I am definitely a person who prides herself in being able to hold it all together. Whether I am successful or not is another story, but I try hard. Unfortunately, with the introduction of cancer and interferons into my life, it doesn’t really matter what I want. Nor does it matter how strong I think I am. Fact is, I am SO NOT in control of what is happening to me.
Last Wednesday, I had a little meltdown. Really, I feel as though I lifted the lid off Pandora’s Box. Once I started opening up about just how miserable I was, it wouldn’t stop. My agitation level, my frustration level, my depression level, and my extreme level of irritability just seemed like they were going to grow and grow until I exploded.
So, today was my follow up appointment with my oncologist. She was not the least bit surprised how I have been feeling. Actually, she was waiting for me to take a downturn. What I learned is that the way I have been feeling is no reflection on me. (Shocking, I know.) It turns out that interferons are a very tough medicine with some very serious side effects on your brain and your emotions. The medicine causes the side effects that I was experiencing. As a matter of fact, she said that there are known cases of people taking interferon shots that have actually committed suicide. Now, I’m ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that I am not suicidal, but I guess I have to be careful with comments like I’m ready for heaven NOW. But I do need to share the potential side effects with my friends, so if I do end up going off the deep end, there are people there to pick me up.
For the next month, I am going to back the shots down to twice a week instead of three times. Hopefully, my body will feel some relief from a little less medicine. I’m also going to see a psychiatrist, who will prescribe medicine that can counter the frustration, the anger, and the anxiety. Unfortunately for me, that appointment could be a month away. Fortunately for me, all this is temporary.
There is an alternative to the shots – one that I’m not too anxious to consider at this point. I could go back to the infusions for 4 weeks (Monday – Friday). I would then be off for 4 weeks, with another 4-week set to follow. I absolutely hated the infusions. We’ll wait and see what happens over the next month with the shots and see if we need to head a different direction.