Most everything’s the same, and yet everything’s different – I’m still having hot flashes, and night sweats, and general body aches, none of that has altered; the old problems are all still there, along with some new ones but – and, as my friend Beverly is wont to say, it’s a big ‘but’:
I’m no longer hideously depressed; I’m no longer counting the number of times I consider suicide per day; everything isn’t that dull flat useless why-even-bother gray reality. And thank ye gods and little fishes for that, because that’s just not worth putting up with. Another few seasons of bad TV on my computer might well have done me in permanently; they would have found me fused to my office chair, slackjawed and unresponsive, ‘Hoarders‘ still cued up and playing.*
Who would have thunk it? Just a dash of estradiol, and the life you save may be your own. The estring*, gentlefolk – I’ve accepted it as my personal savior.
Like so many personal saviors, it may end up shortening my life span -the estradiol circulating through my system, even in these minute amounts, could potentially feed any already existent mini metastases; hasten their growth and my demise. Estradiol’s not going to create any new cancers – but if there are existing ER+ cancer cells, they’ll grow faster with a dash of estradiol, and become apparent that much sooner.
It’s a quality of life question for me – and because I have neither children nor live in partner, I get to be utterly selfish; I get to choose me. For me, there’s no point in having a possibly longer utterly wretched life; that game’s not worth the candle. I can deal with sleeping with a towel because of night sweats, I can cope with the constantly interrupted sleep; I can deal with the rapid onset of body aches and generalized creakiness; I can deal with hot and cold flashes throughout the day and the resulting quick change wardrobe requirements; I can deal with the new need for twice daily moisturizing (boring!); I can deal with lingering lymphedema and nerve entrapment in my left arm – I don’t *like* any of these things, but I can deal with them, I can manage with only moderate whinging.
I can’t deal with being plunged into severe clinical depression as a result of biochemical fuckery. I refuse to accept that as my quality of life.
I’ll take the risk, and the lighter state of being, and I’ll deal with recurrence when and if it happens.
* My Advance Health Care Directive is filled out and on file, btw – is yours?
* not ‘e-string’ but ‘est-ring’ – a low dose, slow dose, estradiol ring. Many oncologists feel that use of the estring by women who have had breast cancer is acceptable because there is minimal systemic absorption – though obviously there’s *some*.