Archive | June, 2012

Young adults with cancer, finally

7 Jun

Finally we are getting the conversation about young adults! LiveSTRONG, bless them, has started a series of topics to help young adult cancer survivors move forward. There are interviews and accounts from survivors about how cancer has affected them and how they can move on with the leftover effects from treatments.

Some helpful topics include: Dating and sex after treatment, Fertility, Friends and family etc.

I’m so happy that they decided to do a series on this because more young adults are being affected by cancer and we need to get the conversation going. How to survive cancer treatment and also as important, how to deal with the diagnosis while these adults are in the prime of their lives.

You can visit the LiveSTRONG blog for more details, or watch the videos on YouTube.

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Cancer and Depression

3 Jun

I’ve written about post-cancer depression here before. It creeps in like a bad flu and when it happens most people are surprised. Depressed? Not me. I’m a fighter, fighting against cancer. Nothing’s gonna get me, no, nothing at all.

The truth is, post-cancer depression is a lot more complex than that. There is a sense of great loss and also a sense of betrayal that the body and soul will not ever return to normal.

And of all the books, websites that I’ve read, nothing describes it as succinct as Dana Jennings, a writer for the New York Times. Gosh I wish I could write like him!

“Partly, I think, I’m grieving for the person I was before I learned I had cancer. Mortality is no longer abstract, and a certain innocence has been lost.

And while the physical trauma is past, the stress lingers and brings with it days washed in fine shades of gray. In the same way that radiation has a half-life, stress does, too. We all ache to be the heroes of our own tales, right? Well, I’m not feeling too heroic these days.” – Dana Jennings

After Cancer, Ambushed by Depression : Dana Jennings, The New York Times

Have a peaceful and joyful day ahead.

Return of the M

2 Jun

It’s fantastic news! My period is finally back after a hiatus of two dark years.

In the last two years, after my first chemotherapy treatment, I have been in a premature menopause. Never in my life did I realise the importance of estrogen to my body. As my cancer is estrogen receptive, it is good news for my cancer cells that I was in menopause. But menopause, oh menopause! I had no idea how difficult it is to go through menopause, the hot flashes, the memory loss, the dry skin… everything they say in the books are true! For a while I was worried that I would be part of the 50% of women whose periods never return and they will be pushed into menopause. Now I am just grateful that I could finally be rid of the menopause goodies!

In terms of fertility, I wasn’t sure about what to expect. My oncologist’s advice is to continue having Tamoxifen for three years (it’s been one and a half years) but if I am planning to start a family then I can stop the Tamoxifen early in order to try for a baby. Wow, the many difficult questions in life! As Tamoxifen stays in the body for a considerable amount of time and it is hazardous for the foetus, it is important to stay off Tamoxifen for a good six months before actively trying to conceive. Looks like I have to do some serious planning… since I am not even married and now am in the process of “relocation”…

After visiting my oncologist, I had another visit to my Chinese traditional medicine doctor. Again, it’s great news about the period resuming. For one, that means my body is returning to normal and the hormones are balancing themselves. The difficulties of menopause will slowly fade away and I can look forward to getting back to normal! Yippee!! But with traditional medicine, I was told to stay clear of cold drinks and foods that are considered too “cooling”. Also, I was told to have more ginger tea which will be good for my body.

Let’s hope this body recovers and gets back to normal! Go, baby go!