Two years ago, on May 20, 2015, I had my lumpectomy. That was followed with 4 rounds of chemo, 3 weeks apart, and 33 radiation treatments. After that, and after getting rid of a stubborn, gut-busting cough, I started 5 years of hormone treatment (it should be called anti-hormone treatment).
In the last month I’ve seen my oncologist and everything looks ship shape. Got a follow-up diagnostic mammogram and ultrsound. Everything still looking good.
I did sink pretty low over the winter, however. Beaten down by the Trump campaign and then hit by the realization that the real problem was that in almost every way I’d aged 10 years in just 18 months. It proved to be a lot to handle for someone who is usually pretty low during the winter anyway. Weakness, fatigue, hot flashes, shorter attention span, weight gain, occasional forgotfulness, concern about arthritis aches never experienced before, and the prospect of bone loss. Most of that is the symptoms of aging brought about by the loss of all estrogen. So by the time I get off the hormone meds in three years, I’ll be 77 or 78 years old, and doubt that stopping the hormone treatment will have me rebounding to what I was before the cancer.
The hope brought by the passage of Colorado’s End of Life Options bill failed to cheer when I realized my son, with my medical power of attorney, had converted to Catholicism several years ago, along with his wife. She’s the one who told me she absolutely could not vote for the bill. And it dawned on me during sleepless nights that they probably wouldn’t help me if I wanted any life-ending drugs or assistance. I ended up crying in the middle of many nights, distraught and anxious all the time. Finally my primary care doctor prescribed some Lexapro (for anxiety and depression), and things improved considerably over the next two months. However, it does make me sleepy, which kills the desire to get out and do stuff, and I really need to be rehabbing in some way.
So that’s basically the way it’s gone. It wasn’t over when it was over. The depression/anxiety blindsided me at a time I thought I was well past the worst of everything.