Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tamoxi-fun? (also known as Tamoxifen)

I started hormone therapy about the same time I started radiation. Of the two radiation seemed more immediately severe but that isn't to say I wasn't worried about tamoxifen. In fact, I had a full-blown melt down the night I had to start it. You see, I'd had the misfortune of reading the internet.

I need to remind myself that often people that comment and post on the internet are there because they have an axe to grind. They want to complain and they want people to listen. I'm not saying that isn't valid or even that people shouldn't do that, it's just that when you start doing research about the drug you have to take for the next FIVE years and everyone on every message board is talking about how it is ruining their lives, you start to worry. I was imagining the next five years being a slightly better version of the 4 months of (mostly) hell I'd just completed and trying to tell myself that even a shitty five years was better than no years at all. This was of little consolation.  So what did I do? Well, I cried, a lot. I felt sorry for myself. I whined while Paul dutifully listened. And then, I took the pill.

I got some great advice when I first started taking it, which I will pass along. I take the drug just before bed. I heard through the grapevine of cancer connections that doing this seems to make the side effects much less noticeable. I don't know if I'm just lucky or if this bedtime thing really is the key but tamoxifen (for me, at least) is hardly noticeable. The list of potential side effects is long and depressing. I won't get into it here, you can find that list easily in many places across the internet. I'm just here to say that there is one woman out there taking this drug who isn't having any noticeable side effects. I mean, I think I've had some hot flashes/flushes/whatever the hell they are called, but I can't really be sure. For someone who is always really cold, these bursts of heat have actually been kind of a nice change. And I read somewhere that tamoxifen interacts with grapefruit so that is off the table, literally, for the next five years.

All in all, this has been a great relief. I'd like to say in the future I will wait to have freak outs until I actually have something to worry about, but we all know that just isn't going to happen. Case in point - I have my first round of investigative medical testing on the 6th (totally normal and just to check in, by the way) and I'm already worrying. Even though I'm in a pretty good spot, with pretty good odds. I guess some things never change.


  1. I hope the pill at least gives you some sort of low-level superpower like being able to predict train delays or being able to get all the seeds out of a pomegranate with just one whack...

  2. Oh the low-level superpower possibilities. My personal favorite: always sensing if a bathroom is out of toilet paper.