The Lupron Diaries: The Final Shot

I went off the reservation for a while; sorry about that.  Honestly, I haven’t felt like doing much of anything these past several weeks.  I’m so glad that the first few months were relatively easy, because I don’t know that I could’ve made it all the way through if the side effects were so rough right out of the gate.
So, here’s a rundown of what’s happened as far as the side effects are concerned.

  1. The clumsiness has gotten much better.  I don’t get lightheaded upon standing, and I haven’t had too many instances of tripping or stumbling.  It was definitely pronounced during the first three months, but has gone away for the most part since.
  2. The joint and bone pain has gotten MUCH worse.  No more PRs for me on 5ks right now.  I’m doing well if I can get out and walk, much less run.  I am still getting out faithfully, though (except today, because I really do think I need to give my legs a rest).  I keep track of my steps through my Jawbone Up, and I made my goal every day in June.  We’ve managed a few 8+ mile hikes (Mitchell in less than three weeks!!), but my legs, arms, and hands hurt constantly.  My mantra has become, “If I’m going to hurt sitting, and I’m going to hurt moving, I may as well be moving.”
  3. The sadness/depression/anxiety/grumpiness has gotten worse.  I’m avoiding just about anything that’ll make me sad, which is pretty much everything.  My patience is extremely thin, so if I’m not feeling like I want to cry, I am feeling like I want to bite everyone’s head off.
  4. I’ve gained about ten pounds.  I chalk it up to my own decisions.  I’ve eaten too much because “I can afford to do it since I’m exercising so much.”  I’ve picked stuff that’s easier/more convenient rather than picking healthier choices.  So that’s all on me; I hate it, but I don’t blame it on the Lupron.  I’m back on the wagon, so I anticipate losing it relatively quickly.
  5. The hot flashes are still manageable.  It probably helps that it’s summer, so it’s hot as balls anyway.

People keep asking me, “but does your endo pain feel better?”  Honestly, since I didn’t know I had it before, I haven’t noticed.  Maybe my insides don’t hurt as much, but my arms and legs hurt so bad that I want to cry sometimes, so I’m not sure what the improvement will be as far as that goes.  But that wasn’t the reason that I agreed to take the drug anyway.

I got my final injection this morning.  Ginger gave me a big hug and said that she wanted to see me again when I’m pregnant.  I appreciate her optimism.  So I’ll have another month or so of Lupron side effects (and whatever residual effects there may be), and then we start the fertility journey again.

I have mixed emotions; I know it’s weird, but “Lupron” has become my identity over this last five months.  While the physical process has been difficult, it’s also been good in that it’s forced me to be in the present moment.  There’s been no point in worrying about whether or not we’ll be able to have kids since we couldn’t even try.  My focus has been on getting through this moment, this day, this week…preparing for Mount Mitchell, trying to keep from eating all the food, getting out the door and walking or running.  Thinking about the future was pointless because I felt so far removed from it.

In that respect, I’m afraid.  Now the process begins again, and I don’t know what it’s going to look like.  More shots? More hormones?  More side effects?  More heartbreak?

On the other hand, I’m a little excited.  I never thought I’d say this, but I missed the temperature charting and testing, and that twinge of excitement for a couple of weeks of imagining the possibilities and hoping for a BFP (Big, Fat Positive).  I missed the feeling of hope.

I go back to the OBGYN on the 26th and we’ll discuss our next steps then.  Until that, my main focus is to summit Mount Mitchell on the 23rd.

Here’s hoping.

The Lupron Diaries: Vacation and Victory

Last weekend, Joey and I took a trip to Waynesville, NC, to stay in a cabin in the woods and hike all the miles. Although the accommodations left a bit to be desired, I think this was probably the best camping trip we’ve ever had.

On Friday, we hiked the Pink Beds Loop again, but this time, we made it all the way to the waterfall off the Barnett Branch Trail.  It was WELL worth the mile of straight uphill.  The waterfall was about 25 feet high, and the water was ice cold.  Indy was thrilled to get a drink.

