"Don't spend time worrying about how you are going to die. Worry about how you are going to live today"

Friday, November 4, 2011

I Get By With A Little Help From My Pills

I have never been the type of person that liked taking pills or vitamins all that much.  When I use to get headaches, I would just try to wait it out and only take aspirin if it was really bad.  I just really didn't like to take anything.  Funny how things change after a breast cancer diagnosis!  These days I feel like a little old lady with my daily pillbox all ready to go!  This is a far cry from my pre breast cancer life for sure!

Since my diagnosis my perspective on pills and medication has changed significantly, but then again many things in my life have changed significantly.  In recent months I have said and done many things I would have never done before I was diagnosed.  I never would have thought that I would discuss my breasts with women I met over the Internet, let alone show them my breasts (gasp!) when we met in person.  I never thought I would blog about one of the most personal struggles of my life either, but here I am.  At this point, taking pills is no big deal to me anymore.  I guess I am glad to have medications to help me with treatment for breast cancer and other pills to help me deal with it.

Once I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my sleep went out the window.  It seems like being alone in the dark at night with my own thoughts is more than I can stand.  I guess I also realized that being a complete Type A personality is really hard when you have breast cancer.  I am the kind of person that over analyzes every situation from ever possible angle.  Do you have any idea what that is like day after day and night after night?  It's emotionally exhausting and the lack of sleep makes it physically exhausting.  I have discovered that I just can't stand that about myself anymore.  I just want some peace.  I want my brain to chill for a while so I can relax and enjoy my life. 

The breast cancer diagnosis plays games with your head.  No matter how much you try not to think about it, it is always there.  It lurks in the corner of your mind day after day and night after night.  It plants a seed of fear and anxiety that can grow like a wild weed if you don't do something with it.  I feel like over time the weed of fear and anxiety has grown slow, but it is still there.  Now that I am done with treatment I have more time to worry about it too.  I have to do something to make this easier. 

Many months ago, after weeks and weeks of little sleep, I finally caved and asked my medical oncologist for something to help me sleep.  I started taking Ambien.  When that didn't work, I started trying Xanax at night before bed.  That seemed to help me calm down and relax a bit so I could fall asleep.  I do sleep on Xanax but not near enough.   After ten months with little sleep, I finally talked to my new internist about other pharmaceutical options.  I guess I just can't do this on my own, so I started taking Lexapro.  I have only been on it for a few days so far so I don't know what to think quite yet.  I have noticed that I am having less hot flashes (bonus!) which many women that take these medications also experience.  I hope that continues!  I usually have several hot flashes every day and in the middle of the night from the tamoxifen I take. 

At this point, I guess I am getting by with a little help from my pills and I am O.K. with that.  Breast cancer is hard.  It is like nothing else I have had to conquer in my life.  So many things about it have taken me outside my comfort zone so what's one more thing?  I just want to do all I can to live a great, happy life cancer free and if pills help me do that, so be it.  So for now, I am getting by with a little help from my pills.

1 comment:

  1. Amen, sistah! We get by with a little help from our friends. For sure!