January 26th, 2016
Happy New Year! It’s been over seven months since my lumpectomy re-excision and I’ve been on Anastrozole, an estrogen inhibitor, for 14 weeks now.
I can say that my energy came back to it’s pre-surgery levels in recent weeks. Once again, I most often feel happy and excited about my life and my work. I reduced my work load and that seems to be for the better. I don’t make as much money, of course, but I can be more deeply focused in my three remaining roles: Wife, Painter, Yoga Teacher. (Not necessarily in that order–it’s not a linear thing. I think about them more in a circle than a line.) There is peace there.
To further reduce stress in my life I have decided to go to battle less often. I let things go which I would never have let go pre-cancer. Mostly it is a decision in relationship, “Do I want to be right or do I want to be in relationship?”. More and more often I choose relationship. It’s an art form. I make a decision to let something go and then my job is to keep reminding myself that I let that go for my health. It is like training a dog: Distract & Redirect. I can only imagine that this makes me an easier person to be around.
I am very much relieved that I have not gone through severe menopause symptoms with the estrogen-blocking Anastrozole. I had a few mild hot flashes in the first month but didn’t notice any greater difficulty with sleep. I do feel, though, that I’ve been catapulted into the next decade. I’m an early sixty-something and seems to me that I’ll look like a seventy-something within the year. When I look in the mirror in the morning I can’t really grok how much older my face looks. Also, weight gain. Those hard lost pounds are nipping at my heels and, at this point, gaining on me (pun intended).
Problematic, more these days than cancer, is the A Fib issue. I’m left to wonder if a lack of estrogen is contributing to this. It seems to be getting worse and is a drain on my energy. The last few days have been peppered with long (over an hour) or short (10 minutes or less) of atrial fibrillation several times a day but they are milder episodes. Metoprolol often has no effect, so instead of daily, I take it when I’m at my wit’s end. Sometimes that works. Like most mysteries, time will tell on this one. (Yes, I’m in the care of a cardiologist.)
I’m told that I’m due for a mammogram in a couple of months. I can’t imagine allowing them to squeeze my still-tender right breast into that machine. I think I’ll have to pass for awhile. Since my tumor did not show on a mammogram (Do I sound like broken record?) I’m ok with a breast exam (last month’s really hurt, “I’m sorry, Sweetie!”) and, if it’s offered, an ultra sound.
This update comes late because my interest in writing is waning. It’s funny how I really needed to write to process the ordeal of cancer. Now I feel the need to shed that and move forward.
Thanks for listening. Please feel free to share this with anyone interested in my experience of dealing with breast cancer in the year 2015.