The Lupron Diaries: Final Thoughts, Goal Update, and What’s Next

It’s been quite some time since I last wrote; I’ve actually been legitimately busy.  Brace yourselves, because this may be a long one.  Since my final shot:

1. My side effects have subsided!

Thank goodness; they started to go away after about four weeks, which, from what I read, was the normal timeframe for that process to begin.  I cannot express in words how glad I am for the bone pain to be gone.  I’ve even managed to run a couple of times since with NO pain, which makes me pretty excited about fall/winter hiking and my next two 5Ks I’ve got scheduled.  My mood has improved VASTLY, although I’m not gonna lie, I sure would like to have some PMS symptoms about now so we can get back on the fertility treatment train.  But mostly, I’m just so grateful to have survived the Lupron experience and come out on the other side relatively unscathed.  I even managed a 5.3 mile hike on Labor Day in which I didn’t end up stumbling and tripping constantly.  I can’t tell you how much more enjoyable that makes hiking.

2. The weight has come back off!

I gained about 11 pounds throughout the course of the treatment.  Although I was pissed about it, I didn’t beat myself up too much because I’d largely managed to keep from eating all of the food (one of my Lupron Goals), so I figured that it would come off relatively quickly once my appetite went back to normal.  And it DID!  I’ve actually lost about 17 pounds since July 16th and am seeing numbers I haven’t seen in five years.  It hasn’t been effortless by any stretch; I’ve had to work hard and really clean up my diet, but it’s led to a completely different relationship with food and an understanding about what my body needs and how to fuel it properly (more on that in a future post).

3. I hiked Mount Mitchell!

You’ll recall that this was my most important Lupron Goal.  And I did it.  I’ll post a longer recap of the hike itself later. It was by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever done physically, and outside of holding the family together while my dad was in the hospital back in 2007, it was the toughest mental battle too. I had a panic attack when it started raining on us, and it took significantly longer than I thought it would, but I reached the top, bloody, dirty, and tear-stained, and I stood on the observation deck looking across what seemed like hundreds of mountains, feeling like I’d conquered the world.  I did it.

4. I’m getting paid to write!

This actually happened a little after the Lupron treatment was completed, but I’m still counting it as one of my Lupron Goals.  I’ve been writing for #AmReading for a few weeks now, and while the pay isn’t much, it’s been fun and interesting and is looking to be the launching point for landing higher-paying clients.  I’m writing about books and reading, and you can check out some of my articles here, here, here, here, here, and here!

There is a downside, though, I must be honest. I can no longer blame my grumpiness on the Lupron.  While it has improved and the little bit of patience I had has come back, I’ve always been pretty crusty and prickly, so I’ve lost my excuse.  I’ve had to replace, “sorry!  I’m just Lupron grumpy!” with “Sorry, I’m just a horrible person and you’re annoying.” So that sucks.

I can tell you, without reservation, that I do not regret my decision to go through treatment with Lupron Depot.  It was hard…probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. But I can also tell you that I’ve come out on the other side feeling better, healthier, and stronger than I have in quite some time.  And I credit a lot of that to Joey. I never would’ve made it through this without a constant source of support and unconditional love (and LOTS of patience), someone to be a caretaker and sounding board, to remind me that I could make it through this. Joey and Jesus got me through:).

This isn’t the end of the story; I promise.  There are too many things going on (both good and bad), and I want this endometriosis, infertility, weight loss, and personal growth journey out there, if nothing else than to show people that it’s possible to survive–and maybe even thrive–through tough times.

More to come!

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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: 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!)

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)!

The Lupron Diaries: Shot #3 and Weekend Happenings

I won’t bore you with the details from Shot #2, as it was pretty much the same story as Shot #1…quick and painless.

Shot #3, however, hurt like HELL.  Ginger felt terrible about it, but it wasn’t her fault.  I think it was a combination of my laying the wrong way and my tensing up (maybe because I wasn’t positioned right), but I felt every second of it, including the gross sensation of thick liquid going into my muscle.  I even got lightheaded for a couple of seconds, but it wasn’t unbearable.  She laughed and said, “it’ll probably hurt more taking the band-aid off than the shot did.”  I chuckled, but thought she was out of her mind; after a quick hug, we were on the way out.

She was RIGHT, though.  I don’t know what kind of industrial-strength band-aids they use, but I thought I was going to find all of my skin on it when I took it off the next morning.

On another unpleasant note, I think I’m shedding more hair than normal.  It could just be my imagination, but it seems like I’m throwing away more loose hair than I usually do.  We’ll see how that plays out.  Hair loss is a possible Lupron side-effect, albeit an uncommon one, so perhaps I’m just shedding my winter coat like the pets are.

We went to South Carolina this weekend to visit my grandmothers (we go once a month).  I snapped this pic of a derelict house on the way down; they’d cleared out some trees over the last couple of months, which left it exposed, and my mom wanted a picture of it, so I took one for the team and hung out the window at 70 mph to get her a picture.  You’re welcome, Mom;).

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One of my grandmothers is suffering from dementia.  Usually, it only seems to affect her short-term memory (although I’m sure that those who see her on a regular basis notice it in other ways), but this time, she didn’t remember that I’d come to spend a week with them during the summer a few times when I was a kid.  That hurt; she usually regales me with the tale of her and Papa walking in on me calling my parents because I was homesick and picks on me about it. This time, however, I regaled her with the tale of the only fish I ever caught (that couldn’t have been more than three inches long) and how I made Papa take it off the hook because I didn’t want to touch it.  She asked me if I ever got homesick, and I told her I did and we moved on to other things.  Dementia really sucks.