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Here’s a shot of Indy at our campsite.  She looks so regal.  I think I overestimated her ability to adapt to a strange situation, though.  She didn’t enjoy being trussed up on a lead, and she was afraid of the campfire.  She’ll learn, though.

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On Saturday, we went to the North Carolina Arboretum.  I’ll have to do a separate post dedicated to that, because I took a TON of pictures.  The below is part of their quilt garden; every year, they create a different pattern on individual squares. This year was a butterfly; can you see it?

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They also had a fantastic bonsai exhibit.  Joey has dabbled with bonsai here and there, so he was beyond thrilled to see all of the trees. I took pictures of each one, and it’s definitely renewed his interest in picking it back up again.

We ended up leaving on Sunday so we’d have a day to recuperate at home, but not before hiking Pinnacle Park in Sylva, NC.  While we didn’t make it all the way up to the pinnacle, we did get plenty of beautiful pictures along the way.  The below is at Split Rock, about a half mile up the trail.

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The first mile of the hike was along this creek; it was full of cascades and rapids, and Indy wanted to check out each one.

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We hiked a total of 11.5 miles over the course of three days.  It was exhilarating, but also an eye-opener.  We’ve got a lot of work left to do before Mount Mitchell at the end of July.

I’m still counting it as a victory over Lupron, though.  On previous camping trips, we would’ve spent the bulk of our time hanging around the campsite and snacking.  This time, we spent it out in nature, working out and getting excellent views along the way.  I did have a few clumsy moments, but Joey was there to grab me before I stumbled.  I had a few “Lupron sadness” moments as well, but he talked me out of those.  He’s pretty great that way:).

Hiking has been such an effective means of dealing with this journey through endometriosis and its treatment.  I’m forced to unplug while we’re out on a trail…there’s no phone reception, no chance to fiddle around on Facebook or check my Instagram feed.  I’m forced to be observant of the present moment and little else; I have to watch the ground diligently for roots and rocks.  I have to pay attention to my surroundings lest I miss a beautiful waterfall (or a bear…it goes both ways).  There’s no time to think about my dysfunctional body or whether or not we’ll ever get to have a biological child.

There’s just miles of trail.  And not dying…there’s that too.
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The Lupron Diaries: Dealing with Clumsiness

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If you’ll recall my list of side effects that suck, clumsiness and stumbling/falling is one of the more common ones. This one’s kind of tough, since there aren’t a whole lot of tricks and tips to offer. I suppose you could opt to use a walker until you’re done with the Lupron, but if you’re not receiving Social Security benefits due to your age, then you probably don’t want to do that. For the most part, I’m muddling through with this and just trying not to faceplant in front of people.

  1. Don’t stand up too fast.  My biggest problem is that I become lightheaded upon standing, but it doesn’t really hit me until I’ve taken about twenty steps.  I spend the rest of my walk trying not to pitch forward.  Stand slowly, and wait until the feeling passes before you start moving.
  2. Lean against something (stable) for a moment after you stand.  If I’m near a wall, I’ll rest on that for just a couple of seconds before starting off, or I’ll hold onto the back of my office chair for a bit before moving.  It’s embarrassing, but better than meeting the floor face-to-face.
  3. Walk deliberately.  Pay attention to where you’re going, what the path in front of you looks like, and where the people around you are.  Focus on your end destination and it’ll help you to keep from getting distracted and stumbling.
  4. Use a friend.  Joey’s probably tired of the amount of times I grab his arm while we’re walking somewhere.  If you’ve been honest with your loved ones, they know that you’re dealing with clumsiness and won’t mind offering you a steadying shoulder to lean on.
  5. Sit down!  If you think you’re going to fall; sit down.  It’s better to sit against a wall than to throw yourself into it.  One requires medical attention and drywall repair. You can handle some minor embarrassment.  Besides, people might toss change at you, which you can put toward your outrageously expensive medical bills.

Of course, it goes without saying (hopefully) that you may want to wait for the Lupron to leave your system before you head out for your Everest expedition or attempt to summit Denali.  Or before you tightrope walk the Grand Canyon.  Or take up with Cirque de Soleil.

