Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tamoxifen sucks

I haven't written about Tamoxifen for a long long time.  Maybe the reason I've been silent on the subject is because of what I learned from Mr. Rabbit.  (you know, Thumper's dad.  you remember, in Bambi.)  Anyway, Mr. Rabbit told Thumper one morning, and then Mrs. Rabbit reminded Thumper later that same day when Thumper was telling everyone he didn't think Bambi walked all that well, "if you can't say something nice... don't say nothing at all."

I haven't got anything nice to say about Tamoxifen today.  So, (following my movie quote theme) I'm going to quote the beautiful Clairee Belcher in Steel Magnolias when she said, "if you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!"

Please sit right down and join me.

I'll start with telling you that I AM TIRED.  I haven't slept a full night through in more than two and a half years.  I am sure that by now I have a serious sleep debt.  My energy level is super low.  It has come to a point where the effort of sitting erect for nine hours, five days a week is exhausting to me.  Who would have thought that sitting in a chair can become exhausting?

I am so tired that the thought of doing any exercise at all seems completely out of the question.  Everyone tells me that if I do some exercise it will improve my energy level, but where does one find the energy to exercise when they are so tired?  This is what is known as a Catch 22 (another movie reference).

One of the reasons I can't sleep is the horrible terrible really bad night sweats.  (trust me, there are no movie references about this.  even the scariest horror movie would not mention the dreaded night sweats.)  The tremendous variation in comfort, going from boiling hot to freezing cold is a rude awakening that happens at least once a night.  And, the fact that this has been going on for two and a half years... my mattress is shot.  There is no point in purchasing a new mattress since I have two and a half more years to be on the stuff.  Dang Tamoxifen!!

Another reason Tamoxifen sucks was reinforced at my house last night.  Every night, or pretty much every night, at 9:00 p.m. I have a hot flash.  I'm not exactly sure why it is called a flash?  It isn't over in a flash.  It usually takes a good 45 minutes to an hour to recover from a particularly strong hot flash.  This isn't too bad, if I'm home alone, or even with my husband (because after my bout with menopause and the first two and a half years of Tamoxifen, he is used to the dreaded hot flash.  he gives me room.).  In this case I typically strip out of my shirt and either go outside or stand in front of the open freezer, whichever is cooler.  Last night I couldn't do either... my son was over.  Last night my son was visiting and he wanted my attention.  He wanted me to look at a Walking Dead video game on YouTube.  He knows I am a WD fan and typically I would enjoy this.  Simultaneously, my husband was texting me and asking me to find the link for my blog about WWII love to share with his cousin.  All I had was my phone and blogger reader makes searching for a blog post in the detail portion of blogger nearly impossible.  Add that to my frustration of being a sweaty mess and feeling like I may burst into flames at any second and my son giving me crap for not looking at his YouTube video, well... I spoke with a tone in my voice.

The tone was an unpleasant tone.  I even texted my husband with an unpleasant tone.  Everyone (my son and my husband and since my husband was on the texting end of my unpleasant tone, he was affected at a lesser degree.) thought I was angry when the truth of the matter was that I was EXTREMELY uncomfortable.

My son was hurt.

I told him I was having a hot flash and I was uncomfortable.  He asked me what a hot flash was.  I told him to come near me.  He did.  He sat next to me on the couch and said, "wow, you're hot."  (not in a good way)  I agreed.  I said I was hot and I would appreciate it if he would open a window.  He did.  He asked if it was better.  It wasn't, but I said it was.  This went on for about 15 minutes.  I told him it was going to be a while until I felt better.  He said he was leaving and going back to his house.  I hope when the day comes, and I really hope that day comes for him, that he has to be comforting and tolerant of a woman in the throws of a hot flash, he will remember this moment.  He probably won't.

Tamoxifen sucks.

Enjoy the movie scene of Catch 22. 

410.  Tamoxifen is, so far, keeping me from breast cancer
411.  I haven't had any of the very scarey side effects of Tamoxifen
412.  I got to use both affect and effect in this blog post and I used them correctly
413.  Thinking about the movie Steel Magnolias always makes me smile
414.  I have a new book to read on my kindle
415.  AAPL has been up HARD this week
416.  Another beautiful fall-like day in mid August
417.  Talking to my husband on the phone this morning (I woke him up)
418.  Crepe myrtles blooming everywhere
419.  Finding my boss's iPad mini for him (he's grateful to me, that's a good thing)
420.  Tomorrow is Friday


  1. oy, yea, get out of the way in that moment and let it roll....def not looking forward to that...

    WD is a very cool show much more than just zombies....

  2. It sounds like a difficult time, but I'm glad that the tamoxifen sucks less than cancer.

  3. I don't handle hot well - I get irritable and don't cope well:( So sorry you have to go through this. I keep post-its at my work station or on my bathroom mirror, with names of people I pray for - either because they ask it or because something tells me they need it - I can't remember unless I "post-it" - Your name has been on my bathroom mirror for over a year now - I've thought a few times maybe it was time to take it down - but something kept telling me no - I know why now:) Continuing to pray for you:)

  4. Thank you so much. I cannot express the gratitude I have for prayers from readers. The hot flashes are very uncomfortable, but like Syd says, tamoxifen suck much less than cancer would.

  5. You are so right about this. I hope I don't sound ungrateful for the drug.

  6. have you tried black cohosh? I've used it for about 5 years now and it really helps. I was having constant hot flashes, but black cohosh has nearly eliminated them. I still have an occasional warm flash, but it doesn't last long. I will never go off the stuff. I get it at my local health food store. I think mine has some clover it it too. It's about 6 bucks for two months.

  7. Sadly, black cohosh, like soy and other estrogen stimulants are contraindicated when on tamoxifen. :(


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