It’s the first month of 2019, and this year’s very first snow has dropped all over the streets tonight. Watching the snowfall in the garden reminded me of the early months of 2018, where I started the Chemotherapy. So here I am, continuing on my unfinished story of Chemotherapy.
Little did I know about the side effects of Paclitaxel, but soon I got to experience them all together.
The day after my first chemotherapy & Herceptin, I had extremely hot red cheeks that lasted a couple of days. Also muscles and joints started aching, especially around my pelvis and down to the legs. I had acknowledged that the physical trauma from the past traffic accident would become worse as a part of chemotherapy side effects before it happened; so it wasn’t much of a surprise. In addition, I felt fragile probably due to the immunity gone down. Though, I was relieved that the symptoms of Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome had improved a lot.
One of the things that I really really struggled with was the fact that I was NO LONGER capable of many things. Being physically unable/restricted led me into some sort of a spiral of negative emotions. I was sad. I was lonely. I thought, nobody truly understood nor wanted to know about the pain. There were a lot of tears and sleepless nights, because of physical pain as well as emotional pain.
On Valentine’s day I started losing hair.
I had been checking if I was losing hair during every shower since the first chemotherapy, and the moment arrived at last. I went through my hair with fingers, and unlike the past couple of weeks, clumps of hair fell out in my hands. The scalp became really sore too, as if someone was pulling my hair out. My hair slowly but continuously fell out over the next few months until all of it was gone, along with the facial & body hair.
There were quite a lot of odd/one-off side effects along the way as well.
One night after the chemotherapy, my face went all yellow and my heart felt funny. My suspects were Jaundice and Angina by the symptoms. Much later on the course I had diarrhoea with severe tummy aches and got spots on my face; those random side effects threw me off indeed. Though, I never lost my appetite, which I am grateful for.
Another thing that I struggled with was what happened during the chemotherapy. The chemosuite is absolutely chockablock, I never saw a nurse that wasn’t running around in the suite. Sadly there were always too many patients waiting for their chemotherapy to be done. So a delay by hours was the norm. When I got to eventually receive the medication, I sometimes needed replacing the canula multiple times due to the old one not working or pausing the machine because I had bad reactions.
As I got weaker and sadder with chemotherapy,
I became to get angry often with people around me. Their encouragements sounded like empty promises, giving me false hope. I felt like nobody actually knew anything. I was utterly miserable. I grew sick and tired of endless visits to the hospital and hours of waiting for something that was causing me all sorts of pain. Some days I stayed in the hospital from 8am to 5pm, where I got upset beyond containable.
In all this, I only managed to stay sane thanks to those who kept showing their love to me.
There were times that I flashed at Dan for something that wasn’t his fault. There were times that I woke him up in the middle of the night because I was in pain, or simply couldn’t sleep. There were times that Dan gave up on his own desires and plans for me. Without him, I would have been much much worse off.
Also I am really blessed to have friends and family close and far, who helped me through out this dark tunnel of Chemo. I cannot thank them enough for their words, presents and prayers.
Lastly I cannot imagine how I would have passed everyday without my dear dog, Maple. She got me out EVERY DAY without a fail. There were a number of days when I seriously didn’t want to get out of bed, yet I did get out of bed and house. All for Maple’s daily walks- and some fresh air. And most times, I felt so much better out walking.
After 12 weeks on and off medication due to my immunity issue, my oncologist decided that the chemotherapy was doing more harm than good. So my chemotherapy journey ended in May.
Though I am still receiving Herceptin, with the last one coming up on 25th of January. So the other half of the cancer treatment journey still continues.
If you would like to help more people beat cancer sooner, please click this pink ribbon! It will lead you to Cancer Research UK website 🙂
I will see you in my next blog.
Bless you all!