Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Sundry of side effects

With all good chemo drugs come side effects and to read a sheet, two, actually of all the side effects that are possible when I get infused is more than a little scary.

We have all gone through this at one time or another. Pick up a prescription from the drug store and you come home with a list of all the bad things that can happen. Funny that some of them sound much worse than what you already have!!!

My list for the four drugs that I get read something like a horror movie. Hair loss, decreased hearing~what did you say???? loss of balance, ulcers in the mouth, constipation, diarrhea??? what both??? tingling, weakness in the fingers and toes, depression ( yea~ reading these side effects) irritability, increased risk of infection, fever, chills, blood clots, skin rash, weight gain, weight loss (I wish they would make up their minds) severe fatigue, a extreme sensitivity to cold, I actually saved the best for last.... one of the symptoms for this chemo is CANCER!!! can you believe that!
Oh, I forgot to mention chemo brain~oh good between that and menopause don't expect me to remember anything soon!

I met with the doctor today and suggested to him, he is the chemo man after all, that he should work to change the side effects to sheer exuberance, fits of laughter, happiness, an ability to learn Italian in a day or two and maybe the desire to have vigorous sex! I can think of a few others that would be a whole lot better than what I am reading!

Well as you can see I still have my sense of humor through all of this~thank goodness!!

I had a wonderful day last Wednesday, it might have had something to do with the fact that they infused me with not only an anti-nausea medicine but a steroid before the actual chemo. The nurse told me the steroid would make me jittery or full of energy and it did just that. I had energy and felt good through that long day but Thursday morning brought mouth sores, a headache, sore throat, tingling in my hands and feet, nausea, queasiness (probably the same thing) and a general feeling of not feeling- good.

I was extremely tired. I felt like a bag of potatoes, ton of bricks, sack of sand, I felt like I had on cement shoes and was on my way to meet Tony Soprano, well you get the idea. After 8 hours of sleep I woke up feeling like I had never slept. I did what the doctor told me to do "Listen to my body"
I slept, rested and slept some more.
These symptoms lasted until Tuesday, all but the mouth sores and sensitivity to cold which I still have. I woke up Tuesday morning wanting a cup of coffee and I knew the worse was lifting, just as he said it would.

My appointment was Wednesday~ a week from the infusion and and 5 days after they disconnected me from the chemo pump I came home with.

OK, not bad- I did it, I got through it. I came to his office early for a 9AM appointment. We sailed downtown in rush hour traffic. That is a feat by itself!
He took me early. (This too is a first~it was my lucky day!) As I sat and went through what I had experienced, this kind doctor listened intently and nodded his head."You are in excellent health"(except for this pesky Cancer). "You will feel good the rest of the week."(Yea!) We will adjust the medicine for all your side effects and it will take you longer to recover each time you get infused. He again emphasized to "listen to my body" rest when I need to, eat what appeals to me, take care of myself and oh yes try to live a normal life as possible, do what you can do.

We were out of the office by 9:20, got our parking validated and paid nothing!!! Wow- today was feeling kind of lucky!!!

I talked to Clint about maybe driving to some Farmers markets in New Jersey, as we crossed the bridge I looked over and said "How about a ride down the shore" and off we went to have lunch at the famed Lobster House in Cape May. We drove the back roads through he beautiful farmlands of Jersey, the scenery touched by Autumn colors, enjoyed a nice lunch, walked the shore, strolled through the stores, bought some fudge for my mom and oh yes bought a chance on a car from Our Lady Star of the Sea Church~ it is a lucky day after all!

It was a wonderful day filled with hope and love and sunshine and warmth. A day spent with my husband, a day of listening to my body and knowing that no matter what ~it will be OK. My biggest lesson is learning to take one day at a time. Living in the moment. Enjoying what and who is around me.  It is a lesson for all of us really.

Each of these days, good or bad are part of our lives. So I will take it as it comes and listen to what my body is saying and enjoy my life NOW!
Oh by the way, we stopped and bought lottery tickets on the way home~ hey- why not It is my lucky day!!!


  1. filled with hope and love and sunshine and warmth...that describes you to a "T"!

  2. Elegant, funny and so positive-lobster and lottery included. I love the Cape May detour back to Drexel HIll!
    Love from Italia,
    M and P

  3. Susan, You are truly an amazing woman.
    Any winnings on that lottery tix??!!
    Cape May in Sept--AAHHHH---perfect place for sun & fun. Take good care.
    XO, Linda

  4. Isn't it amazing how the shore can be so healing.... and we are so lucky to have quick access to the Atlantic Ocean and to the Pocono Mountains - we have the best of both worlds just in our little corner of the US.

    We will be headed down to Cape May soon also - and I think I'll take a chance on that car (yeh, giving you a little competition). Are the tickets sold at that booth right outside the church?

    I'm glad to hear the doc say that they will adjust your meds to help deal with the side effects. Thank goodness you have access to such great hospitals and docs...

    You are always in my prayers, Susan.