Exhausted … and still learning to navigate conferences …

By | Thu September 24, 2015

Yesterday I attended the Medicine X Ed conference up at Stanford. I had planned on attending all day today too, but by the time I got home last night I was exhausted. My body could not handle another full day (12 hours of conferencing when you include the drive time to and from site). Then I thought back on the last couple of days and realized why I was so tired.

Monday I spent too long at doctors appointments. Mostly this was a screw up at the Infusion Treatment Center. I’m trying out Lupron (ovarian suppression) in small doses to see how my body reacts to it. This is the next stage of hormone therapy to help prevent the breast cancer from coming back. Because it was not a typical dose, the main campus pharmacy didn’t have it. Rather, they had some at the South Bay campus – and so, after wait more than 30 minutes, I hopped in the car and headed down to south bay. It turns out they were not exactly ready for me when I arrived, and I spent another 2 hours waiting for a needle that takes about 2 seconds to give.

Tuesday started with an early morning physical therapy appointment for my back (note, they don’t do physio therapy, they do physical therapy – it is mostly targeted exercise and stretch). I went to South Bay as I had a derm appointment there first. In preparation for the derm appointment I’d eaten a little gluten on Sunday and Monday. I thought I had one blister which wasn’t in an idea location for biopsy. Sitting in the chair, talking with the derm, showing her my various rashes which had gotten much worse in the last two days, a light went on. The rashes were caused by the gluten – dermatitis herpetiformis. This was why I’d eaten the gluten in the first place. So, she did a biopsy of a couple of points on my stomach – 4mm skin samples, which are now stitched up. I need to return in two weeks to have the stitches removed. After the biopsy (which again, meant I was in the derm office for 90 minutes instead of 15), I went upstairs for my second Lupron injection. This wasn’t as long as the last time, but still not fast – 30+ minutes.

So, the first two days of my week were spent mostly in health related appointments.

Wednesday I was up early so that we (my friend Stacey and I) could drive up to Medicine X and arrive before everything started. I had my third Lupron shot just after lunch. This time I was in and out of the ITA in less than 10 minutes.

The conference yesterday was great, but it was also exhausting. There was a bit of a mix up at lunch, which was already planned to be late in the day. I didn’t bring enough snacks. There were no gluten free snacks other than a little bit of fruit, which was snatched up quickly and not refreshed for later breaks. The conference organizers were very responsive to the oversight with catering, but still, it caused an extra challenge to the day.

And so, I had to make the call to skip out on the morning sessions of the conference. There was one session I really wanted to attend, so I’ll try to catch up with the organizers of that session at lunch (thank-you Twitter for giving me a way to reach out to the presenters). I’m suffering a little from FOMO (fear of missing out), but the reality is, I need to take care of myself. I don’t have the stamina that I used to have. I cannot figure out whether the fatigue is caused by the gluten, the lupron, low blood sugar from not eating right, or just plain doing too much).

The good news is that I seem to be tolerating the Lupron well, which means I can move onto the next step for hormone therapy – which sucks, but for me, it doesn’t yet suck as badly as the tamoxifen.

 

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