Or to put it another way, only seven more shopping days till I visit the oncologist. There are no green bananas in the house. The junior cat, Castiel (named for a character in the Supernatural TV series, in case anyone’s wondering why I’ve misspelled Castile) has taken to spending more time with me. It’s probably because he knows I’m the source of the Dreamies that appear whenever he does something nice, like climb on my lap and get lovey-dovey. But hey, the little guy’s had a hard life; he does the best he can.
Last night, I dreamed it was my 66th birthday, specifically. But because I couldn’t remember what year it was, I had to do the math to find out and it took me several tries to get it right. And naturally, I didn’t know I was dreaming, despite the fact that all the usual signs were there: I had trouble doing simple things like making a phone call or basic math, I couldn’t find a usable loo, and I was walking around in public without most of my clothes. In the last few years, some or all of these elements show up in most of my dreams, as if my subconscious is deliberately signalling me so I can dream lucidly. But being me, I never get the hint. Instead, I find myself thinking, Oh, right, this is one of those times when it’s impossible to make a phone call or Dammit, I’m in another place where all the toilets are out of order, why does this keep happening to me?, or Why do I keep forgetting to get dressed before I go out?
Of course, a better question would be, Why don’t these things tell me I’m dreaming? So far, my subconscious has no idea and neither do I. But I do have a theory: it’s the hormones, of course. So far, they are to blame for night sweats, hot flashes, occasional nausea, the resurgence of my acne, disturbances in mood, and fatigue. Adding impaired reasoning during REM sleep to the list doesn’t seem like such a stretch.
Just before I went to Kansas City for the word science fiction convention in August, I noticed my face was starting to break out. I made sure I had an adequate supply of concealer and hoped it would pass. But no, it has escalated to where I had to ask our pharmacist’s advice. He agreed with me that it was almost certainly the progesterone and advised a suitable face-wash.
Then yesterday, the hormones decided they had been neglecting part of their side-effects repertoire and hit me with the fatigue hammer. I don’t think I was totally conscious until sometime after three in the afternoon. I actually dozed off a few times and was still ready to go to bed at night.
Half the battle of living with cancer is living with the side-effects of the meds you take for it.
Not that I’m really complaining. It has been my contention that the side effects are becoming more pronounced because there is less cancer to kill off. All the hormones left out of the gang-stomping of malignant cells have to do something. The acne is dismaying. My face clearing up was one of the best things about being an adult. Okay, maybe a lot of adults would say there are many, many more things much better than that but I suspect they didn’t have skin as bad as mine during their adolescence (I still cannot abide the smell of Clearasil, which I refused to use even at my most desperate).
Acne is one of the less common side-effects of progesterone, at least according to the package insert. However, as one of our previous gps was fond of saying, ‘The condition doesn’t always read the instructions on the box.’ Neither does the medication in the box.
I’ve noted before that the side effects don’t double up on me, so I never have to have a hot flash and an anxiety attack at the same time. But acne belongs to a different set of side effects, a much rarer group, so unfortunately, I can have a hot flash while my face breaks out. Or while I’m fighting to stay awake. That’s how it works for me, anyway.
Today, the fatigue has lessened, possibly because having Castiel parked on my lap is such a novelty it’s keeping me more alert than I would be otherwise. He came for the treats and stayed for the comfy pillow and the playlist on the iPad (his eyes are closed and his front paws are tucked). But the fatigue isn’t completely gone––I can feel it lingering somewhere behind my eyes, like it’s looking for an opening.
All I can do is try to get as much writing done as possible, and not get my h9pes up. And not buy green bananas for another week.