if you had told me a few months ago that by summer's end i would have added a few extra pounds, a little bit of acne, greasy hair, some serious hormone issues, fatigue, joint pain and an outbreak of hives, i probably might have gotten seriously depressed. that's what i have to look forward to approaching my 43rd birthday? are you kidding me? blah!
i would have stomped my foot and turned my back and kicked up a pretty big fuss about it all. i would have been mad as a mother hornet and i would have argued bitterly with you, no way! i am not going there. absolutely not! but here's the deal, i have been on some medication this summer which is causing all of these things (and more). and i still want to take it. i mean no one wants to gain weight and get acne in their forties...that stinks. i walked that path at 13, i have no desire to go back. BUT when you are diagnosed with estrogen positive cancer, you get to take an estrogen blocking drug called tamoxifen and your body becomes this little walking chemistry experiment: let's-see-what-happens-when-estrogen-is-blocked-from-a-woman's-body! well, the great news is there is a medication for my kind of cancer and the good news is i haven't developed any problems with facial hair...but some other things have gone slightly askew. i don't like it, but i'm pretty sure greasy hair and a few extra pounds are better than cancer.
unfortunately, the rash which attacked my body a few weeks back was not something i could handle. i was covered in hives and welts from my armpits to my thighs...and then it began to spread to my arms and legs. i initially thought bed bugs (i have no idea why i thought bed bugs) and then scabies...neither proved true. i went to the dermatologist for a scabies test and sat there on the table thinking, surely not, Lord. surely you wouldn't give me cancer and scabies in the same year. i felt a little like Job at that moment. my husband even jokingly called me Job-y. uuggh! actually, that's not all the funny. the scabies test was negative and that led me to finally call my oncologist. he told me to get off the tamoxifen immediately. i was having an allergic reaction to the medication. i hung up the phone and immediately burst into tears. (keep in mind i am, at the moment, still hormonally challenged). in my distress, my thoughts went something like this: but i need that drug. i need that estrogen blocker. it is what is keeping my cancer at bay. it is keeping me healthy and safe and alive. i started to tremble and that lead me to pray. and as i prayed, it became clear, i am absolutely not dependent on a drug. God is my protector, not tamoxifen. i am in His hands. the reoccurrence of my cancer is in His hands.
it has been three weeks since i stopped taking my medication. i can't tell you i am always calm about this fact. i am daily drinking these synergy drinks (organic and raw) from whole foods, in hopes they will naturally block the estrogen while i am drug free. the rash has mostly gone away, not completely, but much better. i am still feeling a little bit like a hormonal ticking time bomb though. perhaps some of you have noticed. i am absolutely certain my husband and children have!
i am writing today to ask for your prayers. i will meet with my oncologist this tuesday. we'll do some blood work and talk about other medication options. i have other options, i know that. i have much to rejoice in with my kind of cancer. i am thankful for good medicine and good doctors. i have been so blessed in this journey to find both already. i am also writing today to as a reminder (mostly to me) that God is in control. He was in control of the initial diagnosis and the radical surgery and He remains in control of the little bitty details of my medication. i love my doctors, i do! but i can't trust in doctors and medicine alone. we are thankful for both and, trust me, both are wonderful, but this little bump in the road is such a reminder to me that my faith has to be in God alone. i didn't even realize how much credit i was giving that little white pill until the doctor told me to stop taking it. i was amazed at my physical reaction to the news. sometimes we have things like that in our life. things we depend on so much and we don't even know it.
cancer has a way of setting you scared. i have never been jumpy about anything medical. but even this past month i went for an eye exam (another thing i am having some issues with -sigh). my eye doctor kept pausing and poking and huh-ing and hmm-ing. it seemed he was spending a good deal of time looking at something in my left eye. i sat there with my face pressed up against the machine as he tormented me with puffs of air and beams of light and i was certain, absolutely certain, something was desperately wrong. i have eye cancer! i am going blind! i just know it! none of that true, but, again, i realized i am a little on edge. a little unsure. a little vulnerable in the status of my health these days.
o Lord, my days are in your hands. you know everything about me. you know the workings of my body...you created it. you know the number of hairs on my head. you know the breaths i have left. you have written in your book every day of my life. please calm and quiet me and remind me of your power. my every breath is in your hands alone.
oh, and Lord, about that greasy hair, few extra pounds and acne...