So it’s the beginning of breast cancer awareness month and I’m going to make this short. My mammogram is coming up on October 19. My maternal PapPap’s birthday is that day. He would have been turning 96. My childhood memories at Sarie and PapPap’s house are forever treasured (and yes my grandma’s name was Sara, where SaraGrace came from – Grace means Gift, in our case for adoption). And while we’re talking about names, her middle name Jane, came from Dan’s mom who passed when he was 3.
So back to the subject of my blog, I don’t have much to write about cancer days. I’m 7 years out and you’d think it was a thing of the past. However I’ve been taking a drug called Tamoxifen for 7 years now. It’s an antiestrogen pill, also known as an estrogen suppressor, medication. It is a popular selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM). In the beginning, back in 2009, I was supposed to take it for 5 years to prevent the cancer from coming back. Last year, research showed taking it 10 years was more beneficial. However, it comes with a lot of side effects. The most common are fatigue, weight gain, mood swings, depression, headaches, hair thinning, etc. I won’t go into the details of the side effects that are embarrassing but just know there are more. There are other less common side effects including uterine cancer. Let me also say that not every woman has this option, because some cancers do not have the estrogen component, so the fact that I was able to take this drug for the past 7 years I am grateful.
Most of you know I switched oncologists when mine moved to Asheville to research. Both he and my new oncologist said my cancer was advanced and aggressive enough to stay on Tamoxifen for the 10 years they are now suggesting. But here I am at year 7 and I’m over it. For me, the worst side effects have been anxiety, hypothyroidism, moodiness and weigh gain. I’ve decided that 7 years is enough. I’ve been having withdrawl symptoms for the past week which are not fun.
I am grateful to be where I am. Just a tad anxious if I make the wrong decision, but for me, in the now, it’s the right decision to make. I will still be continue to have yearly MRIs and mammograms on alternating six month intervals and I am passing it over to God from here on out. Please continue to donate to the breast cancer orgs, pray that I made the right decision, pray for my mammogram apt, and pray my withdrawl symptoms go away quickly.
Cancer already took a lot from me. It took my life in 2009. It took my hair, my health, my eye brows, my eye lashes, my family’s sense of safety, my family’s perfect story, my ability to carry children, etc. But I can’t say all that without acknowledging it gave my children, for which all of the above is worth it and meant to be.
I’ll leave it with my favorite lyrical quote “When I find myself in times of trouble, mother my comes to me, speaking words of wisdom. Let it be. Let it be. And in my hour of darkness, she is standing there in front me. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be, let it be.