A journal of my experiences with breast cancer to inform those who are interested and to help any one else who might have just been diagnosed.

“[She] will have no fear of bad news; [her] heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Psalm 112:7

Friday, April 12, 2013

On Tamoxifen

It has been quite a while since I have written to this space. I am sorry for the absence, but I wasn't sure what to write or how to write it. Some of the side effects of the Tamoxifen have been affecting me. 

First of all, let me go back a bit and tell you that when the Oncologist gave me the medication, he also gave me a list of the possible side effects...

  • sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;
  • sudden severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance;
  • chest pain, sudden cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, fast heart rate;
  • pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in one or both legs;
  • nausea, loss of appetite, increased thirst, muscle weakness, confusion, and feeling tired or restless;
  • unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge;
  • irregular menstrual periods;
  • pain or pressure in your pelvic area;
  • blurred vision, eye pain, or seeing halos around lights
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
  • new breast lump
  • upper stomach pain, itching, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice
  • hot flashes;
  • bone pain, joint pain
  • swelling in your hands or feet;
  • vaginal itching or dryness;
  • decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm;
  • headache, dizziness, depression; or
  • thinning hair
homeschooling through hard timesThis is not a complete list of side effects, but it is enough to tell you that I looked at the list once and then put it on the fridge because there are so many, I didn't want to get myself paranoid and become a hypochondriac about it. Sam read them and committed it more to memory so that he could know if I was experiencing any of them, (he is a sweet kid like that) and he tells me when I do list one of them. The first thing I noticed was some depression now and then. I have found out, though, that usually if I mention it to someone, they tell me things like it is reasonable for me to be depressed from time to time because of all that I have been through in the last year, which I guess is true, but it also doesn't quite fit how this depression is. The most depressing aspect of my life right now is that my neurological symptoms have returned somewhat, but this depression really seems to have nothing really to do with that. It really feels chemical in that I will have this sudden feeling come over me and I don't have any particular thoughts going through my mind at the time. I review my thoughts to make sure it isn't some negative thing that has happened that I have repressed or something. It is not like anything I have ever experienced before. The depression lifts just as suddenly and inexplicably as it arrives. I am sure it is a side effect of the medication, but it doesn't make it any less real. It is really disconcerting for me because my personality is such a look-on-the-bright-side and make lemonade out of lemons that I don't know quite how to deal with it. It is like my personality is taken away ever so often.
I have checked off other side effects such as losing my balance, loss of appetite, tiredness, thinning hair and flu-like symptoms, but the depression is the only one that has been difficult.
Thank you all so much for your prayers and blessings. We continue to need them.
 photo 79396fe0-1f8b-44f8-a90e-f8ca7bfa801e_zpsa74bcc3b.jpg


  1. I'm sorry you're going through this. Depression sucks no matter what's causing it. I'll be praying for that side effect to subside quickly. How long will you be on this drug?

    1. Thank you for the prayers. It is getting better. I will be on Tamoxifen for at least five years.

    2. That's a really long time! How are you feeling this week?

    3. Much better. The power of prayer and some good friends.

  2. Oh my 5 years of that will be very long. I'll be praying your body adapts and the side effects go away completely (why pray for anything less?).

    I love you sweet lady.

  3. Remember your Isaiah 40:31 verse on my fridge. I'm praying and wil put the depression on top!

    1. Thank you. You see I put the verse on the sidebar, too.

  4. Oh Phyllis, I am so sorry you have deal with all of this :( Depression is a terrible thing, and all of those other side effects?! Whew! It is so amazing to me that the side effects are part of something that is supposed to HELP!
    Praying for you, for sure! Hugs!