Cancer wise, things are stable. My mammograms in January were clear, no changes from last time. Which is great. I switched aromatase inhibitors -- the daily pill to keep estrogen at bay in my body -- from femara to exemestane. They're all good, although femara is the most aggressive for me, according to Kristine (my oncologist). Switching was hard. But. I was literally falling over from foot pain on it, and it was impacting everything. So I switched, with fear, to something less aggressive. And my feet feel better. Part of my understands that quality of life is important, especially that part that isn't making decisions where quality of life makes continuation of life more risky. But I can't dwell (I do anyway) -- I've moved on to exemestane. Now I have numbness in my hands and feet, but it doesn't hurt. It's just weird. If it gets really bad (how to quantify? who knows), I guess we'll switch again? The first of the few ladies (7-10ish ladies? it was a rather informal gathering) who were part of my online "support group" during treatment, who were diagnosed early stage (1-3), is now metastatic. She had a few large tumors removed from her brain. Her stage was higher-numbered than mine. Somehow it isn't much comfort. She was diagnosed before she was 30. So she's 31 or so, now.
My mental state is up and down. My wonderful doctor in that realm has me on lithium now. When she suggested it, I was like, that's very one flew over the cuckoo's nest. Right? Well, I'm flying. It's working great. She thinks, based on the past couple of years of trying different meds and watching the experiment that is "see what Natasha's brain does," that maybe I have low grade mood disorder and not depression. Sometimes, antidepressants worsen mood in people with mood disorders rather than depression, which may be why they've worked for a while and then stop. A ha? Whatever. The downside of lithium, other than stigma which I don't feel generally in life because who cares, is that you have to get checked that it isn't screwing up your thyroid, and that you're not getting lithium overdose. The upside (that's for you, Beth, "at least") is that since I get my blood checked cancer-wise every 3 months anyway, we can roll all those tests into a single poke!
My nose. OK so here: In 2011, I went to see these ENTs because I kept having these recurrent sinus infections. This one who I liked, let's call him Dan (that's his name), was like, man, that sounds shitty, why don't we do an environmental allergy test and a CT scan and go from there. So I'm all, great! And I show up to my allergy appointment, and I'm like, "Hi! Hey guess what guys? I'm pregnant, I just peed on a stick a coupla days ago!" And they're all, That's great! Go away, pregnant lady, no allergy tests or scans for you. See us later. So then I have this baby (let's call him Kid2) and then he Just. Won't. Sleep. So about nine months of not sleeping later, he gets a sleep study, which determines that..... drumroll please.... there is nothing wrong, except he seems to not sleep. And I survive that, and take a deep(ish) breath and start again -- OK, time to go to the ENT. No wait, let's do cancer instead. So now we're here, and it's 5 years later, and I've had my allergy test and the CT scan and basically, my nasal anatomy is really FUBAR. It's a miracle I'm breathing at all. I got a cold of some sort last August in Boston and I've basically been not breathing well ever since, which is some really fucked up shit, yo. Anyhow - surgery next week. It's scheduled for over three hours, which is messed up. Three hours up in my nose? I'm not looking forward to recovery, except for the part where Craig's mom is coming to cook and take care of my kids. For that I can build her a bridge to paradise, because it sounds like paradise.
But here's the worst part of all of this: I've learned some really tough lessons recently. That no matter how willing you are to put yourself out there (and can you see I'm willing?), sometimes, stuff happens in life that is too hard to tell or write about. That no matter how beloved a friend is, sometimes stuff happens that tears those bonds apart. That no matter how awful things are, they can get worse. It's been a ridiculously difficult few months for reasons. I almost feel like surgery and recovery is going to be a respite! At least it's just physical.
On that note of dismay, I'll bid you adieu. Catch ya on the flip side!