Tamoxifen troubles happen to us all
JENNIFER Saunders, the Ab Fab star, has spoken out about her battle with breast cancer , and revealed it brought on the menopause and depression.
The Absolutely Fabulous star (seen here with co-star Joanna Lumley), had six months of chemotherapy at an oncology unit in London’s Harley Street.
She said: “I found the Tamoxifen the hardest thing because it changes you. It’s like suddenly becoming older.
“You feel fagged out, you lose your motor and it makes you feel depressed. You have that ‘I want to go to bed and sleep for ever’ kind of feeling. Normally I have the energy to get up, get ready and do something, but I wasn’t starting my days until maybe 11 or 11.30, even though I was awake.”
So it’s not only us that suffers
Awful though it must have been for the star, it is slightly reassuring to realise that, even when you are someone as fabulously talented as she is, when it comes down to it – we all suffer.
At the same time as fighting cancer, Jennifer said the Tamoxifen also blocked her production of oestrogen and brought on the menopause. Suddenly she had hot flushes, cold sweats and mood swings to handle, too.
Speaking to promote her return as over-the-top Eddy in the Absolutely Fabulous festive special, which is on Christmas Day on BBC1 at 10pm, Jennifer praised her husband Adrian Edmondson and their three daughters – Ella, 25, Beattie, 24, and Freya, 20 – for helping her through such a difficult time.
She joked: “Ade was shivering in the house the other day and actually pulled a sheepskin over himself. I said, ‘Why don’t you turn the heating on?’ And he said, ‘Because you’re hot all the time. And then cold. And then hot. And then sweating, and then not sweating’.
“Ade was all right, actually. He’s a sort of rock in that he never gives anything away and he’s very good at letting you get on with it. I think he was very strong about that. And the girls were brilliant.
“Freya was at home most of the time and was fantastic. And I have really good girlfriends who’d look after me and sit with me in the chemo sessions.
We all know those bursts of black humour, when only someone who has cancer can understand the funny side of treatment – but we are not alone. As Jennifer says, she thought “quite a lot of it was hilarious”. In true Ab Fab tradition, she says she was often heard to say, ” I need a drink! I need more chemicals.”