Damn it all. I want a cancer manager, someone like a life coach or a personal manager who can explain this whole cancer thing to me because I feel I am being cheated of information.
Today I went to see my gyncaecologist. Routine annual check. A week ago my one sister went to see her gynae and he said, because of her age, she needed a special kind of pap smear test. She said it was so awful that she treated herself to a chocolate afterwards as consolation/comfort eating.
Anyway, there I arrive and lo and behold, once he hears I am on tamoxifen (I wasn't the last time I saw him), he tells me that it can cause thickening of the endometrium and therefore endometrial cancer or various pre-cancer stages. So I need this test which is inserted right into the uterus.
Now my sister and I are still trying to work out if we had the same thing, as my doctor seemed incredulous that she would need such a test if she was not on tamoxifen. Whatever. Mine was called a Z-sampler although I am battling to find info on it on the Net. Essentially it is an endometrial biopsy. 'Cos that is what it says on my medical aid invoice.
And essentially it was agony. Ok, only about 4 isolated seconds of agony, but agony nevertheless. And for quite a while afterwards, I felt quite overwhelmed by it all. Now that sounds dramatic but really, when I arrived back at the office, the office manager asked if I was ok. I didn't feel it.
Something I read about it on the Net, cannot remember where, said that 5% of women find it very painful. Like period pain, said the gynae. Like period pain, said the doctor too. But I have never really had period pain so it's not a good comparison for me. And for a while afterwards - as in an hour or so - the area around my tummy felt funny, but that is just my being hypersensitive cos that feeling was more of an awareness than pain.
Now I had read that tamoxifen can cause endometrial cancer. But had no idea I had to endure this agonising procedure, which I have to repeat in six months, although an article I read on www.cancer.org the american cancer association site said repeat testing is not necessary.
What I did also find on the Net was this horrifying article on the side-effects of tamoxifen on the american cancer association site. Why did nobody explain all this to me? Is it because I did not ask?