Sun SCT Day 3

It’s Sunday morning… isn’t that supposed to be for lying in?

I slept ok last night – went to sleep quite late for in here – about 11:45pm. Woke twice for a pee and a drink – very dry mouth.

A nurse took blood at one waking point early this morning and I went back to sleep, but I really don’t feel like waking this morning. I’ve had to eat breakfast, drink tea and water, take tablets and jump out of bed to allow them to make it up fresh. So now I’m sitting in the big blue chair, but feeling a bit down and tired and burping and shivery, but my temperature’s ok, so please don’t start worrying about me just yet!

In April, my menstrual periods stopped. I wasn’t especially bothered by it; I assumed it was connected with the medication and just appreciated that I could stop buying tampons.

More recently though this possibly drug-induced menopause has been causing me the typical hot flashes that you hear of with menopause. What doesn’t always get mentioned is that it’s hot AND cold flashes – well, it is for me!

I get huge waves of heat rushing up from my core into my upper body, arms and head. And have to whip off any hat, scarf, cardigan, jacket… then a few minutes later and usually just as quickly, I feel cold and shivery and need to put it all back on again. I think I feel the cold shivery bits worse since I lost my hair, as my head gets cold and clammy as I cool down.

I mentioned it to my consultant on Monday. She suggested doing an oestrogen test to confirm it was menopause. Bear in mind that the majority of Myeloma patients are men in their 60’s and 70’s, these doctors don’t often have to deal with this issue.

I got the test result from one of the doctors in here, who explained that my oestrogen level does indicate menopause, but an FSH test would confirm. I guess I need to ask about that, but I am not concerned, as I trust my body in this respect.

How apropos! The registrar just came in to check on me, while I’m writing this. So, I took the opportunity to ask her and she felt that an FSH test wouldn’t really add anything, that 50 was an age when I might have gone through menopause even without the help of toxic drugs.

I’m getting used to the hot and cold flashes and glad they started before I came in here, so I can recognise them and know what it is. In here, being monitored all the time and awaiting feeling ill, it’d be easy to confuse this shivering with the beginnings of something else… But here I go again, whipping off me cardi! Another hot one on the way! 🙂

It’s funny to see myself writing about this relatively minor issue, when I’m dealing with something much bigger and harder and less normal – maybe it’s a distraction, but it’s also part of my whole experience. And it’s a coming of age, along with what turning 50 seems to be for me. As my nurse yesterday said, it probably feels like that because of the myeloma diagnosis. Otherwise, it may have just been another year passing.

I’m expecting another visitor today, a new friend Wendy – another woman living with Myeloma. We have a lot in common; she is just a few weeks behind me in terms of the SCT process, although she was diagnosed a month or so before me. We’re the same age, with the same type of Myeloma and have some mutual friends in common, so it’s been a good connection for both of us. She lives in Manchester, but while visiting friends here, she is going to come and see me while I can still have visitors. No hugging or kissing though!

A good visit with Wendy. I’m not sure how she felt on leaving, if visiting me made her feel less or more anxious about her own upcoming transplant, but hopefully she’ll continue enjoying this free time before it happens. We talked about holidays – her plan to go away before her SCT and my plan to sit on a beach somewhere in the Winter once I’m over this bit.

It’s 9:30 on Sunday evening and my mouth is getting quite dry and feeling coated, despite using mouthwash and regular teeth brushing. I’m feeling a little anxious – it’s the damn waiting! Had a comforting chat with one of the nurses, but ultimately, its just a case of waiting and not knowing how bad it might get.

I’m with LoveFilm – an internet-based postal DVD rental company, where I usually prioritise which movies I want sending out next. But with the preparations for coming in here, I forgot to do it this time, so I was at the mercy of them picking anything from my list of choices.

Guess what they sent me? Not a film, but the first 5 episodes of ‘The Big C’ – an American drama, featuring Laura Linney as a 40-something woman with cancer and about 18 months to live. I’ve just watched the first two episodes and it’s really good – reminded me of the mad days when I was first diagnosed and on Dexamethasone… flying, creative, funny, mad, wilful, determined, powerful. And she is such a great actor. I recommend it!

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1 Response to Sun SCT Day 3

  1. It sucks having to deal with hot flashes while dealing with everything else. I had to go through that as well and I figured what the heck – what’s on more thing! LOL

    I had chemo-induced menopause at 42 which kinda sucked, but the redeeming factor was that for me, menopause lasted only 4 months. It was nonetheless 4 months of put the covers on – remove the covers – put the covers back on….etc. (you know how it is.) I am now post-menopausal and no longer have any symptoms.

    It’s amazing the long-reaching effects of chemo. I’m still dealing with chemo side-effects even though the last chemo I received was over 5 months ago. I still have weird sensations in my hands and feet, and my taste buds are not yet back to normal (I can’t really taste food), and my blood count still fluctuates (especially my neutrophils).

    This is all part of the “joys” of our challenging journey. Hang in there and dress in layers! 🙂



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