Monday, March 14, 2011


So, I lived with swelling all of last week and didn't really do much about it, but complain.....out loud, but only my husband was around, and so it may as have been under my breath. He doesn't like to hear me complaining - I do appreciate that....a person doesn't get anywhere complaining. But Thursday, last week, I woke up and my ankles were still huge, my hands and wrists were all swelled up, and my eyelids. And painful..... I called the Doctor. They called me back and told me to go directly to the Emergency Room....NOW. And of course I sat on the phone and asked if I could just go to urgent care, they are cheaper for my insurance and I tried to explain.... the nurse wanted nothing of my explanation, and said go now. And I was headed to the Corvallis ER.

I get there, they check me in, I get a room. On my way, I call Jeremy, Darcy, and my mom to let them know what was going on. But really I knew nothing of what was going on, and had nothing to say except I was swollen. So Jeremy was in Seattle for training and he was going to devise a plan to get home from there and would be on his way. But I also told him that he should just wait until test results come back before he jumps that ship. And besides, I knew my mom was going to leave work so I knew someone would be there with me.

In my room, I am hanging out in my pretty hospital gown, and waiting for the doctor to come in. He does, checks me out, and pushes on my various swollen parts. Disgusting is all I have to say about that. He pushed on my ankles first and boy did it leave a humungous dent....gross! Then way up my leg into my calf he pushed and I was swollen there too.....hahahaha I just thought I really was that fat, so it felt good to say I was swollen.....

They drew blood. They were checking my liver and kidney function because that can be one cause of swelling, and he didn't think it was a blood clot because in theory I wouldn't be evenly swollen all over. I waited.....

An hour and a half later.....normal bloodwork, all looks good. I wait. About a half hour or probably longer, by now I have lost all track of time, the doctor comes in with an ultrasound machine because he wants to check my legs for clots. So he runs the thing on my upper thigh in my carotid artery on both sides and behind my knees (apparently those are the places to see a clot), and nothing. I am fine. My ER trip proved to be expensive and nothing..... I am sent home with, "You have edema. Dr. Lee (my oncologist) says to stop taking the Tamoxifen, take this water pill we will be giving you, and follow up with Dr. Lee next week."

So, if you have read any of my other posts, the Tamoxifen is what is blocking any of the estrogen positive cells remaining in my body that might be cancerous. I take this for the next five years to prevent chane of recurrence. Studies have shown that by doing this you cut your risk in half, so mine would go below 5% by taking this. It is hormone therapy, and is really doing a number on my body, and here it goes again, giving me Edema - which is caused by hormone changes, thus swelling me up like a baloon. And mind you I have only been on this for about 4 weeks.

And you can bet as soon as I leave, I call Dr. Lee's office and make my appointment - it is today at 4:30 - and try to find out more of why I am stopping this very important drug. I speak with the nurse and she tells me that even though this drug is good for my recurrence rate, we have to weigh the risks and benefits, and right now the risks are overtaking the benefits -my severe hot flashes, no sleep, restlessness, fatigue, muscle aches, and now edema. Huh, makes sense.

Well, after all of this, Jeremy really wants me to stop this stuff, he sees my quality of life is just deteriorating because of this. He thinks since I have had the mastectomy and chemo, my onco-type score was low, 18, my risk is already low. I have been off of Tamoxifen now since Thursday night, and I have had the best sleep of my life on Friday, Saturday nights. Last night wasn't so great, too much thinking about my mortality.

I see Dr. Lee today.....and I cannot wait. I don't want to go back on the stuff, but I also know by not, the nasty cancer could come back. But whose to say it doesn't come back if I take the drug. More decisions are to be made.......lovely!

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