Cancer Journey/ HEALTH/ Spiritual

I Am Weak

I just feel like ‘talking’ today, so I’m gonna just start typing and see what comes out. Consider yourself warned.

Life has slowed me down for the day. This body of mine has slowed me down.

I am on a drug called Tamoxifen.  It is prescribed for women who have had ER+ cancer.  I’ve committed to taking it for 5 years, I am 1 1/2 years in.  It is protective against cancer, but comes with side effects.

Even though it blocks the receptors of estrogen, which is why it is prescribed for cancer patients, it also raises the level of estrogen in the body.  We all know unbalanced hormones can wreak havoc on the body, both physically and emotionally.  I am doing ok emotionally, a bit down & ‘quiet.’  Most of my  struggle lately is physical, which really if I am honest about it, eventually ends up effecting me emotionally.

These upset hormone levels are causing multiple ovarian cysts to form and shrink with each cycle.  Some of the cysts stay small and behave, but during some cycles they grow large (4- cm) and push on other organs in the body.  Where the ovaries are located, there just is not much  room to add another 4 cm mass, so it makes itself known in the form of nerve pain in my hip area, a gut that looks 4 months pregnant, and can cause extreme pain during digestion/elimination.  It causes me to wake up 4-5 times a night to use the bathroom, as the bladder is also in that area and these cysts can be space bullies.

Yesterday evening and today have been my worst days for pain.  If this continues my plan of action is to have shots that shut down my ovaries temporarily.  It may be the way to go, but I’m not quite ready for that yet.  It would mean instant menopause.  Maybe that would be ok.  I am already having some of the most dreaded symptoms of menopause-hot flashes have gotten much worse recently, another beautiful side effect of Tamoxifen and sign that my hormones are whack.  I am going to commit to praying for wisdom in this area, to know if I should move forward with the shots or not.  I was at this point 3 months ago, but then the most painful symptoms behaved for a while, so I wait.

 This is all part of my new normal.

It really is tiring to still be adjusting to a new normal.  You would think that I would just get it and submit to what is, but it is an emotional battle.  Oh man, that feels so familiar as I type it.  I know I have said this numerous times before.  Ugh.

Source: via New on Pinterest

On one hand, I feel so extremely grateful for life, and so thankful for this body of mine and how God designed us to heal and mend.  I feel quite content when I really think about what could be and what is.

But finding contentment in the midst of physical pain is a challenge for me.  I like to feel good.  I like to feel like I have energy.  I don’t like that my new normal includes a daily nap, and if I don’t get one I am checked out of life by 7 or 8pm.  I keep thinking “if I just eat right, if I just exercise, if I just…”  But I am finding that even doing all of those things, I am not able to “fix” my physical symptoms.  They are drug related and drug induced.

I write this not just for my own therapy-ha-but to keep a record of the on-goingness of it all.  I also know that I am not alone in these struggles.  I asked on my personal FB page about other survivor sisters who are on this drug & what they are experiencing. I had so many respond with their own struggles & symptoms.  It broke my heart. One sweet, strong sister ended her comment by saying “I went from feeling great to feeling tired & old.”

So now what?

Well, for today, I am marinading in these verses I read last night:

2 Corinthians 12:10-12 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

~I am going to continue to work on opening my pouting, clinched fists & claim the verse above, that “when I am weak, then I am strong.” 

~I am going to take my opened hand and allow the God of the Universe to hold it, and we will sit awhile today.  

~I will be ok with the sitting, and listen in the stillness to the voice of the one holding my hand.  

~I will give thanks for my weakness, for it causes me to stop and hear.  

~I will rest in the fact the “He knows the plans He has for me.”  

~I will feel his supernatural power as we hand hold, and use it to calm the fear of pain that I have.  

~I will not feel guilty for resting, but thankful that I have the time to rest.  

~I will think of others I know in far worse circumstances than I am in, and I will lift them up to the Creator.  

~I will do these things because I will have the time, thanks to my weakness.  

“For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

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  • Amber MacNeil
    October 30, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I just wanted to say thank you for your honesty!
    I have a brain tumor, and have had 2 surgeries last May and August-God has defintely been my rock but still I have struggles. It was so great to read, I felt like i was reading some of my thoughts:)
    Also the verses you wrote, a friend had sent me the 2 Cor one today, and I read it once again, then I stumble across your blog and read it once again. God is Faithful.
    God Bless you and I will be praying for you.

  • vturner62
    September 21, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Hi Amy,

    Just wanted to send along some virtual hugs, too, and let you know that there are many prayers going up for you, as well as for your family.

    I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being. Ephesians 3:16

    God bless you,

  • Stephanie Newton
    September 17, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Hi Amy,
    Thanks so much for sharing. I know that it might seem like complaining to you, but it’s so encouraging to those of us who are walking the same path. As I was reading, I was thinking I could’ve written it myself!

    I had my ovaries out because I already had cysts before I started taking tamoxifen, but the side effects have been extreme. I’ve tried a couple of the other meds but am back on tamox. I waver between being grateful that these drugs exist and wanting to throw the bottle out the window!

    Despite everything, though, I feel a profound gratitude for life and don’t plan to waste a minute of it (unless I want to 🙂 I’ll be praying for you too. We tamoxifen sisters have to stick together!


  • Samantha
    September 14, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Bless you, Amy! I am a survivor, and I know things like this are hard to share at times. Somehow we want people to see the side that says “I’m fine, don’t worry about me.”

