Today is day 900. NINE HUNDRED. That's 900 days since my very first chemo treatment. In the weeks between d-day and that day, I had numerous tests, scans, procedures and a port placement surgery, but I consider my first day of chemo to be the day I began kicking cancer's ass.
(The 28 days before then, cancer pretty much kicked mine).
I will have to figure out what day 1000 will be and maybe have a party, because that seems like a pretty big milestone, right?
Overall I'm doing well in my post-cancer "new normal". My biggest issue (and admittedly, it's a big one) is pain. The medicine I take to block estrogen, Arimidex, has caused me to hobble around like an 80 year old woman. Everything hurts, even my pinkies! Take a look at the side effects:
Common side effects of Arimidex include hot flashes, weakness (, joint pain, pharyngitis (sore throat), hypertension, depression, nausea, vomiting, rashes, back pain, insomnia, headaches, coughing, shortness of breath and swelling of the lymph nodes or extremities…. asthenia (lack of energy & strength), arthritis, pain, fractures, back pain, pain, headache, bone pain, increased cough, dyspnea (shortness of breath), and lymphedema… onset of osteoporosis… increased cholesterol levels.
Other risks include severe allergic reactions, heart attack, stroke and liver dysfunction.
Serious adverse reactions with ARIMIDEX occurring in less than 1 in 10,000 patients, are: 1) skin reactions such as lesions, ulcers, or blisters; 2) allergic reactions with swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and/or throat. This may cause difficulty in swallowing and/or breathing; and 3) changes in blood tests of the liver function, including inflammation of the liver with symptoms that may include a general feeling of not being well, with or without jaundice, liver pain or liver swelling.
Of those, I have:
- hot flashes (some, but not unbearable)
- weakness (most definitely)
- joint pain (the biggie, and it's awful)
- depression (even taking "happy pills", I have a hard time being motivated to do anything)
- headaches (but I've always had those)
- asthenia (complete lack of energy)
- arthritis (mostly in my left elbow)
- lymphedema (in my left arm/hand)
Being in pain, having no energy, not being able to sleep despite feeling exhausted.... none of that is any fun. But being alive and cancer-free is so very much fun, so I will stick it out and hope in time that my side effects become more manageable.