Thursday, December 04, 2008

Oppression vs. deppression

I have had a lot of talks about my state of mind and soul since posting yesterday. I really appreciate the love and care so many of you have shown! It has been helpful to talk and think through things as I have attempted to do a little soul-searching and figure out what exactly is going on with me.

I do not think I am depressed-- at least not in the classical, clinical way. So everyone, please stop worrying about that (and yes, Mother, I am speaking to YOU!) My pastor reminded me of a good distinction between being depressed and being oppressed. When you are depressed, you turn inward and become self-focused. Sometimes this is due to sin, and sometimes to chemical imbalances, etc. When you are oppressed, outward things are crushing you, and you are struggling to deal with them. I am definitely in the oppressed camp.

As I have thought back over the last several weeks and discussed things with Dave, we realize two things converged that probably made things worse for me. One was that when I renewed my tamoxifen prescription, it was filled in the 20mg dose, instead of the 10mg dose. I had been taking 10mg twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, but the oncologist had encouraged me to try both ways and figure out what worked best for me. In hind-sight, I think taking the full dose at bedtime was making my mornings worse, so I am now returning to twice-a-day doses, and that is already helping some.

The second thing that happened at the same time, was that the endocrinologist suggested I back off of my exercising and rest for a while. That was perfectly good advice to someone with raised cortisol levels, but again in hind-sight it was probably not helpful to me. So back to exercise I go, and after my body gets over the shock, we will see where I stand.

I also need to clarify something that a couple of people have misunderstood from yesterday's post: if exercise is unable to counter-act the effects of the tamoxifen, I am perfectly open to taking drugs to help with this. I would simply like to avoid that if I can, and so am giving myself a month of increased exercise to see what happens. I meet with my doc again on December 30, and if things are not improved, we will discuss this possibility.

In speaking with another dear, wise friend yesterday, I was reminded of something I knew from going through Dave's cancer years ago: normal has shifted. Simple concept, but painful to realize that things may never return to what they were before this cancer journey. My friend reminded me that there are two separate steps involved in dealing with this "new" reality. First, you have to grieve the things lost, for the loss is real. And then, you have to reassess the new "normal", and discover all the things God still has for you to do. So, I may grieve this now-- for there appear to be real losses-- but I will also discover afresh God's plan for me in another season of life.

What a bittersweet thing this world is: full of beauty and blessing, and also full of peril and death and decay. But oh, what a God we serve, who carries us through, holds us, comforts us in our loss, and gives us not only His calling on our lives, but Himself.

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