Be careful out there, ladies.

**note, I am not a doctor…just a clumsy Lupron patient.  None of my advice should outweigh anything your own doctor suggests you do.  Although I sincerely hope s/he doesn’t tell you to climb Mount Everest while on Lupron.**

The Lupron Diaries: Shot #4 and Running Update (and Victory!!)

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Thank goodness, Shot #4 was painless like #1 and #2.  I made sure that I was completely relaxed, and other than the pinch of the initial stick, it was pain-free.  Ginger blamed #3 on herself, but I told her I was certain that it was my fault for being tense.

The timing of the shot sucked, though…I had a 5K planned for two days later, and if you’ll recall from my list of side effects that suck, I’m usually in for three days of joint aches that make any kind of high-impact activity pretty painful.  But I’d already paid my $35, so I was going to do this 5K, even if I had to crawl across the finish line in agony.

I was nervous, because Friday was a rough day.  My hips and knees ached badly, and ibuprofen was only taking the edge off.  On a side note, the sadness/weepiness and anxiety have been getting progressively worse with every shot.  It’s still bearable, so I’m not waving a white flag, but I’m finding myself crying a lot more and getting overwhelmed by small things/worrying about huge things that I can’t control (getting older, job stress, the never-ending passage of time, etc).  Joey has been an absolute rock through all of this; I have no idea what I’d do without him.

I was also seriously nervous about this 5K, because it was the first one I was going to do without Joey.  I was running it with my best friend Katie, but she had her own goal pace (which was a good bit faster than mine), so I was going to be doing this on my own (although it was encouraging to know she’d be waiting for me at the finish line).  Would I push myself hard enough, or would I just give up without Joey encouraging me to run a little bit more? Plus, this was going to be the biggest 5K I’d ever done.  It was put on by the Carolina Panthers’ Keep Pounding Charity, to benefit the Levine Cancer Center.  This wasn’t just some local 5K with a few hundred participants.  Nope, we’re talking thousands. Would I get stuck in a pack of people?  Would I be in the way, an obstacle for the “real” runners?  Would I get lost and end up in another part of downtown Charlotte entirely?

I woke up on Saturday morning feeling better than Friday; my legs weren’t hurting as badly, so I took 3 ibuprofen and hoped that’d hold me through the race.  Joey made me an egg over toast and a cup of coffee and I triple/quadruple/quintuple checked to make sure I had everything I needed in my race belt, that I had Katie’s shirt and bib, and that my playlist was all set and downloaded (Thank you, Amazon Prime Music!).  I headed her way and we were off!

We arrived (with only a minor snafu getting to the parking deck) in plenty of time to get a shot in front of the stadium before being shuttled to the starting line at the Levine Cancer Center.

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We stood around and stretched (and I agonized over being nervous), and then I noticed SIR PURR! Not only am I a huge Carolina Panthers fan, but (as you already know), I’m a huge cat fan in general, so I was super-psyched.  I actually dressed as Sir Purr a couple of years ago for Halloween.  I yelled “OMG, SIR PURR!!” and he ran right over for a pic.  Forgive the blurriness…Katie had picture-taking anxiety.

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The course itself was brutal; we started at the Levine Cancer center and ran all the way up Morehead street to the stadium.  The race organizer playfully called it “Mount Morehead,” but he wasn’t kidding; it was almost entirely uphill.  When we reached the stadium, we ran a lap around the outside, up the stairs, and into the north gate entrance.  Once inside, we ran a lap around the ground level concourse and then up the ramps to the 500-level (holy crap).  Then we went a short distance around the upper concourse and back down another set of ramps, out the players’ chute and through the finish line on the 50-yard line.  So, as you can see, the bulk of the course was uphill (especially those ramps).

