Saturday, October 8, 2016

" I'm taking a walk, i'm going outside, i'm taking a walk, i'm just getting by....i'm watching the birds, i'm just getting by, ....i'm taking a walk, i don't need a ride. " " taking a walk " by John Prine

john prine performed this song at his birthday concert in nashville last week. my husband and i were fortunate to see him again- i am not sure how many times that we have seen his concerts, but they have all been great. he gives the audience 100%, and i am not sure how he does it. he is a two time cancer survivor, like me.

i am having a tough time with fatigue right now. i can make it through the day only if i do not have anything extra to do. like the concert, for example. the drive to nashville took us about 8 hours ( we stopped for a picnic lunch,etc,). when we finally got to our room, i was exhausted. my husband wanted to go out to hear some local bands play, but i simply did not have the energy. i felt unplugged. the fatigue that i am feeling is similar to the fatigue that i felt before my cancers were diagnosed. i am hoping that it is my TSH ( a thyroid function marker) that is high, and by upping the dose of my thyroid medication, it will make me feel better. i have to wait until my blood work appointment, though. my endocrinologist can not make any adjustments without first looking at the numbers, you might say.

my mohls surgery for the basal cell carcinoma on my face is this coming monday. my thyroid cancer blood work appointment is in Raleigh, two days later. i am also scheduled for an ultrasound that same day. my appointment with my endocrinologist, to go over the results of my tests, is scheduled for October 27th. i am hoping that when she sees my lab values, she will go ahead and increase my thyroid medication dose and i will not have to wait until the 27th. that is presuming of course, that the fatigue is a result of my TSH being too high. having a high TSH not only causes fatigue, but it can allow any rogue thyroid cancer cells that might be hiding somewhere  to "wake up" and cause mayhem somewhere else in my body. my TSH has been suppressed( near zero) for the past 6 years so that those rogue cancer cells would stay asleep. but just recently, my endocrinologist lowered the dose of my thyroid medication. that has made me very nervous for several reasons.with thyroid cancer, a patient is never truly in remission. you have to be tested for the rest of your life- there is no "five year you are o.k." mark. i know of patients who have had a recurrence seven, even 15 or 20 years after a first diagnosis. not the good cancer, is it?

of course, fatigue is a common side effect with the medicine that  i am taking to block estrogen production ( anastrozole). and fatigue is a common side effect even YEARS after patients have had chemotherapy treatments. it is sort of a guess as to  which one of these factors may be causing the fatigue. maybe it is even a combination of a few of them. at any rate, i need to start feeling better. to quote john prine again, most of the time i am feeling like " a bowl of oatmeal tried to stare me down, and won." i am very  fortunate in  that my employer and co-workers are fine with me only working a couple of days a month. after working a 9 hour shift, though, it takes me at least two days to recover. it is amazing to me how an individual can rise to the occasion. i think about those elderly  actors who creep along backstage, barely making it, then when they get on stage and the spotlight hits them, BOOM! it sort of feels like that to me. like today, i can not imagine having enough energy to get through a day at work. but when my next work day comes up, i will push myself and somehow muddle through.

i am not sure if i am even up to taking a walk today. i am surely just getting by, as john says in his song. i know that exercise helps, but at this point i really have to push myself to get out there. i do enjoy looking at the birds,though.

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