    My diagnosis was estrogen -, so I haven’t had to take anything since chemo. BUT the chemo knocked me into early menopause. ( I was 38) Hot flashes were horrible! I found that the herb vitex has helped wonderfully. You might ask your oncologist about it. It doesn’t have side effects that I know of. It helps your body regulate hormones naturally.

    I will continue to pray that the Lord will lead you in what you need to do.

    Isa.30:19 He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when He shall hear it, He will answer.

  • The Farmgirl
    September 13, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Dear Amy, I am very sorry that you are having to walk this road. When I read about your cysts I had to tell you about a natural anti-cyst remedy, which also stops horrible menstrual cramps when taken on a daily basis…yeah!!!!!Mix together 2 slices of beets, 1 Tablespoon of molasses(I use organic) and 1 Tablespoon of aloe vera juice.It is a bit strong and sort of gross but I just chew, swallow and drink water, it works! My life has changed soooo much from this is amazing. Praying for you….. Teresa

  • Sabrina
    September 13, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    I appreciate the fact that you are real. Sometimes things in life are hard to deal with. I won’t say I know where you are, or how you feel, because I don’t. I have just started following your blog and I have found both you, and it inspiring. I will keep you in my prayers. And I don’t use that phrase lightly. Stay strong. He will never leave you or forsake you. Never.

  • Chara
    September 12, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I first read your blog because someone had recommended it to me for the recipes. I first checked it out about a week or two before you announced that you had cancer, so in some ways, I’ve been through this process with you. I don’t comment much if at all, but I have been praying for you since that time.
    The truth is that my family has a strong history of breast cancer on my mother’s side. I know that in all likelihood I may be traveling down this path one day, myself.
    Sometimes it’s hard to know where God is leading us. It takes a lot of faith to continue to trust Him in the midst of pain and exhaustion. Your persistence is encouraging to me.

  • karen gerstenberger
    September 12, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Sending virtual {{{HUGS}}} to you, Amy.

  • Renee Johnson
    September 12, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    You are beautiful! The way you captured the very essence of our struggle to find peace and joy in the midst of struggle and pain… you are inspiring! Praying that the drugs you’re on would only do what they need to and no more awful side effects! Thank you for your honest heart and encouragement! Hugs!

  • collettakay
    September 12, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I claim Romans 8:37 as my “life verse”. I (we) can conquer, through Him who loves me (us.) I can CONQUER. Not just exist, but conquer.

    I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety since the birth of my first child. I keep it maintained fairly well with meds but have come to enjoy my daily “naptime” that it causes me to need. I’ll take a nap over the alternative any day.

    My hormones have been out of whack lately and I bled for 5 months pretty much straight. I didn’t want to go the hormone route (effects my anx/dep) so I am 8 days post-op of a hysterectomy. I can’t help but have hope that I might no longer be constantly anemic. Maybe I’ll have energy. Maybe I won’t need that nap. I’ll have to wait and see what happens.

    God has a plan for our future. Good plans. We just need to wait on His time. Easier said than done.

    Praying for your health. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.


  • Kate@StillRoomToGrow
    September 12, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Prayers for a peaceful heart and energy are coming your way. i can’t imagine what you are going through. thanks for sharing your story.

  • Poppy
    September 12, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Oh mama, Your words really spoke to me today and I found myself convicted beyond belief for my own “pouting”.
    Thank you so much for sharing what was on your heart, and for sharing that scripture, because that brought me so much comfort.

    Prayers for your wisdom during this time. For strength, healing, and a heart that is gentle with itself.

  • Amy Kinser
    September 12, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    My mom is on the same drug and is feeling so much the same way. She is also dealing with stomach issues after every meal. (tmi)

    Pray wisdom for you.

  • Ana Reyes
    September 12, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    It is good for you to “share” your concerns with all of us. This is also a good therapy. Fighting with hormones is the hardest thing for a woman so don’t feel stressed if at certain moments you feel down. I always say that situations as yours do have an emotional side effect to. I’m sure that your love and faith will keep you going strong at all times.
    Relax whenever you can,pray for it soothes your soul. Take deep breaths and keep believing EVERYTHING is going to be wonderful. You deserve the best. Thanks for sharing. I’m sure it will help many people going through the same situation and it will encourage many of us who have other issues to deal with ( and many times feel so worn out)
    Hugs from Spain

  • Linda
    September 12, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Hugs to you, Amy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Know that your weakness, your questions, your faith, and your decisions to trust the One who knows best, ALL bring Him glory, and His power is seen in your life. You are loved.

  • Lori Alexander
    September 12, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Absolutely beautiful and encouraging for those of us who are dealing with physical problems. I too find the greatest battle is dealing with my mind and emotions but I just keep reminding myself wo is in control. Keep asking for wisdom for He promises to give it. I will pray for you. Love, Lori

  • elaine @ peace for the journey
    September 12, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    With you, so very much. You are not alone. It’s good to write about these things; most of the world won’t understand these contradictory feelings. I told Billy just last night, I might be smiling on the outside, but I’m not really feeling much of anything on the inside. There’s a huge disconnect I’ve experienced with the world/people/ etc. I know you get this and having had my ovaries out, well, that just ramped it all up. Honestly, I don’t know how I’m upright most days.

    This, for me, has been one of the greatest losses from my cancer season… and today, I grieve for you as well.

    Prayers and peace and a whole ‘lotta love headed your way this afternoon.


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