I am now officially half-way through chemo.
The last 8 weeks have taught me so much. There is so much more that happens during chemo than I ever realized before. So for fun I thought I'd share some tidbits with you.
1. First and foremost, the biggest thing I learned is each person reacts VERY differently to chemo. It's such an individualized response.So keep that in mind as you read my list. It might look very different if someone else wrote it. Also, different medicines have different side effects.
2. In the movies the big thing shown is fatigue and nausea. While both of those do and can happen there is so much more that. Chemotherapy has affected my whole entire body. It has caused havoc on my emotions. It's affected my ability to sleep. It has screwed with my mind. I feel like no part of me was untouched by it.
3. My sense of smell has gone haywire. This is actually pretty common with all chemo, so please keep this in mind if you are going to visit someone undergoing chemo. My nose is hyper-sensitive. Perfumes, food, flowers, etc, all can now make me feel nauseous. We even had to switch some of our soap and our liquid dish soap because the smells were so bothersome to me. People who wear tons of perfume or heavily scented anything, I have to take some steps back from. Walking through the grocery store - all those smells mingled together. Oh my. Sometimes when husband is cooking I have to leave the first floor of the house and go to our bedroom to get away from the smell. If you remember nothing else from this list, please remember this. Almost everyone I know who has undergone chemo had the same issue.
4. Aside from feeling tired and sick to my stomach, chemo has given me sore feet, sore hands, sores on my tongue, sore throat and other stomach problems. I didn't know chemo could do all of that until I went through it. Days when my hands are sore, I can't wear my wedding rings which makes me feel sad. I've had to stop wearing some of my shoes because of my feet. At the height of my tongue sores (which are thankfully doing much better now) it hurt to eat, drink and talk. In addition to this, at times I get muscle and joint pain that can make moving at all extra painful. I've been spared the worst of that. Some people get it much worse. Basically my point is chemo affects your whole entire body.
5. My emotions have been a roller coaster of ups and downs. I blame the chemo. It may not directly cause this emotional roller coaster, but the side effects that I'm dealing with, all the doctors appointments, not being able to do what I normally do around the house, with the kids, with my husband, some days I sleep 18 hours, other days I suffer from extreme insomnia. That's in addition to mentally trying to work through the fact that I have cancer, feeling like my body betrayed me, wondering why I didn't know I had cancer sooner, etc, etc, you can imagine some days I'm just an emotional wreck. Thankfully this is not every day or even most days. But some days it's hits so hard and fast.
So as you can see the chemo can just affect every single part of my body, of my life. It makes sense when you really think about but I didn't fully understand it until I was there, dealing with it.