What going through chemotherapy is REALLY like….

I will warn you now, there will be TMI further down in this post.

A few weeks ago, whilst chatting to a friend, it struck me that not many REALLY know what it is like to go through chemotherapy – I mean, why would you unless you have been through it yourself or physically helped someone through it. My friend’s expression made me realise that, although everyone can only imagine what it is like, you (and I before I had to go through this myself), would think OMW, it must be so tiring and draining, not to mention the nausea.

Well, yes, the first 3 cycles of treatment of FEC was exactly that, all of the above, tiring, draining and awful nausea. Then there was the constipation. My friend had to come to the rescue with that one night, I was alone at home. She brought over prunes, Germaloids and Movicol, which were to become me chemo staples throughout.

Straight after FEC, for 3 days, there would be no need for the loo as the mixture of the Ondansetron, Dexamethastone, Metaclopromide and Co codamol, buggered things up.

Nature then couldn’t hold in after 3 days – I would SCREAM. I would have Germaloids cream SMOTHERED IN AND OUT in preparation.There were tips on my Breast Cancer support group of holding the basin and crouching to all other positions. I managed to work out a method that best suited my ‘situation’ – my ‘situation’ was one that meant that ‘things’ were favouring the right side of ‘exit’.

I would take many deep, slow breaths, just like I have taught the kids when I am removing a splinter with a needle from their feet! I would then be leaning only half way on the loo seat, with 4 squares of loo roll in my hand, then pressing on the ‘favoured side’ to divert things for an even spread, because the PRESSURE….OMW.

Probably used about 15-20 breaths for each ‘attempt’….halfway through…guess what? Wee squirted on my hand which was still firmly in place! This got me by surprise so I managed to ‘clench’ and paused for a moment to think. Didn’t take too long for me to decide….OH FUCK IT. JUST FUCK IT! I let it all go, WITH my hand still firmly in place and it just continued to flow, like NIAGARA FALLS! Thankfully the window was open, for my dignity to fly out freely….

Then we move on to the last 3 cycles of Tax, the chemo that would see me through to the end. This got more difficult as body was weaker now from all the poison. The only good thing was, there was no nausea. The ONLY good thing.

Constipation gets confused on Tax, because whilst the drugs are still causing you to be constipated, the actual Tax drugs, cause the OPPOSITE effect! Try dealing with THAT! I got to the point where I was so exhausted of trying to figure it out without being able to get up from the bed quick enough, what was to be, was to be. Again, the loo window was left open for my dignity to fly out freely….

With Tax, I felt ok..until day 3. It’s referred to as The Tax train in the BC world. Then the aches started. From the waist down. Tummy CRAMPS, worse than giving birth naturally without drugs (I’ve done it so yes, I do know!). Leg pains that go through your bones like you have been hit with a baseball bat. Felt like I had 2 hearts in my feet as they THROB and BURN so much.

And if you think that was bad, I was SHAKING uncontrollably for hours under the covers, like someone who was going cold turkey.

It would take 10 days from day 3 to feel like a human being again…then would have a few days before the cycle started again. Oh and I have been working on my good days. Thank goodness being self employed for me, means that I am able to look rotten but get the work done, in my pj’s!

So, for all of the above reasons, that is why I stopped making plans during the second phase of my chemo, which started in December. My head has been FUZZY, plans stress me out since phase 2 of chemo and the ones I have made like my father in laws 80th, well, I crossed everything on the day that I was able to make it and did not need to cancel!

Now, whilst my chemo is all done and dusted, HIP, HIP HOORAY…..but I’m still very tired! This is where I have time to now look back at the last 7 months (WTF!!!?) and say, right, THAT happened, I have now put on this weight (after being at my fittest pre diagnosis), eyebrows are barely there, eyelashes are mere stubs and hair, well, it’s neither here nor there, boob, it’s had it’s maximum inflation allowed until June post rads – still 200 ml to go….I need to prepare for my daily radiotherapy which is over 6 weeks, commencing on 11th March.

x

Nic

Ps : How did my husband cope with all of this you may ask….easy, every chemo, he would move out the room for at least 10 days…#chemo smell is leathal stuff too!

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