Tamoxifen—let’s just say it, it’s a trip. Before I was put on the drug last year, my husband and I asked the oncologist, the surgeon and the radiologist, “What about the side effects? How does it impact mood? I wish I had recorded the reactions! First the faces, then the sounds. A lot of “ooooooooooohhhh”, “welllllllllllll”, and “hmmmmmm.” Hilarious. The tone and expressions said it all--- not good. The oncologist did say that it’s hard to parse out what’s Tamoxifen and what’s menopause. Oh joy! A double whammy! Even with their reactions, it seemed a clear choice to go on the drug, so on it I went.
Let’s talk about the night sweats first. OK not pleasant. I’ve figured out that they normally get triggered after my middle of the night bathroom run, so I’ve started bringing a cold washcloth back to bed. Seriously it helps. Sometimes I need two. When I’m done, I just hang it over the headboard until I need it again! Problem solved. Now the blanket situation is a bit trickier. I am normally cold blooded; I like to sleep in sweatshirts and under three down comforters. Do you see where I’m going? This presents a dilemma when you are suddenly drenched and need to escape everything quickly---oh and without waking up the sleeping husband (Thank God we have a King—but is there anything bigger?) So I’ve come up with another solution, first I’ve taken all of Gordon’s old T-shirts and cut the necks out (very attractive ladies) and that’s my go to PJ’s. They are big and roomy and absorbent. I put a sweatshirt on when I go to bed, but take it off on the washcloth-nightly bathroom run. Is this sounding too complicated? Honestly, this crazy process working! When I slip back in to bed, I don’t put the covers on and just wait being washed in sweat. By the way, does any one else mostly just get it on their chest? Ew. It’s gross. I think the Tamoxifen has given me more vivid dreams too. I kick Gordon a lot in my sleep and he has to wake up from some dreams because I’m whimpering. Again, very sexy! My sleep sucks and so does his!
So back to moods, save the best for the last right? Gordon should probably have his own blog on this topic—actually that is a very bad idea! As for my mood on Tamoxifen, unless it’s a bad day, I really don’t notice. One of my friends said something very funny t about her five years on it….she said, “I was always a bitch, so I don’t really think it affected me!” I almost choked I laughed so hard. I’ve reframed Tamoxifen through the help of another friend and survivor; Jane called it her “warrior drug.” I like it. Strong, fighting, tough. Good one Jane.
So there it is. Life with cancer. Sometimes it makes me hot, sometimes it makes me a little edgy, sometimes it make me laugh, but mostly it makes me feel grateful for having come through.
Tamoxifen is my daily reminder that I had cancer, what’s yours?