It was SUPER crowded at the start line, which was overwhelming.  I kept freaking out and Katie kept telling me, “We’ve got this.”  She was a little nervous too, but kept it together and kept encouraging me.  Before we knew it, a horn sounded to start the race.  I do wish they’d told the walkers to make their way toward the back, because we had to do a lot of dodging people and running out into the road to get around walkers.  I kept up with Katie for two or three minutes, and I made it almost all the way through my first song before I had to take a walking break.  I tried to stay to the right whenever I walked so I wouldn’t be an obstacle to folks who were running.

I started to get discouraged right away, which sucked.  Normally, I would’ve had Joey there to say something at just the right time or to suggest that we run to some point up ahead and get my mind off the negative thoughts.  But it was up to me this time.

I set a simple strategy; run as much as possible through each song on my playlist, run through each mile-marker sign, and run through each intersection so I didn’t have to have a cop holding traffic for me while I wheezed my way across the road.  The scenery was pretty, and the day was PERFECT…maybe 60 degrees, a little breezy, and sunny.

I also made a commitment not to fall behind the folks around me; I focused in on a red-haired girl who appeared to be about my same fitness level and was run/walking as well.  It worked like a charm.

Until we got to the ramps inside the stadium.  I had to walk up all of them.  Plus, I had only been in the stadium once before, so I didn’t realize that there were two ramps per level. I got up the fourth ramp and thought I was done, and then I saw the door leading inside and it said “300 Level.”  Shit, I thought.  Shit, shit, shit, I’m never going to make this. But I kept on walking and tried my best to keep up with the cadence of the music.  I finally hit the top and I picked up running again.

I REALLY wanted to walk back down some of the ramps, but I told myself I wasn’t going to waste any downhill portions of the race (especially since there were so few), and I kept running.  Toward the bottom, my earbuds fell out for good (I’ve got to get some new ones), so I just took them out altogether.  Before I knew it, I saw daylight ahead and was running out the player’s entrance.  WHAT a rush that was…the same entrance that Steve Smith ran through, DeAngelo Williams, Cam Newton…there I was…dodging some lady and her toddler, but running through nonetheless.  I revelled in the moment for just a second, and then started scanning the line of cheerers for Katie.  I heard her screaming “look at the clock!!” and I looked up and it said 44:20.  WHAT?!!  I spent the entire race feeling like I was going to fail again at my goal (being under 46).  But here I was just a few yards from the finish line, and I was going to end up beating my goal by over a minute!

Katie snapped a pic of me:

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I was shocked and thrilled and exhausted.  My official time was 44:35.  Katie made her goal too (under 39).  And I ran over half of the race (at least).  Four months ago, I would never have believed I could’ve done that.  According to many of the online accounts I’ve read of women who’ve taken Lupron, I shouldn’t have been able to do that.  But I did.

Katie and I snapped a selfie, got our official times, snagged water and protein bars, and then sat in the parking deck for 40 minutes trying to get back out to come home. I also found that red-haired girl and told her I’d been trying to keep up with her, and that she did awesome.  Everyone needs to hear when they’ve done a great job.

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The ibuprofen worked like a charm…not one bit of joint pain during the run, and I haven’t had any since, either.  I even went with Joey and Indy on a celebratory lap around the neighborhood after I got back home.

On the technical front, I need new earphones and a new running belt.  I don’t have enough room in the one I currently have for my phone, ID and keys. My driver’s license fell out on the field while we were getting our official times.  I saw it happen, so I was able to pick it up quickly, but there’s always the chance that it could happen and I wouldn’t catch it.  I’m thinking of getting a Flip Belt; a couple of people had them at the race and they looked comfortable and secure.

On the “what’s next” front, I’m going to focus on endurance for the next couple of weeks rather than speed, because we’ve got two hikes planned over Memorial Day weekend (both in the mountains).  Our next scheduled 5K is July 4th, and I’d like to finish it in under 44 minutes.

I’m proud.  I’m proud that I managed all by myself.  Katie even offered to give up her goal and run with me, and I told her not to.  I’m proud that I picked up and ran again every time I felt exhausted.  I’m proud that I didn’t give up.  I’m proud that I’m not using Lupron as an excuse to stay on the couch, even when I don’t feel the best.  Endometriosis isn’t going to win this.  It’s not going to beat me, and it doesn’t have to beat you either.

