This last week has been a mixture of bits and pieces with a range of chemo side effects and allergies. Here is a quick list:
- Sleep: I seem to have forgotten how to sleep. The Oncology nurse has recommended that I take half a sleeping pill on those nights. I don’t like doing it but I need my sleep.
- Chemo allergy: My skin is awful to the point that I need to wear make-up when I go out. Apparently, it is an allergy to the chemo drugs; it might be too late to turn it around but I am taking an anti-histamine to lessen the effects on my skin.
- Post-surgery stuff: My new belly button (from the breast reconstruction) has been causing problems. The Oncology nurse has given me a different cream to use for a week so will see how that goes.
- Energy levels: I need a lot more rest. I have been watching DVDs and trying to do Sudokus. But also doing a good walk most days.
- Mood: I do feel up and down. Part of it is the chemo drugs, part having cancer treatments and part, it’s just been a jolly long year and I am over it! I can’t wait to get my life back.
- Anxiety: Even though I only have two chemos to go, it feels a really long way away. I am unsure as to when I’ll be ready to work again and it plays on my mind. In the middle of the night, sometimes my brain just wants to work it all out – why did I get cancer and how can I ensure it doesn’t come back?
- Chemo brain: I notice my thinking is blurring quite a bit; it’s hard to concentrate and get things right. I need to delay any major decisions until my brain is back to normal. It is really hard write well but I am trying to keep a realistic chemo diary.
- Immune system: Right now, my white blood cell count will be quite low and instinctually, I just want to stay home and avoid catching bugs.
- Success: This chemo went so much better than the last one. Mentally, I know I can get through the next two chemo cycles. I’m feeling stronger and happier about how well the chemo went. There are some amazing anti-nausea drugs now!
- No bugs: I haven’t had any colds or tummy bugs this time.
- Support: Staying with my parents, I am getting much better meals and support than I would have living on my own as I don’t have much energy to cook.
- Fun friends: I have some good close friends who have kept in touch with me regularly and had some fun coffees and lunches.
- Healing: I am using bio-oil on all my surgery scars – and they seem to be lessening.
- A super nurse: I have a new Oncology district nurse and she is excellent. She rings me often and visited me this week.
- Resting: I am so grateful that I am not working as I am unsure how I could work without much sleep, with chemo brain and all the other side effects.
- End of chemo celebration: I am looking forward to finishing treatment and am thinking of planning a nice dinner out maybe 3-4 weeks after my last chemo.
- Planning for the future: It took simply ages to recover from the chemo last time. This time, I have the opportunity to really rest and friends say I shouldn’t rush back to work AND ensure that my job is not stressful.
- Support group: I went to a cancer support group through the Cancer Society. There were around ten people and we all just clicked. I think I have found some new best friends 🙂
I am half way through and next week have chemo #3.
If you have any chemo stories or tips to share, please comment below.