You’ve got to love it when you are so careful to recognize minute changes in your life that they continue to become clues towards cultivating happiness! Seriously, it is amazing. So, as the last entry left us, I had finally decided to go back to Femara only after attending the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium with 8 thousand research clinicians, trying an alternative therapy tea, and realizing that knowledge can be empowering but accepting that knowledge sometimes takes time.
As it turned out, after I started Femara, it would take exactly one month to change my life yet again. Within that time, I was in Seattle for the Conference for Young Women known as C4YW with my fellow survivor BFF who shares my birthday even though she is 16 years younger than me. Let me tell you, she is fabulous, plus she also went to Texas A&M. I adore her. Seattle reminded me just how much I missed Colorado. But we made up for my sadness by visiting the Boeing Aviation Plant where I’ve never seen so many planes! I didn’t know until I got there, that being there would be on my bucket list. I could not get enough of it’s enormity. Trust me when I say, if you’ve loved airplanes and airports since you were a kid and adore flying, then you must plan on visiting Boeing and taking the tour. I even got a Boeing smushed penny complete with a bracelet that holds the penny! Plus, you know you are exactly where you are supposed to be when you meet a new friend when registering for the real YSC Tour de Pink West Coast when you find out that she lives in Spain and after talking about living in France, she asks exactly where I lived. After I say “Sciez” like she will not know of this little village on the lake, her face goes blank and she puts her IPHONE in my face revealing a text she had JUST received from her husband telling her that he’s in Sciez visiting a friend at that exact moment.
Really. I read the text and then my face went blank. We did the Now way? No, No way! Really? OMG Really! It was thrilling for me. I will visit Sciez someday soon.
Being at the conference made me feel anxious and frustrated because I felt as if I was missing something. What I didn’t know was that the next day, I started my period! When this happens, we all know that you can not take Femara because this means you are not in menopause and makes the drug useless for you. But for some reason, I was still confused in my head because my OB/GYN and a Fertility specialist both confirmed that even though I would have a period, that I was in fact postmenopausal, but now I was just not buying it anymore. Things change. Something is just not right.
Then, after less than 24 hours in Houston, I am flown to the East Coast for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Review where I am one of four patient advocates for the Molecular Biology Genetic Panel. Having arrived early, I stayed in my room to watch The Makers on PBS that just blew my mind because it was so good. But the rest of the week I felt like I was in my own scientific heaven-like experience. My panel of researchers were mesmerizing as we discussed breast cancer research. I was there for my expert opinion and I was shy at first but soon got used to making my point and that felt great because we were all truly listening. That was my first job since I was diagnosed and it was exactly what I needed. I left there completely inspired, excited and happy to be alive. I had found my professional voice and used it!
As soon as I returned, I had to go to Rice for class, then to the Ballet, and then to the Capitol in Austin to advocate for the inclusion of educated patient advocates within CPRIT when I emerged from the parking garage feeling like I was done and could finally take a breath. What now? All I knew was that I needed to drive to YogaYoga West and I did. My car just went there knowing that I couldn’t afford to register for Gurucharan’s two-day intensive class, but I went anyway. It was almost my birthday and I’d decided that I really wanted to spend it there with them. I was prepared to call my mother and tell her why this was exactly what I wanted for my birthday when I checked my account and cheered seeing that a long-awaited deposit had finally arrived! I walked in thrilled that I was going to stay and attend his class. Dr. Gurucharan Singh Khalsa lives in Oregan and usually speaks to large groups of 300 or so, but for two full days I sat 8 feet in front of him with people from all over the country totaling less than fifty.
On my first day of class while engaged in short (11 minutes) and long (30+ minute) meditations, I could feel my right carotid artery pulsing with what felt like sludge as I focused on breaking through any unconscious blocks. It actually hurt, as I would rub my neck. It was a slow and throbbing feeling like motor oil was trying to venture through my veins when it occurred to me later that night when taking my supplements that I had taken a Femara the night before! Like I said before, my doctors kept telling me that I was in fact in menopause again, when I finally realized that they don’t know me NOW! Finally, I put the Femara back in it’s bottle after taking it out of my weekly pill dispenser. For my birthday, I was completely enthralled to continue class fully empowered by my progress.
When I got back from Austin, I made an appointment to see my Oncologist and that’s when I told him the news and finally agreed with him that I was in fact out of menopause and needed Tamoxifen again. But this time I wanted to try taking 5mg twice a day to see if I could tolerate it and he agreed! Learning this from SABCS, my doctor was thrilled to get as much of the drug into me as possible at any rate. Right now I am taking it only at night and depending on how I feel in a few months, I may add in the morning dosage. But knowing that I’ll be on this for up to ten years, I am in no rush. Plus, the medication is $10 dollars per month. Like Dr. Yen says, anything is better than nothing. So, I am trying to be consistent and taking it slow this time. And you know what, I’ve never felt better! Well, for now!