After breast cancer treatment I'm left with the drug Arimidex which I must take (as close to) the same time every morning for 5 years as an aid in preventing a reoccurence. It's the tiniest, simple little white tablet. It works by preventing the synthesis of estrogen, the estrogen that can increase the severity of breast cancer. I've been taking it for 14 months. I don't want to stop taking it. But....
I cannot begin to tell you the impact it has on my body. From a bouncy, nature-loving hiker to a woman who cannot stand for longer than five minutes at times, with pain in my bones and muscles that brings me to tears when no one's looking, and all over body aches that keep me awake most nights. Fearing opioid dependency I use CBD oil and Ibuprophen. But a couple nights a month I can't do anything take the Vicodin. Neck, back and shoulder pain as well. My ankles no longer allow me to pivot and my body needs to learn three point turns like a kid in driver's ed. I'm a grown woman who goes up and down stairs now like a toddler. Stepping down the curb is no longer simple and it's very sad, and it's very humbling. Hot flashes, foggy brain, decreased memory, profuse sweating. My eyesight has changed. Yeah, all these things too. But what would you do?
My only option is to go off of it and slowly feel these side effects resolve (just a side note as an example: while trying to pull the word resolve out of my brain it kept going to reside. I had to stop. Close my eyes. Rest my cheeks on my hands. And sort through both definitions to find the right choice. It took about a minute because everything just went blank for that length of time. Words, writing, these are my gifts, my joy, my passion. The real me does not have trouble finding and using the word resolve.)
All this, but the worst possible side effect that just destroys me? The dentist saying he thinks it is effecting the roots of my teeth. If I lost my smile I don't know what I would do. It's my window to the world. My treasure.
I'm telling you all this in detail, but if you saw me on the street it would be subtle on the outside - you'd probably just think, "Boy she's aged." and tease me. And I would laugh.
You all know I have a very positive attitude in life. I truly do. But sometimes I just think these reminders need to be spoken. The day to day, unseen strife, the aftermath of the cancer when diagnosis and treatment are over. When the oncologist tells you to "Go out and live your life!" It is joy beyond description, but still remaining are the things people don't see.
But they exists.