Sleep eludes me . . . ugh

23 Jun

It is 4:30 in the morning and I still can not sleep. Last night wasn’t a whole lot better . . . I could not get to sleep until about 2:30 am and then woke up at 5:30 am. I believe the culprit is Tamoxifen. I am supposed to take this drug everyday for five years. It is a tough one.

This is my second time starting the medication. I originally started this drug earlier in the year – not long after completing radiation. I had a lot of side effects (including: headaches, dizziness, nausea, extreme night sweats and insomnia). But, I was still going through treatment (Herceptin infusions every three weeks) and I was still recovering from the effects of chemotherapy and radiation.

My oncologist had me stop taking Tamoxifen because of the side effects (but, with the expectation that I would resume taking Tamoxifen once I completed the Herceptin treatments).

So now I am back on Tamoxifen. I have to say that so far, the side effects are not at all as bad as the first time I tried taking it. Hopefully the side effects that I am experiencing will lessen over time.

I started the drug at a lower dose than what I will ultimately be taking. I will gradually build up to the full dose over some time. Then, I am told, that I should give it about three to four months to see if my body adjusts to the medication.

I hope that the side effects will lessen and soon. But, I am guessing that I may have to expect an increase in side effects with the increase in dose . . . but, I am hoping not. I mean why NOT? I could be lucky with it. I hope that I am.

Tamoxifen reduces the risk of recurrence by 40%. Although I am told I have been cured . . . my oncologist expects me to be on Tamoxifen and I believe that it is part of (my taking it for five years) that she is basing my cure upon.

I am not certain, it is all a bit unclear what it is based upon. All I know is that I am grabbing onto that word . . . cured. Yep, has a very nice ring to it. πŸ™‚

4 Responses to “Sleep eludes me . . . ugh”

  1. Sandy Gougis June 23, 2010 at 9:51 AM #

    Hey, Cured Girl. πŸ™‚ Can you take Benadryl to help you sleep? I remember that put you right out during your herceptin treatments.


  2. cancerfree2b June 23, 2010 at 10:37 AM #


    Hi Sandy,

    Yes, Benadryl put me out pretty good in those Herceptin treatments. I could barely stay awake – as you obviously remember πŸ™‚

    But, that was given intravenously and so it has a pretty strong impact. I could take Benadryl in a pill form, but, it doesn’t knock me out the way it did when I got it intravenously.

    Also, I am trying to limit the medications that I take. It is not clear how other drugs and supplements interact with Tamoxifen. Although I am going to start taking Melatonin again. I think that will help and I do not believe that it has any interactions with Tamoxifen.

    Recently a study found that green tea helps to block the effects of estrogen (that is what I am taking Tamoxifen for). The study found that while green tea (unfortunately) would not make a good replacement for Tamoxifen, the combination of green tea and Tamoxifen was more effective at blocking estrogen on cancer cells than either agent alone. And, this doesn’t require drinking gallons of green tea every day. The study was based upon having one serving of green tea per day.

    So, that is kind of good news.

    I would love to walk again and soon! Maybe today if I am still awake enough after my appointment. I will give you a call okay? (My appointment is at 2:45 pm, I will call you on my way home).

    Thank you for the suggestion! It reminded me that I CAN take something – Melatonin, oh, and calcium too. πŸ™‚


  3. Sally June 24, 2010 at 8:28 PM #

    Dear Lisa,
    I just enjoyed your singing of Danny Boy and Amazing Grace “duo.” Great, and so sweet of you to have recorded them for your Mom.
    I just realized how much we take for granted, like taking a shower. I hope you’ve been cleared for that, surely by now. I hope you’re getting more sleep. I remember years ago at a Yoga class, how the relaxation at the end had almost everyone just about sleeping. Maybe a Yoga routine of relaxing muscles would be helpful if you could manage it.
    Love and prayers,

  4. cancerfree2b June 26, 2010 at 11:33 AM #

    Dear Aunt Sally,

    I have been cleared to take a shower!!! I got clearance just a few days ago. I am supposed to keep it to five minutes, but, what glorious minutes those are, such a great feeling!

    Yoga is something I really want to get back to doing. My arms are pretty limited, but, hopefully that will improve soon. There are free classes not too far from me (there is a gym that offers free classes to breast cancer patients and survivors – so I think it must be tailored to some of the limitations that I have, hopefully). In any case, I won’t have these limitations forever. I just need to get more physical therapy time in.

    I hope you are doing well. Thank you so much for your love and prayers. It means so much to me.

    Love to you always,


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