Love this resource. Not only does it list some of the common side effects, but it gives the patient and the caregiver reasons why, what to do, how to help and when to call the doctor. It even has a section about nutrition for during and after cancer.
One side effect I did not notice is the one where the GI track is inflamed and spasms a lot, granted my doctor said all that can really be done about that one is narcotics and anti-spasm medicine. That is one of my more fun side effects this round of chemo. So far this round is mostly effecting me GI wise and usually the two or three days after chemo. This past weekend I was overly tired, though. I’m not sure if it was because I didn’t rest they day I had chemo or the day after or if it was a new side effect. This is only week 3 of 12.
Last round was mostly sensory type side effects. No, to hardly any taste buds, making everything taste different, horrible, or intense. I would get mouth/ throat sores, but after an intense day or two, they would heal and I would be okay. My eyes started to burn a little bit here and there, but it was manageable. I did loose my hair, but only what was buzzed after our hair shaving party. Other than that, it was allergies. I ended up being put on a double dose of Benadryl and a nasal spray just to manage my allergies.
Outside of the current inflammation problem, I think the worst part of it all is how it interacts with fibromyalgia. If you know anything about the disorder, so of the side effects of cancer are side effects of fibro also, so it is just doubling up on the side effects such as fatigue, memory problems (chemo and fibro fog), weakness etc. I have to have my rib cage taped up until I am healed from chemo because we can’t manipulate the bones during chemo and that is what needs to happen when a rib cage is flared. Tip: do not have fibro days while on chemo. It will give you another day of chemo side effects even if it is no where near time to have one.
The one side effect that no one likes to talk about is the second cancer. I’m only 29. I was barely 29 when I was diagnosed, so I know and understand the chances of not only the breast cancer coming back, but also another cancer may show up down the road. I don’t live my life worrying about that, but that does change how I look at life. Being a realistic person, I know that the chances are not high that I will see my girls marry or my grandkids. Phoebe being 12, I may see her get married. It means that I don’t live for the future. I make those just in case plans, but I live for today.
So far, I would say I am very lucky when it comes to the side effects. Many patients have to go to the hospital at least once for an infection. Some have to stop chemo because their bodies just cannot handle the side effects. Most people don’t even know I’m battling cancer, and that’s how I like it. I like being able to still get out, even if that means that that days house work isn’t going to get done. If I mention it, I do so to raise awareness, not for pity.