Hello Menopause, Not So Nice to Meet You

My little brother brought me a bouquet of flowers yesterday.

I figured menopause would come sooner than the last couple of weeks as it is a common symptom of chemotherapy for breast cancer. I am now certainly glad it waited to rear its hot ugly head.We will limit the discussion of this beast to its most obvious side effect: hot flashes.

I think Mike keeps thinking I am crazy as I throw the dogs off my lap and start gasping for air (I have no idea why I gasp, you would think fanning myself would work better, but no… I gasp). It comes in waves, one flash after the other of pure head to toe heat. Leather chairs and couches appear to not be supportive of my cooling off efforts. My mom bought me temperature controlled moisture wicking sheets which have been a great help, but I still have to throw the covers off a few times throughout the night.

Mike came home the other day and remarked that the house was incredibly hot and checked the thermostat to discover that they AC wasn’t turned on. Now I have to check it regularly when it is sunny outside because I haven’t a clue half the time if it is on or not (the weather in Utah has been all over the place, summer hasn’t come yet, we have only had a few warm days, the rest of the time I have been convinced we were living in Seattle). Heat seems to kick in the flashes a bit more often, so I am probably a bit lucky that it hasn’t opted to get hot outside just yet.

It is anyone’s best guess on how long I will be in menopause. Normally it goes away a few months after stopping chemo, but the Tamoxifen I will be going on for 5 years can start it right back up again.

I have found that scarves work better in the heat and with the hot flashes, so I have recently switched to wearing scarves over the past couple of weeks. I keep thinking about the fact that I am getting closer to having hair again (oddly enough I miss my eyelashes more than the hair on my head). I did lose a lot of my eyebrows, they are a bit patchy and funny looking. I still have some hairs here and there on my head that continue to grow, so I never went completely bald.

I am a bit nervous about my appointments tomorrow. Tomorrow is what is/was supposed to be my final Taxol infusion. I am still going in and meeting with my oncologist to discuss why she opted that it was better for me to just stop now rather than have the final treatment (more on how all of that went down in a post tomorrow). They left my infusion appointment open in case I decide to still have them still give me the last infusion. I have an appointment with my plastic surgeon in the event that chemo is 100% over to see what can be done about bumping up my surgery date, June 29th is a long time to wait if I am done with chemo (I am also having some serious nerves about doing the lat flap surgery and want to discuss it more in depth). I would like to get the surgery over with, get radiation started and get my butt back in the office..

Author: Mandi

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