Barbie toes!

I have to confess, that I am still taken aback a bit by the complexity and sneakiness of the Tamoxifen side effects. The fuzziness creeps up on me and I blame myself rather than the drug. I get frustrated that despite my daily exercise I am not losing weight and forget that it is a well documented Tamoxifen side effect. But the night time cramps? I am in no doubt that the culprit is Tamoxifen.

Last week something must have been going on, some misalignment of planets or imbalance in my diet. Or both. Whichever it was, the result was a series of horrendous night cramps. You know the kind which wake you up with a start? The ones which make you squeal and groan out loud. The ones which sharply snatch your peacefully sleeping spouse from their sleep, thinking there is some dire medical emergency. I have not been too badly affected by the Tamoxifen cramps so far, so when they struck last week I was puzzled about what had triggered them. The first morning they visited, I thought it was a fluke and after hopping about the bedroom trying to loosen the taut muscles in my calf, I soon forgot about them. However, two days later when I was abruptly and very painfully seized from my sleep with a particularly severe onset, I started to wonder what was going on. This time, they were really nasty and clever. As well as the calf spasm, my middle toes joined the contraction party and parted company, deciding to point alarmingly in different directions. I defy anyone to remain silent when under this type of attack. I couldn’t help the cries of pain and no matter how hard I tried to get the cramps to relax, they refused to cooperate. As a last resort, and in desperation I tried to set my foot on the floor to try and lengthen the muscle and ease the cramp. To absolutely no avail. And even worse, I was completely unable to flatten my foot – it remained stubbornly pointed and resisted any movement with a renewed sharp stab of pain. So there I was, with toes like a Barbie doll, prancing around the bedroom wondering why I seemed to have acquired Barbie’s foot and wondering if it would stay like that for the rest of my life.

Happily, the plastic toes finally softened and I was eventually able to put my foot on the floor, gingerly and painfully. Of course it was impossible to get back to sleep – although poor sleeping spouse did manage to nod off again, muttering and clearly re-living the scary Barbie toes experience! I am not sure which is worse – having a wife with only one asset or one with Barbie toes!!

So, Tamoxifen, you certainly know how to make your presence felt. Let’s get one thing clear then – I am prepared to let you into my life, and body, on a very clear understanding. That you work flat out to keep cancer away. If that is understood then I guess I can live with the Barbie toes and your other side effects.

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