One of the best things about not drinking is getting a sense of control back into your life.
Gradually you find that you're in control of your emotions (most of the time). No more unaccountable rage (see my post: Alcohol Induced Rage), paranoia or uncontrollable weeping.
Your life gets back in control. You get things done. You de-clutter. You start attacking all those little jobs (photo albums, anyone?).
You're in control of what you do and say. No more drunken texts, or accidental spilling of secrets.
And you're physically in control. Your weight stabilises (eventually). You no longer have to do that 'audit' when you wake up (how bad am I feeling this morning? How awful is today going to be?).
I've got rather used to all this being in control stuff, which has made the last week particularly hard.
You see, I've been taking Tamoxifen for the last two weeks. Only nine years and fifty weeks to go.
Tamoxifen is a wonder drug, and is one of the main reasons why the recurrence rates for breast cancer have fallen sharply over the last thirty years.
BUT it's making me feel really weird.
For the last few days I've had pretty constant low-level nausea. I'm exhausted. And my brain is totally fogged up. I have to try really hard to remember what I'm supposed to get done each day.
Last week I managed to totally forget #3's parent/teacher evening. I just didn't show. When I confessed, even #2 was really horrified (he said That's really BAD, Mummy, and his standards are low).
And it is bad! Entry level parenting: feed children three times a day, make sure none of their limbs fall off, and turn up for parent/teacher meetings once a year.
Then yesterday I was meeting a friend after the school run for a dog walk. I dropped #2 off, and had this odd feeling that I'd forgotten something.
I'd left the sodding dog behind!
I had to do an emergency loop back with #3 yelling "I'M GOING TO MISS RECORDER CLUB!" all the way.
I feel very much like I did for the first two or three weeks after quitting the booze. In fact, it's just like the early days of pregnancy.
And that's when the penny dropped.....
I had to stop using my regular contraception, because my cancer was massively hormone responsive. Hormones would act like rocket fuel on any rogue cancer cells that escaped.
But I've only taken a couple of teeny weeny risks, and surely you can't get pregnant by accident at the grand old age of forty six (nearly forty seven)?
I started to hyperventilate. Babies are, of course, a blessing. But I've been there, done that. I really couldn't start all over again with nappies and sleepless nights.
Plus you can't take Tamoxifen when you're pregnant, and see above re: hormones and rocket fuel. It is quite probable that a pregnancy would kill me, leaving three existing children motherless.
I couldn't face going into the chemist to buy a pregnancy test. I thought they'd laugh at me (ha ha, who do you think you're kidding, Grandma?).
So I ordered a whole load of groceries I didn't need via a supermarket home delivery service, just so the latest in digital display pregnancy tests could be delivered to my front door.
So, there I was, at the grand old age of forty six, peeing on a stick and praying madly like an errant teenager.
Three long minutes.
Then: not pregnant. (The actual words come up these days, not just a blue line).
HALLELUIA! Although, does that mean I get to feel like this for ten whole years?
That's when I made a huge error. I Googled side effects of Tamoxifen. Just like my oncologist had warned me not to do.
Hundreds of stories of women gaining two stone, going nuts and feeling awful, eventually quitting having decided that quality of life is more important than quantity. Fifty percent of women never finish a five year course, let alone ten.
Then this chilling statistic: one quarter of women taking Tamoxifen will die from breast cancer recurrence within ten years anyway.
Well, that made for a good night's sleep. Not.
I'm hoping that this is temporary, and that after a few more weeks the side effects will settle down. And I'm taking my own advice and focusing on gratitude (see my post: Gratitude).
I am (as far as we can tell) cancer free, and NOT PREGNANT. Hurrah!
Love SM x