Here’s my playlist in case you’d like to use it:

  1. Tik Tok – Ke$ha
  2. Turn Down for What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon
  3. Lips are Movin – Meghan Trainor
  4. Boom Boom Pow – The Black Eyed Peas
  5. Hey Mama – The Black Eyed Peas
  6. Toxic – Britney Spears
  7. Lose Yourself – Eminem
  8. Word Crimes – Weird Al
  9. Chariots of Fire – London Philharmonic Orchestra
  10. Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  11. Bring Me to Life – Evanescence
  12. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
  13. Wannabe – Spice Girls (I finished the race before this one started, thankfully!)
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Hiking Recap: Pink Beds Loop Trail

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We were looking for a fairly easy hike to do because I have a 5K tomorrow (!!) and I didn’t want to wear my legs out and render myself too sore to train for that.  This was the PERFECT hike for just that situation.  The Pink Beds Loop Trail is located in the Pisgah National Forest, not too far from Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock near Brevard, NC.

I’d read the synopsis on HikeWNC.info, so I had a good idea of the environment(s) we’d be traversing.  Their site describes taking the loop in a counter-clockwise direction, so we’d originally planned to do that, but we happened upon a very nice man in the parking lot (who, coincidentally, went to Wingate University, where Joey and I went and where Joey currently teaches!) who’d done the hike many times and told us that we’d want to take it clockwise to have a less strenuous trip.  I was all about that since I was worried about my legs.

We began the path (which was fairly well-blazed with orange rectangles), and walked for a short stretch through several fantastic open meadows:
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until we reached the fork that actually began the loop.  We took off to the left to begin our clockwise trip, which was clearly a good decision as a fair portion of the trail was uphill at that point (although only gently), so it was nice to get that out of the way up front.  Thick trees formed a canopy over us, and I honestly felt like I was in some kind of fairytale…just waiting to glimpse a unicorn around the next corner or something.
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We reached the Barrett Branch trail relatively quickly; it’s a shortcut that cuts across the loop in the event that you don’t want to do the entire five plus miles.  However, if you turn off to the left, you’ll have a great payoff after about a mile when you reach a beautiful waterfall.  Unfortunately, I read the online synopsis wrong and thought the waterfall was only 0.3 miles in, so we got frustrated and turned around before we reached it.  We’re going to do this one again in two weeks, so we’ll follow it all the way next time.  One complaint, though; the signage indicated that there would be blue blazes along the Barrett Branch trail, and we didn’t see ANY blazes at all; the path was well-established, so we weren’t concerned that we were getting off the trail, but it was a little irritating not to have it confirmed periodically that we were on the right track.

Back on the Pink Beds Loop, we crossed the South Fork Mills River and its tributaries many times.  One crossing required a rock hop (which was an adventure for our dog, and to our surprise, she did a great job).  The rocks were large, flat, and sturdy, so I wasn’t too concerned about making it across.
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We also had to traverse this log bridge, which thankfully had a handrail.  It was also wide and sturdy, but I was rather nervous (because of the Lupron clumsiness), so I took small steps to avoid pitching myself face-first into the stream.
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I was amazed at how clear the water was; I wish I’d dipped my hand in to see how cold it was too.  We saw several minnows and one larger fish that we thought may have been a trout.  Thankfully, Indy was more interested in drinking the water than chasing any of the fish.
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We passed through several boggy areas (but none that made the path muddy), and the trail was EXTREMELY rooty for much of the second half.  I never tripped, but I found myself having to look down a lot to make sure I wouldn’t, and that took away from getting to pay attention to the scenery.

The last mile or so was done over impressive foot bridges, which the website says were built in 2013; it almost felt like we were walking on a greenway in Charlotte with how well-made they were.  They passed over large swathes of grass and more bogs and streams, and eventually we made our way back to the fork where we began.
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Our entire hike was exactly 6.2 miles; I imagine we added another .6 or .7 by going down the Barrett Branch trail a ways, so I’d say the loop is probably 5 and a half miles or so (rather than the 5.1 that the website indicates).