Sundays are always a bit stressful for me; although I love church, it involves a lot of interpersonal activity (and sometimes singing in front of a big crowd), which wears out this introvert.  Joey and I have enjoyed the last two weeks of going and doing something active on Sundays, so we continued that by heading out to Morrow Mountain to hike.

We did the Fall Mountain trail, which is listed at four miles, but after the re-routes they had to do for some fallen trees, ended up being about 4.2.  It’s listed as a moderate hike, and I’d agree with that assessment.  However, it required some log-hopping and balancing to cross a couple of streams, which was pretty harrowing for someone struggling with Lupron clumsiness.

Joey and Indy on the trail:

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We stopped at a rock outcropping about halfway through and something intrigued Indy greatly.  I couldn’t tell what, but snapped a pic of her.

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I didn’t wash off my makeup before heading out to the trail, so I was ultra-fabulous for the hike.

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I think we’re going to keep up this trend of doing a long walk/hike on Sundays.  It’s a great way to decompress and a fantastic way to rack up some miles right at the beginning of the week.   Mitchell will be 12 miles, so we’ve got our work cut out for us.  It’s also nice not to be sitting in front of the tv, which traditionally has been the way we’ve spent our Sunday afternoons/evenings.

We’re also toying with the idea of a day-trip to the mountains to hike on Mother’s Day.  The last couple of years, I’ve skipped church because it sucks too much not to be able to stand up with the rest of the moms.  We’ll see.

The Lupron Diaries: Side Effects that Suck

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Today is my third shot; halfway there! And while this hasn’t been nearly the horror story that I’d read about, I don’t want to give you the impression that the entire experience is sunshine and rainbows, because it’s certainly not.  Here’s the rundown of the side effects I’ve dealt with  over the last two months.  I’ll focus in on each one in future posts to discuss how I’m dealing with them.

  1. Joint Pain: for the first few days after the shot, my hips and knees hurt pretty badly.  I first noticed it when I was in the bed and Shelli (my kitty) hopped up on my hip to curl up and sleep.  She does this every night (which makes sleeping an adventure since she’s balanced so precariously…I can’t tell you how many times I’ve inadvertently launched her across the room), so it’s not all that unusual, but I saw STARS the first night.  It typically goes away after about three days, so I just make use of the ibuprofen for those days and wait it out.
  2. HOT FLASHES:  man, that first flash was ROUGH.  I was on a conference call that was particularly aggravating, and I felt myself go nuclear.  I got so hot that I started to feel cold, which actually wasn’t all that unpleasant, so I felt pretty successful for having made it through.  This side effect was one of my greater anxieties, because I’m already hot-natured.  I will say, though, that the add-back medication has helped immensely.  I think I’ve only had a handful of genuine “flashes” over the last two months, and they’ve been bearable.
  3. Weepiness:  I won’t call this “depression.”  I’ve been depressed before, and this is nowhere near that bad.  I’d liken it to typical PMS-type sadness; news stories make me want to cry (especially ones about animals) and I’ve found myself reading too many sad stories for the catharsis of “crying it out.”  While it sucks, it’s definitely not that soul-crushing type of hopelessness that comes along with clinical depression.
  4. Irritability/Grumpiness: I’m already a pretty grumpy person, so I’m not sure how much different I am, but I can definitely feel myself get frustrated more easily and there’s been a time or two where I’ve said something snippy that I may not have said if I hadn’t been on Lupron.  Thankfully, for the most part my friends have found my grumpiness to be entertaining, so I don’t think anyone is ready to cut me out of their life just yet.   I’ve not experienced the “Lupron Rage” that I read about; I’ll take some minor irritability over rage any day.
  5. Hungriness:  Holy crap this has sucked.  I went from not wanting to eat anything for two months after surgery to wanting to eat ALL. THE. DAMN.TIME.  I can see how people gain excessive amounts of weight if they’re not paying attention to what’s going on with their body.  I’ve had to make a concerted effort not to eat everything I see and to offset the overeating I do with a healthy amount of exercise.  I’ve lost about four pounds over the last two months; I’d like it to be more, but I’m not going to beat myself up too much about it.
  6. Clumsiness/Lightheadedness: I put these together since most of my clumsiness is a result of feeling a bit lightheaded when I stand up.  There was one incident at work where I barely made it into the bathroom stall before falling down and I ended up cracking my head against the side of the stall when I sat down.  That was a little frightening.  In fact, this one has probably been the most frightening of the side effects, since the possibility of my falling down in front of people is high, and making a spectacle of myself is one of my phobias.  Joey has mentioned a couple of times that he’s a little nervous about my falling off Mt. Mitchell. I just told him that I’d tie myself to him so we’d both go together if I fall.  On a positive note, though, this side effect has improved over the last two months; I haven’t had it nearly as bad the second month as I did the first.

That’s it, guys.  While this clearly isn’t a walk in the park (more like a “stagger through the park while it’s 100 degrees”), it absolutely hasn’t been the horrific experience I read about online.  I know that there are women out there who’ve had a genuinely terrible time with Lupron; I’m not trying to diminish that.  However, if you’re out there and your doctor recommends it as a treatment for your endometriosis/infertility, I don’t want you to feel hopeless and terrified.  It’s possible not only to survive, but THRIVE while you’re on this drug.