Friday, March 20, 2009

The Steroid Ride


I had a phone consult with my naturopath about depression and fatigue. I got some reassuring news and some frustrating news.  She said that the depression is directly related to the steroids.  Apparently, the steroids mess up neurotransmitters in my brain, and affect my seratonin levels, along with disrupting my sleep cycle.  I take the steroids for 3 days, then stop- the sudden stopping of them is also a problem as my body gets such a sudden withdrawal.  The only thing I can do about it now is to get as much sunlight as possible (ha ha in Oregon) and take melatonin at night.  She said once the chemo is over she can give me herbs and nutrients to help return my brain chemistry to normal.  It's helpful knowing what is causing it, and it's also helpful knowing that it will probably return in the next few days as the steroids where off.  But, even having that knowledge doesn't make the feelings I get any easier.  As for the fatigue, she said that it is my body's way of telling me to rest.  She said that if I could see inside my body, I would see a tremendous amount of energy being put into healing the massive amounts of cellular damage the chemo has done.  She said that being this far into it, my body is maxed out and it's expected that the fatigue will be worse this week and after the last round.  The steroids give me a false sense of energy and I have a tendency to over do my activity level when I'm on the steroids, then the fatigue is even worse when it hits.  So, bottom line is I'm supposed to get as much rest as possible, even if I'm feeling like I've got energy.  I had a strong desire to go skiing today.  I was actually going to go, but realized that I didn't have the energy last night to even gather up the equipment.  Bad idea.  I went to the library today and had to rest on the stairs I got so tired going up.  So, as hard as it is, I'm going to try to take it easy.  I've got a bunch of good movies and books and two weeks off work.  I've rented a cute little house in Seaside for the girls and I for a few days, so if I can just get through the drive there, I'm hoping to have a restful vacation.  The house has two nice t.v.s and a bunch of movies, and the town has a nice swimming pool with hot tub, so it should be restful.  I have never watched so many movies in my life!  Either have the girls- hope they can readjust once we go back to limiting screen time!

I'm starting to have a bit of anxiety about the next step- having my ovaries removed.  I am struggling emotionally with facing the end of my fertile years.  There is some grieving going on, made more difficult by the depression piece.  I really don't want any more children, and haven't for awhile.  But, facing menopause was not something I had even thought about yet.  It was something that I was going to think about in 10 years or so, not at age 39.  I really know nothing about it, and don't really know what having no ovaries and no estrogen will do to my body.  The naturopath did say that the lack of estrogen can cause depression too, but she's confident that it can be managed with herbs and supplements.  I'm trying really hard to place trust in my wise women helpers.  My one wise woman today promised me that I would be ok without ovaries.  A few women have talked to me a bit about menopause and all have reassured me that it isn't terrible.  I think for me it's the fear of the unknown. 

Karina is home sick again- yesterday and today.  So, I've had a little rest buddy which has been nice.  It can get lonely resting at home day after day after day.  

On a happy note, today is the first day of spring and I bought some sunflower seeds.  My wise woman suggested surrounding myself with oranges and reds- something about these colors helps to support the upcoming loss of my ovaries and helps me to find joy and acceptance about this new phase in my life.  So, the sunflower seeds will be planted in both the front and the back yard.  I usually buy myself pink roses for my chemo week, but next time I'll get some bright orange spring flowers.  

I never thought spring would get here.  It's been a long, hard winter and I'm so glad it's over!

1 comment:

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