Learning Lessons About Prescribed Drugs — the Hard Way

Learning Lessons About Prescribed Drugs — the Hard Way
A Lump in the Road column I took one tiny pill, no bigger than a Tic Tac. Twenty minutes later, when I sat down to dinner with my family, I realized I didn’t feel well. I put a little rice on my plate, then, without eating a nibble, excused myself. I had to lie down. My brain was spinning, my stomach felt nauseous, and my head pounded like it was a Saturday morning after a frat party. (Only I’ve never been in a frat and, with rare exceptions, I never even dated frat guys.) My husband Gary texted Doug Thrasher, a brilliant physician who loves both of us in spite of our many idiosyncrasies. Gary and Doug were roommates in college, and they used to dump soup on each other’s heads over the shower stall in the dorm, so they have a special bond. Doug said to wait it out. Twenty-four hours later, I was still in bed. A long, miserable day. Among the many lasting effects of cancer, chemotherapy induced early menopause and depression for me. I found these symptoms embarrassing, issues I didn’t want to discuss with my husband, my doctor, or anyone else. After all, women have endured menopause from the beginning of time, and no one mollycoddled the pioneers with pills as they trudged their way across the prairies. As for depression, I thought I could tackle it through exercise, diet and attitude. But my husband came with me to my six-month check up with my oncologist, and he spilled the beans. “She’s depressed,” he said, “and hot flashes keep her up half the night.” D
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