adriene hughes in oncology office of Dr. Barbara Parker, univeristy of california, san diego

Archive of a Breast Cancer Survivor

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03.02.05
Visiting the Oncologist

I experienced my first hot flash yesterday. At first I thought the heat was turned up in the room. My face was flushed and my body hot. Really hot. Was it because the hat I was wearing was polar fleece? I felt a heat wave passing over me. Then I thought: is this the infamous hot flash? Because my menses has stopped I was expecting some sort of retaliation. I had to ask my male co-worker whose wife had experienced her menopause. I asked, “Is it hot in here? Feel my cheek. Am I sick or is this a hot flash?” He confirmed my worst fear: yes, it appeared to be a hot flash because no sooner than I asked it was leaving my body quickly like a wash of spring rain. And there you have it­—the menopause has begun. The chemo has shut down my cycle and the inevitable has commenced. There is a certain amount of excitement to this news: education will begin on how to deal with this twist of fate. Osteoporosis. Calcium supplements. My new life. Like a broken record I say to myself, I’m so young to have this betrayal, but this time I do not cry because this deception was expected. It did not come out of nowhere. I cannot lie. I have to be honest. I look into my hands and know that aiding the enemy is the least of my concerns.

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