Saturday, September 1, 2007

Funny Post

Ha...gotcha! Have you ever noticed how women are encouraged to joke about menopause? Oye, the hot flashes! Cue laugh track.

Yesterday, I had at least twenty separate hot flashes, and none of them have been funny. Each one seemed to wash away a little bit more of me, like the surf carving away a sand castle. This morning I cried out to my husband as the worse one hit, a nearly indescribable combination of fire and ice, followed up by nausea and abdominal cramps. He stroked my soaking wet head as I trembled and wept.

I'm being turned into a eunuch. In my pelvis, there's a deadness. The flush of estrogen from my body also brings geriatric problems, like sometimes peeing myself when I cough or sneeze. I cried the last time it happened, as much from nostalgia as humiliation. I was a normal woman a little while ago...remember what that was like?

A friend naively asked, "can't you do hormone replacement therapy?" If you haven't gotten that memo, doctors no longer recommend estrogen replacement for menopausal women, especially those with estrogen-receptor sensitive breast cancer, such as myself. Instead, we are instructed to take tamoxifen, a drug that blocks estrogen. Kill the woman to save the person: that's the prevailing theory. Tamoxifen is carcinogenic in itself; taking it doubles the chance of endometrial cancer. I've haunted countless listservs looking for information from cancer survivors, and those taking tamoxifen uniformly complain of non-stop hot flashes, loss of libido, anorgasmia (inability to have an orgasm) and other problems associated with low estrogen. The term "castrated" is often used by women to describe their symptoms.

Anyway, a co-worker told me how she liked the way I mix up the content in my blog: funny combined with "sad, struggly stuff." I'm afraid my funny bone is estrogen-receptor sensitive, just like my cancer, and the sad, struggly stuff is what's left for now.


boyd said...


I think you've been brave beyond belief, and good natured in the face of some terrifically pissy circumstances. I guess the message here is that chemotherapy just can't be all giggles and good times. If it was we'd all be hanging out on street corners trying to buy the buzz. I sympathize with you, but can't even begin to imagine what you're going through. I suspect nobody "gets it" other than those that have shared the experience. I also suspect that your words, painful as they are to read...and painful as they are to write, will provide aid and comfort to women who are, or will in the future, take a similar stroll through hell.

Linda said...

you're an awesome blogger. bitingly funny.

The Fifty Foot Blogger said...

Thanks bro for your support. And thanks, Linda for thinking of me.