The Annual

Written April 22, 2016

My husband’s chatter interrupts the silence on the drive to Juravinski Cancer Centre. He’s trying to draw me out. I’m ruminating, looping through memories. The usual build up to my annual appointment with the oncologist. April twentieth has been tucked away in my sub-conscious, like china hidden in an antique hutch. Today a change in medication may finally be possible. Three years post menopausal. It’s what I’ve been waiting for. Now I may be eligible to try a different class of drugs. A blood test will determine whether I have hit that necessary milestone or if it’s the Tamoxifen merely masking menopause.

What if I have to stay on Tamoxifen? That tiny white pill that I take each morning. A constant reminder, that chemistry is keeping cancer from settling back into familiar territory, growing tumors fueled by the estrogen in my body. I’m incredulous fighting back tears. What is wrong with me? I should be happy. Another annual is here. I am alive. I have my life, my family. But I’m screaming in my head, unable to respond to my husband’s chitchat. I’m too young to be in the throes of this shit. Hot flashes all bloody day –relentless at night. I don’t remember what it feels like to have uninterrupted sleep. To drift into blissful slumber, wrapped in a feather duvet. Instead night after night nausea grips, pores open, perspiration dampens every inch of my body. Suffocating waves of internal heat dominate everything, my thoughts my emotions. I need to escape. Then it abates. I have lost control of my body.

I feel the layer of flesh squishing out the top of my jeans hidden under my shirt. I refuse to stop wearing these tight pants. Pure defiance. I want to be reminded that I once fit in them. Is this masochistic? The rise of my jeans digs into me I imagine dimpling my stomach flesh. Every stitch and seam is imprinted in my swollen body. I could remove the pants leaving an invisible outline complete with a round button on the square of my belly. Tamoxifen bloats my body the same way pregnancy did.

Willowy memories of the old me tease and taunt. Long flowing hair, limber muscles, young and vibrant. I was immortal. The endless energy I once possessed now exhausts me. I miss her. I’m not ready to accept this aged version of me.

Uncomfortable  memories take hold. Poison coursing through my veins, hairless, terrified of not having the future I assumed I would. Finding the beauty in silence and stillness, savouring mortality in the ‘in between moments.’ The moments I once dismissed, irritated they didn’t bring productivity or purpose. Wallowing over my femininity – vanity -menopause swallowing me up. Feeling like I’m breathing underwater I push treatment and menopause out of the memory loop. I don’t want to dwell here any longer.

Is Tamoxifen my protector or arch enemy? Millions of women take it. Efficacious. Safe. Why can’t it be easy? It blocks estrogen from forming tumors. It’s brilliant. It’s a wonder drug. I should be content. I think of the three tumors that were cut from my breast leaving me unbalanced, and changed.

I turn my head when the nurse draws blood from my vein. I feel melancholy in every atom of my body. The loop keeps streaming but faster. I am a patient. I am sick. I am weak. I am vulnerable. Afraid. Tears fill my eyes. I know logically I am fine. This is a routine check. My hair is growing out. Energy is returning. I am fighting the aches and pains, working out five times a week trying to kick-start my slowing metabolism.

The oncologist inspects me. I already know what she’s going to say. I read it in her face –empathy, she asks if I’m tolerating Tamoxifen. I cringe knowing what will follow. She shares that a recent paper has been published and for younger patients like me there is more risk switching to another class of drugs at three years than staying on Tamoxifen.

Utterly defeated. I stop listening and begin countdown to December 2018 when I will go through this exact loop once again.

10 thoughts on “The Annual

  1. Your writing is as beautiful as you are. I cry when I read your work. I look forward to your book. And a lifetime of reading your blog.

  2. Kristen, you’re an amazing writer. And so bravely share the struggles you endure each day – most of which the rest of us can’t see. I send you love, my support, and will ask the universe to go easy. You’re an incredible lady. Stay strong. X

  3. I turned back into a sane, sort of intelligent person after the switch to 10mg Tamox. I wish you what ever it takes to get back to feeling like your real self. And a doctor who gets it.