I think this is the most beautiful hike we’ve ever done, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a long, yet undemanding hike.  My legs weren’t very sore the next day, and I was able to get out and train for my 5K this week without a problem.

I cannot wait to get out there and do this one again!
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The Lupron Diaries: Reflections on Mother’s Day

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Another Mother’s Day has come and gone.  It’s funny…there’s only been a couple of Mother’s Days that weren’t awkward for me since Joey and I got married.  I feel like we got a pass for the first couple of years since we were just married (and one of those we spent in Texas, so we didn’t have the added baggage of everyone we knew asking us when we were going to start a family).  By the time we moved back, though, the expectation was already there (from church folks, not our parents), that we’d be starting a family.

I had a colossal chip on my shoulder about it for most of those years; we didn’t know if we even wanted kids, and here I was having to field questions every Mother’s Day…or gently correct folks who wished me a Happy Mother’s Day because they just assumed that all women of childbearing age are mothers.  I fiercely defended my “motherhood” of my kitty, Shelli (and still do to some degree since she struggles so badly with anxiety, which requires a lot of care).  I’d answer women who asked me when we were going to have kids with, “I don’t know if we even want them!” (mentally adding, “so THERE!” afterward), watching their utter confusion at a Christian woman who may not want to “be fruitful and multiply.”

Two years ago was the first time in a long time that Mother’s Day wasn’t awkward for me; we’d just started trying, and while I wasn’t a mom yet, I felt like it was going to happen any time.  I remember sitting in the choir, not being able to stand up with the women who were already moms, but thinking to myself that surely I would be able to next year.

And then came a year of unsuccessful trying and a failed round of fertility meds.  Last year was just too raw.  I skipped church and we had a lazy day around the house.  I didn’t want to deal with the sadness and embarrassment.  Sure, this was my thirteenth childless Mother’s Day, but this was only the second one where I really wanted to be a mother, and the first one where I had to deal with the fact that my body was failing me.  We celebrated our own mothers, but stayed away from other folks who might ask me uncomfortable questions otherwise.

We skipped church again this year.  I don’t blame them for the big deal that they make on Mother’s Day.  Moms should be celebrated and fussed over; motherhood is a noble calling, and women who must make sacrifices every day for their children’s sake deserve a day where they are publicly honored.  But it’s awkward for me at church, especially now that our journey is public.  I don’t want the pity from people who know.  I don’t want to have to sit down while just about every other woman my age stands.  So I didn’t.  We celebrated our mothers on Friday and Saturday, and on Mother’s Day, we headed out to Brevard, NC, for a six mile hike in the mountains.

And it was glorious.  We did the Pink Beds Loop Trail; although it’s listed as “moderate,” I’d definitely call it an easy hike, save for the sheer distance of it.  I mis-read the commentary on HikeWNC’s website, so we didn’t make it all the way out the Barrett Branch Trail to the waterfall, but we will definitely add that in the next time we go.

I’ll post a separate review of the hike in the event that anyone wants to see the pics and read about that without wading through my infertility ramblings:)

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The Lupron Diaries: Dealing with Negative Emotions

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I’ve definitely felt like the Lupron is beating me these past few days.  I didn’t stop to think that perhaps the side effects would compound as the shots went on, but that seems to be what’s happening.  It feels like I’m constantly surrounded by the crappy version of Snow White’s seven dwarfs…”weepy,” “grumpy,” “overwhelmed,” “frustrated,” “stressed,” “bitchy,” and “anxious.”  For the most part, I’m able to keep perspective and remind myself that it’s the Lupron messing with my head, but there are plenty of times that these terrible emotions surface, and I’m left curled up in the recliner crying over some stupid viral story I read on the internet or griping all over Joey for no apparent reason.

However, I’ve figured out some ways to deal with this side effect; hopefully my coping mechanisms will help you as well (also, I’m not a doctor, just a grumpy layperson.  Don’t take my advice to the detriment of your health…if you’ve got problems, consult a professional).

