Sunday, April 1, 2012


I have HAD it with Tamoxifen.

Tamoxifen has made my periods go crazy.  I bled for 3 weeks straight, and then became anemic.

A month and a half of oral iron supplementation, along with eating iron-rich foods, did nothing to raise my iron levels.

So, I needed iron infusions.  Before the procedure started on Thursday, I had a bad feeling - I asked a nurse, does anyone ever have an allergic reaction this?  I wanted reassurance that it was safe.  She told me no, she doesn't think so.  Unsatisfied, I asked a second nurse the same question.  No, she said, she's never seen anyone have an allergic reaction.  So I settled into the chair for the 3 hours while an iron sucrose solution dripped into my vein, but I kept the cord with the call button on it very close to me.  I was relieved when I made it through the 3 hours without any problems.

I went home, and when I went to sit down on the couch, my knees almost buckled.  The pain was incredible.  Thinking my knees were just stiff from having not moved for 3 hours, I tried to "walk it off"... that only made the pain spread to my ankles.  I was getting increasingly agitated, because trapeze class started in about 30 minutes, so I had to find a way to get rid of the pain.  Despite the fact that now my whole legs hurt so much I could hardly get up and down the stairs, I stubbornly got undressed to put on my trapeze clothes... only to discover that my knees, ankles, feet, and toes were so swollen it was like someone had filled my legs with a garden hose.  Then I started getting hives on my legs - it was like dozens of mosquito bites all over me.  I called the hospital, and they told me to go to the ER.  I hung up with angry tears, wanting so badly to be at trapeze class instead.

A brought me to the ER, where the receptionist person went to put a hospital bracelet on me, saw that I already had one, and then just put the new one on top of the old one. 

A and I spent the next 2.5 hours in the ED and the pain and swelling spread to my fingers and hands.  Benadryl took care of the hives, but apparently there was nothing to do about the pain and swelling other than take ibuprofen and wait 3-4 days for it to pass.  I sat there in the hospital bed, in a hospital gown, wearing my TWO hospital bracelets, wondering what the trapeze class was doing at that very moment and feeling so pathetic.

Why was I there in the hospital, hobbling around like an 85-year-old, with knees that felt like softballs?  Why was I not climbing the trapeze ropes instead?  Why did I get hit with the "rare but severe" side effect that only affects less than 1 in 1,000 people?

I couldn't go to work on Friday, and spent the whole day either on the couch or in the bathtub.  My legs and feet are better now, but my hands are still sore, to the point where I shouldn't be typing... but writing is how I cope, and dammit, I have to write.  But now I should go put arnica on my hands, and have another anti-inflammatory dose.

F*cking Tamoxifen.  I'm contemplating quitting.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Britta, I have had iron deficiency anemia for years, worsened lately to the point of my hair falling out. Actually, they are not being truthful about the risk of an allergic reaction with IV iron dextran. It's more common than you think. Everything you can read about it online makes you acknowledge that you read that side effect. I had an anaphalaxtic reaction during the infusion. bad. almost coded right there. my period and uterus are definitely out of whack on the tamox and i have definitely considered if i could go on with the medication. but don't give up yet. ----mercedes! btw, able to take off the third raise and do my full twist after 14 months off!