Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More on Memory Effects

As I mentioned in an earlier post, when I was looking at memory effects and other side effects of lupron, tamoxifen, raloxifene,


they cause memory effects. At the time, except on (generally not so reliable?) web forums, there was a great deal of complaining about these, especially in the case of lupron, where they were said to be irreversible and severe.

Many more medical sites, and some anecdotal evidence from older women, indicated that there were memory effects with menopause, and that this was pretty -- par for the course? Not talked about, lest it demonize older women in the workplace? Something one can work around? One's memory might not be so swell in any case? So that having menopause temporarily induced early -- might be ok? Better than a cancer recurrence?

Everyone has to make her own decision about this, but I want to tell you, of the side effects, and I suffered them all to some extent, the deterioration of eyesight, soaring risk of unrelated cancers (as high as 40%), soaring risk of blot clot and stroke, and memory loss -- acting, well perhaps goofy or downright crazy, but actually not remembering anything -- forgetting calls made, conversations had, e-mails sent -- hours long lacunae every day, more than a trip to the fridge or the store or the library wondering, oop, where's the car? why am I here? but forgetting the trip, and its result. Opening the fridge and seeing some item, and wondering -- hey, who bought the corn?

To revise Lyn Hejinian completely, to what extent is memory an aid to writing? What is the meaning of remaining in the now when 1) there is no past or future, 2) you don't remember what "now" was like earlier in the morning?

Now, some of these memory effects -- I wrote about this I think in an e-mail to a friend -- were perfectly ok. I dindn't want to be doing the laundry or unloading the dishwasher, and so my mind would just block out those repetitive chores. In the same way, this is how I lose my cars in parking lots (*especially home depot) -- because it is such an unpleasant routine, I am thinking of something else, when I park, and go into the store. Stress *obviously* has a part in this, and being seriously ill -- no matter how temporarily, is extraordinarily stressful.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Some Rare Radiation Side Effects

I may have mentioned before that one of the rare radiation side effects I suffered from was "radiation flu" -- low grade fever (not particularly responsive to aspirin), achy, you know -- flu. It is more common in older women, so no one informs younger women -- how common it truly is! I had this for over a month.

Another one is lung damage to the lung underneath the irradiated area. Again, because this uncommon, about 5% of breast cancer patients, and because it is more common with older patients, it didn't occur to me -- or anyone! -- that this was what my persistent, dry cough and lung pain were. It doesn't heal particularly well on its own without a steroid.

Is my current thyroid condition temporary or permanent? Was it caused by radiation, or is a reaction to the "hormone stew" created by raloxifene? Watch this spot for answers. I'm hypo, meaning, after weeks of prednisone mania (I cycled off after three weeks, not TWO MONTHS!), I can barely get out of bed.