And the world has stopped spinning and ringing. 

Can I have a HALLELUJAH!

Then onto the long haul drugs.

 My LHRH agonist injection is now doing its job and my ovaries have retired.

And a teeny tiny daily pill makes sure no other hormones try to put on an estrogen costume. 

It's Anastrozole. The non-steroidal aromatase inhibitor. 

No estrogen = No more ER PR positive tumors. 

But nothing comes for free. 

First off, I am not losing my mind. I now know hormones affect your vision.

When you stop producing estrogen, your near sight goes to hell. 

I have been cleaning my glasses repeatedly, to no avail.

Books, phones and labels have become unreadable.

I googled it. Let out a sigh of relief.  Then made an appointment for a new RX. 

Until then, I have type size jacked as high as it will go. 

And labels can go to hell.

 

This teeny tiny pill can cause joint stiffness. 

And holy shit, does it. 

Getting out of bed and going up and down stairs

results in Oscar worthy old lady sounds, and turret-adjacent profanity.  

The Dr's that are never wrong assure me this dissipates after a few weeks. 

So we're getting there. 

I am doing my damndest to get my mojo back. 

My medical support staff warned me about "friend and family fatigue"

which makes sense. People have their own lives, their own struggles

and my cancer song is no longer a top 10. Nor should it be. 

But I got tired of this getting healthy business, too. 

When I gripe about hard recovery and side effects are,

I am gently (usually) reminded it's better than the alternative.

Which of course it is. But sometimes a cancer kicking sister has to bitch a bit

 

And now, there is nothing new on the horizon I need to acclimate to. 

Just continue to acclimate to the 2 drugs that are in my body for the long haul. 

I am getting systems in place.

Stretching more.

Exercising more. 

Putting an easier to fling comforter on the bed. 

Finding a sleep aid that works. 

Avoiding foods and liquids that make hot flashes worse. (AKA all my favorite things)

A fan. A spritz bottle. A fresh set of jammies ready for a middle of the night switch. 

The world of cross country skiing is my new sanity in the making. 

I got rockstar cleats so icy sidewalks are no longer an excuse. 

(Midge does not have cleats, and it's super funny to see her slip and slide)

So I am slowly acclimating to constant acclimation. 

It's a long hike. And the only option is to keep fucking hiking. 

And maybe get my ass in shape along the way.

After all, it's now the year we get married. And weddings have cameras.

And it'd be real nice to stop making old lady sounds. 

 

So if you want to go skiing or ice hiking, gimme a shout. 

If you have your own hell to hike through, get yourself a system.

If you need to bitch about something, I'll hear you out. 

 

And no matter your route, keep fucking hiking. 

It's the only way to get where you are going.

 

Hope this year kicks ass for all of us. 

We all deserve it.

And anything on the trail we don't deserve, 

let's be the one kicking ass. 

 

Love, Ginnie

 

PS. Fuck cancer.

 

PPS

If you need your driveway de-iced, I am happy to come lay on it.

 

 

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Comments (3)

  • Kari Chapman
    Kari Chapman

    XOXO

    11 months ago · Reply
  • Kris
    Kris

    Love and hot hugs Kos

    11 months ago · Reply
  • Cathy
    Cathy

    Love you Gin!!! And let's hit the xc trail soon - I'll call you next week!!!! I'm praying for snow :-)

    11 months ago · Reply