A Summer (and life) Without Hormones

Long time, no blogging! I apologize for the break I took on here, life seems to fly past me from time to time. I hope to devote more time to this, as it is therapeutic for myself and I hope my posts will help you in some way.

I have mentioned this before in my story and in previous posts…my body does not make hormones anymore. My second cancer forced me to have a total hysterectomy, causing me to lose my ovaries. I had to accept the reality of never being able to have a child, as well as the physical side effects that came very quickly after the surgery.

Let me tell you, if I could go back and have a period, cramps and all, I would without thinking twice. Not because of the obvious so I had the chance to have kids again, but because those cramps I used to complain about were nothing compared to the physical side effects I have to deal with now. My body went into surgical menopause at the age of 23, which from my research and others opinions is worse than the normal menopause process. For one, it is happening TOO SOON and the body experiences a shock. To go from normal hormones to absolutely none does a number on the body. Hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, metabolism decrease, and physical body changes started happening all at once. To make matters worse, I could not get on hormone therapy during treatment because it was too risky.

Summer 2016 was nicknamed the “Summer of Hades” for me. I was dealing with all of those symptoms plus the chemotherapy symptoms. I was miserable and uncomfortable most of the time. I would be cold one second and hot the next. My body would be cool yet sweating at the same time. I struggled with depression and also feeling like I had no control of my emotions. It was a very difficult time for me.

Luckily I was able to get on a low dose of hormones once I finished treatment in Fall 2016. It has helped me overall but I am at the max dosage my gynecological oncologist is comfortable giving me. Even though I am out of treatment, there is still a risk due to my young age and medical history in general. I have been anxious to see if I will get some relief this summer now that I am on hormone therapy.

Last night I was extremely restless, had nightmares, hot flashes, and woke up with sweat stained clothes. Today I could not finish getting ready without sweating and feeling uncomfortable. If I felt this way inside in the A/C, I’m sure you can imagine how I felt when I had to go outside. I am not going to assume it will be this way all summer, but it has really effected me and my emotional health today. When you are uncomfortable from these symptoms, it is difficult to focus and discourages me from wanting to go outside. When I want to isolate my depression can reemerge, and it seems like there is a constant reminder of everything I have to deal with after my experience with cancer.

I am still trying to heal on a whole being level, and I am currently struggling to do that when these symptoms seem to take over. My body has changed physically (not in a good way) and I am still working on loving the new me. I am not trying to sound negative here, but like I have said before it is impossible to be positive all the time after experiencing something like a hysterectomy and/or cancer. I fully support expressing your thoughts and emotions instead of keeping them inside, and I hope my willingness to open up will benefit someone else as well. Believe me I would choose these side effects instead of not being here, and I try to remind myself of that, but that mentality does not always work. Please know that you are allowed to feel whatever emotions come up in these struggles. Acknowledge them, be mindful of them, and choose what method works best to get you through it.

For me, it helped by venting to my boyfriend about it. Even though he does not fully understand it, he listened and asked questions to try and understand it better. Writing on here always helps me too. I know that I have a tough summer ahead of me and I am going to try my best to work through whatever comes up. I also think it is so important to talk about this to spread more awareness and find other young women who are dealing with similar issues. Know that I am always here for you as well.

Love, Nicole

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