A darkened hutch, a midrith grown big, a confused womb and a perimenopausal Guineapig.
Fear not fellow readers – the hutch is darkened refers to Calliope’s wistful attempts to block out the light from the thoughtfully installed street lamp outside her bedroom window that doubles as football stadium illuminator, in the belief that darkness helps regulate the pituitary gland; the midriff grown big is no, not a miraculous virgin pregnancy but a hormonally conjured thickening; a confused womb – ah yes well the Greek word for womb was Hystera need I say more and lo!; a perimenopausal guineapig to repeat the point!
The metaphor of an orchestra is often used to describe the mysterious workings of the body. The idea that coherent unity is maintained by a conductor waving a baton, whilst working for a bit of classical music like Tchaikovsky say, and even at a push the Kronos quartet gets blown apart as a theory by the developments of modern biosciences. (Cue Candace Pert: Molecules of Emotion)
And whilst there are clear and identifiable cause and effect triggers for chemical releases in the body like for example – adrenalin catalysed by fear, oxytocin by love, the series of directives for the so called sex hormones still seem to be a mystery conducted by an invisible hand that in my case has no apparent rhyme and reason. Yes this perimenopausal business is playing havoc with the chemical compounds of my human alter ego. My body seems to have a new erratic clock that is neither linear nor limbic but oestric time. This would be all well and good if my body was embodying the literal translation of the Greek οἶστρος (oistros) meaning “verve or inspiration” or even the figurative translation of sexual passion or desire (according to Wikipedia) but instead my Oestrogen and Projesterone levels seem to ebb and soar on a new dysfunctional cycle of their own playing havoc on a cancer that is well yes both oestrogen and progesterone receptive. ( Note the arbitrary capitalization designed to mirror the randomness, proof readers and academics.)
But it is this that gives me a new insight into the health protocols that I choose. Of course hormone imbalance and the role of oestrogen (and sometimes to a lesser degree progesterone) are never so clear as in cancer of the breast and prostrate gland where the cancer is fed by receptors on the cells and hormonal treatments are often the A guns (thankyou Rosie Daniels) of treatments for these. Tamoxifen works for example by locking onto the oestrogen receptor sites of the cell in effect cock blocking the oestrogen. Chris Woollams has written a fantastic book on oestrogen and its role in cancer, pointing out that a stem cell glutted with oestrogen becomes a cancer cell. But lets not demonise oestrogen – it is the imbalance of such that causes the problems not the oestrogen itself.
Meanwhile the tamoxifen looms large as a potential A bomb – what are you waiting for asks the wonderful doctor at the Marie Curie. Yes indeed what am I waiting for. Some natural hormone regulator and a cup of tea I mumble omitting the Godot. Meanwhile I seem to be attracting much Artemesia in its various forms – from the common – Artemisia vulgaris or mugwort – a large bag of which materialised as if from thin air but in reality was fellow rat booty from the Devonshire hedgerows – and the Artemisia annua in tablet form recommended to me by a cancer doctor in Bath last week. In tablet form. Cytotoxic and deadly to cancer cells.
Now back to this perimenopause business – did I mention I am really enjoying the hot flushes and hoping they stay so I can pretend it is still swelteringly hot like the summer we have just had…