As you know, I have been working to break the brain draining choke hold that nearly a year and a half of bad sleep has wrought upon me. There have been peaks and valleys but mostly, I am sleep deprived. And now in the northern latitudes, it has gotten very cloudy and very dark. Without the long summer days to give light to my mind, I find myself being incredibly and totally fatigued during the day.

And it hasn’t been like I haven’t been doing anything to help myself sleep well. I exercise every day, I meditate, and I try to keep my stress level to a dull roar. I also started taking Chinese herbs for sleep prescribed by Dr. Wang, who does my acupuncture. They taste like a combination of dirt and mushrooms. Surprisingly, they aren’t that bad. At least they don’t taste like feet. I also take magnesium citrate and melatonin, as recommended by my naturopathic oncologist. The magnesium also helps with the leg cramps I get from tamoxifen. I have many patients as well as my daughter who take melatonin with very good impact on improving sleep onset (falling asleep). However, I’m not sure it’s doing anything for me.

I saw my psychologist last Friday and she gently suggested that I might ask my physician for Ambien to help me sleep though the night again as lately, I have been waking up 6-8 times a night, often with night sweats, which are side effects from Lupron. I have been trying to solve this problem on my own. I also started using blue light therapy since my energy level usually gets lower with our short, low on sunlight days. The blue light has helped in the past and it seems to be helping now by increasing my day time alertness. It also seemed to be knitting the fragments of my night time sleep together a bit so that I was getting longer amounts of sleep. I noticed that I remembered more dreams and felt slightly more rested when I awoke each morning.

I had an appointment with my medical oncologist last Friday. I have not previously complained about sleep. But I did this time. She was empathetic, as usual, and suggested that I start taking gabapentin to reduce the night sweats and help me sleep at night. Preliminary data would suggest that my sleep has improved significantly since starting the medication.

Stay tuned. So far so good. Sweet dreams.