Hot flushes were something I expected to worry about in my fifties but once again cancer stuck its big wooden spoon into my life with a hormone-responsive tumour. Meaning my oncology team were keen to rid my body of estrogen by putting me into an early menopause through medication. Also known as a chemical menopause which just as it sounds, isn’t much fun and came with a whole host of side effects.
Hot flushes played a leading role in my menopause saga, I hoped they would get fewer and easier after a few months of the medication but 18 months in they were still making me hot and sweaty many times a day. A few ladies in my Instagram community had recommended acupuncture and thankfully with a few phones calls, my Breast Cancer Nurse had me on the waiting list for the Integrated Care Hospital in Glasgow. They very kindly got me an appointment quickly and before I knew it I was sitting with 20 little needles sticking out of me.
Surprisingly I found acupuncture pretty relaxing, my nurse was incredibly kind with a gentle manner and I came out feeling very calm. Last week was my final appointment and it was so interesting to go through the assessment form with her six sessions on. She had asked me to rate my stress levels, pain, sleep, anxiety at the beginning of my course and after. I had completely forgotten how much I had been struggling to relax and sleep before I had begun the acupuncture and it was so insightful to reflect. A lot of things had changed in my life since starting the acupuncture so it’s hard to know if my reduced stress levels, better sleep and less hot flushes were down to all those little needles or not but it was definitely a treatment that I enjoyed.
Revising my symptoms with the nurse made me realise how valuable it can be to track symptoms which is the feature of the Health Storylines app that interested me the most when they first got in touch with me. I knew it would have been a useful tracker when I was going through chemo but now see that it’s something I could get a lot of benefit from having finished treatment.
If you are struggling with health issues or stress and would like to track your symptoms pop over to sign up free to Health Storylines