  • Pray.  If you’re not a person of faith, you’ll have to humor me here, but I am a Christian, and I am constantly having to remind myself that God is in control of all of this and He will get me through it.  And I’m not just talking about “pious, churchy” prayers, either.  I gripe at God. Sometimes I yell at Him.  Most of the time I’m contrite and pitiful, but honestly, He knows what you’re thinking anyway, so you may as well be honest and tell Him.  I think God appreciates honesty, even when it’s ugly.  And sometimes, that’s exactly what I need to talk my way through a piss-poor mood.
  • Establish and maintain routinesimageI know this sounds both elementary and
    boring, but it’s true. Routines are comforting, and when you’re struggling with a barrage of uncertainty and stress, you need comfort and stability in every way possible.  I have set times to wake up every day, and I try not to vary from them.  I have set days to run (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday), and a set day for a long walk or other activity (Sunday).  We have set activities on Wednesday night, Thursday night, and Sunday morning.  Open space (on your schedule) can be overwhelming, so having an established routine can keep you from freaking out.
  • Exercise.  imageSorry…you’re not going to get around this.  There’s a reason it’s suggested in almost any article about mental wellness.  Studies have shown time and time again that exercise boosts endorphins in the brain and is a highly effective remedy against depression and anxiety.  Additionally, since weight gain is another side effect of the Lupron,exercising will help keep that one at bay, too.  I run/walk three days a week, do a long walk (or hike) on
    Sundays, and I’m working on getting strength routines together for Monday and/or Friday.  It also helps to have something to train for.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been caught in negative thoughts and I’ve gotten out and run or hiked, envisioning myself crossing the finish line at a 5K or summiting Mt. Mitchell, and I’ve finished that workout feeling like I kicked ass and was ready to take on the world.  You don’t have to run.  Find an activity that you like to do and push yourself.  Sweat therapy is a real thing.
  • Find a stress-relieving hobby (and do it as often as you can).
    When I discovered adult coloring books, my world instantly became more calm. image
    Mandalas are my favorite things to color for their balance and symmetry.  I love the methodical nature of the process…selecting a few colors and setting their pattern, finishing with each color one at a time.  And the finished projects are so gratifying!  Find something that you can focus on that’ll take your mind off negative emotions; reading, scrapbooking, drawing, crossword puzzles…whatever works for you.
  • Give yourself a break.  I’ve had to lower my expectations of myself since I’m overwhelmed more easily and get frustrated much more quickly.  I can’t handle doing something every Saturday or having more than one or two commitments during a week.  I can’t agree to many last-minute or spontaneous requests.  I can’t do as many “favors” for people.  Being realistic about your limits and operating within them will lessen the sense of being overwhelmed by having added yet another thing to your list of responsibilities.
  • Avoid your triggers.  I don’t watch tv shows about obese people.  I don’t read stories about animals (unless I can tell from the headline that it’s silly and cute).  I avoid movies that I know will make me cry.  For a normal person, a good cry can be cathartic, but for someone dealing with Lupron weepiness, it may start a flood that won’t stop easily.  If it looks like it might throw you off and you can avoid it, by all means, steer yourself the other way.
  • Be honest with your family, friends, and partner.  If I’m “Lupron grumpy,” I tell them.  If I don’t want to go out because I need to curl up in the recliner and cry, I tell them.  They need to know if you’re going to be snippy for no reason so they don’t think they’ve hurt you. And they need to know when to try to pull you out of a bad place.
  • Sometimes, just eat the damn ice cream.  You’re not going to win every battle. Sometimes, you’re going to want to pile up on the couch and eat cheetos and watch six hours of Deadliest Catch.  And sometimes, it’s okay to do that.  Don’t do it often, but sometimes, it’ll just have to do.  Pick yourself up tomorrow and move on.

Remember, what you’re going through is tough.  Lupron treatment ain’t for sissies. You are an EndoWarrior, and you can beat the negative emotions (most of the time)!