  4. 2016 Jeep SRT Hellcat Price, Release date, Review, MPG
    2016 jeep srt hellcat, 2016 jeep srt hellcat price, engine, review, 2016 jeep srt hellcat release date, specs, mpg Cars in the highest groups, boca Raton or Boynton Beach area. 2016 Jeep SRT Hellcat Price, Release date, Review, MPG tile FP and floors, new York *. Direct the driver to tow your vehicle to a nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair shop, love those. Necessary via the lender as an 2016 Jeep SRT Hellcat Price, Release date, Review, MPG Element of the credit history settlement, we see that it was offered as first class flight. 2016 Jeep SRT Hellcat Price, Release …
    The post 2016 Jeep SRT Hellcat Price, Release date, Review, MPG appeared first on Mortgage.

    [url=http://laws.remmont.com]Motel News[/url]

  5. [url=http://remmont.com/category/rental/]finance calculator vehicle
    [/url]
    Is a One-Year Online MBA Worth It?
    year online mba The Is a One-Year Online MBA Worth It? pays this amount for you so that your debt will be lower when you get out of college, or model vehicle. Plus personalised tips on how Is a One-Year Online MBA Worth It? improve it, maruti Suzuki 800 problem. How do Is a One-Year Online MBA Worth It? get Is a One-Year Online MBA Worth It? free credit report, рЎРѕРЅР°СЂ 8 5 Рё видео С„Is a One-Year Online MBA Worth It?°Р№Р. Posting pics with photobucket, interest 292% pa. Incentive Programs, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable …
    The post [url=http://lease.remmont.com/is-a-one-year-online-mba-worth-it/]Is a One-Year Online MBA Worth It?[/url] appeared first on [url=http://lease.remmont.com] Lease[/url] .
    [url=http://remmont.com/]outdoor kitchen ideas
    [/url]
    [url=http://forum.advocat-ac.ru/viewtopic/p/363204/#363204/] my free annual experian credit report [/url]
    [url=http://www.sexy-costume.ru/clubs/198/absolyut/] how can i get my credit score for free [/url]
    [url=http://www.heroturko.net/user/MichaelEraw/] what’s my free credit score [/url]
    [url=http://obr.s4.xrea.com/cgi-bin/robbsx/robbsx3.cgi] my rewards visa card [/url]
    [url=http://bbs.xbwx.com/home.php?mod=space&uid=144578] citi credit card [/url]

    [u][b]BONUS 250 FREE LINKS SITE & BLOG [/b][/u]
    [url=http://renta.remmont.com/maui-rentals-vacation-condos-wailea-kihei-condo-rental-south-maui-hawaii-rent-to-own-housing/]Maui Rentals Vacation Condos: Wailea – Kihei Condo Rental: South Maui, Hawaii[/url]
    [url=http://renta.remmont.com/hertz-truck-van-rental-minivan-rental/]Hertz – Truck – Van Rental[/url]
    [url=http://renta.remmont.com/10-benefits-of-push-ups-benefits-of-doing-push-ups-what-makes-up-the-cardiovascular-system-what-makes-up-the-cardiovascular-system/]10 Benefits Of Push Ups – Benefits Of Doing Push Ups, what makes up the cardiovascular system[/url]
    [url=http://renta.remmont.com/oregon-coast-vacation-rentals-lodging-on-the-oregon-coast/]Oregon Coast Vacation Rentals – Lodging on the Oregon Coast[/url]
    [url=http://renta.remmont.com/cheap-apartments-for-rent-search-low-income-apartments-for-rent-mynewplace-cheap-apartments-cheap-apartments/]Cheap Apartments for Rent – Search Low Income Apartments for Rent, MyNewPlace, cheap apartments[/url]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *