News flash, hot flash

One of the fun parts of chemo for breast cancer is that it can throw you into instant menopause.

It’s four o’clock in the morning, and I should be asleep. But I’m sitting in a recliner writing this post and sweating like a marathoner. I am sweating like a laborer in a developing, equatorial country where only the president and his cronies have air conditioning. I am sweating like a pig. (Does anyone know if pigs really sweat?)

I want to strip off all my clothes and run out into the tenth rainstorm that has hit California in the last month.

I want to climb into the freezer with the ice cream, and I don’t even like ice cream that much.

I want to take an ice bath. Does anyone know how to “do” an ice bath?

These feelings hit me about ten times a day.

I go through a lot of t-shirts these days. I wash a lot of sheets.

Whew. It’s still hot in here. Could some please turn down the heat?


About leftbreast

I have had breast cancer. I was diagnosed at 47, and am now 49. I have finished "active treatment," two surgeries, chemo, radiation, monoclonal antibodies. These days, I only take a drug to suppress my uptake of estrogen, since my tumor was highly reactive to that hormone. I have been married to my husband Pete for 21 years. I have a stepdaughter, Maureen, 30, and a daughter, Erin, 10. I've been a freelance magazine journalist for 20-plus years, covering everything from Chinese foreign policy to Catholic nuns to endangered species. I have had a great life. I have lived in Asia and all over the United States. I have spent nights with tree-sitters in Oregon and with astronomers at the Mauna Kea observatory in Hawaii. I've been to a cocktail party on the poopdeck of a British destroyer docked in Shanghai. I've taken the bus to Tibet, and tramped through the cloud forests of Panama with biologists. A magazine sent me on a raft trip down the Colorado through the Grand Canyon; another sent me to cooking school for a week. I have spent time with celebrities, presidents and heroin dealers. I love my work. I have a loving, supportive family and more friends than I probably deserve. I have had the space and time to camp, ski, cycle, garden, cook and spoil my pets (an Australian shepherd, a German shepherd and a tabby cat). If it all ended tomorrow, I would have to say that it has been a really, really good ride. When I was in thick of treatment, I was simply fighting for more time. Now, I'm trying to connect the experience of cancer with the rest of my life, with the time that's been won. I hope the cancer never comes back, but if it does, I'll be ready. That's what this blog is about.
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