Chemo - what it feels like

Everyone will tell you that Chemo is different for all and this is very true.  The things that make this so are:-

  • We have an individual diagnosis
  • We have an individual treatment plan
  • We react differently
If you've ever been pregnant, it is just the same, no two people react the same way.

In fact being pregnant is very like having Chemo.  Your body is taken over by another force, to which you have to listen to and bow down to.  It has total command of you.

In the same way that you automatically do what a pregnant body tells you to do, because to do otherwise would harm your baby, you need to do what Chemo tells you to do.  You are only going to diminish it's effectiveness if you do otherwise, plus you will feel so much worse.  When pregnant and exhausted, if you try and fight on and keep going, what happens?  You get even more exhausted.  It's just the same with Chemo.  Give it the chance to do it's job.  If you've never been pregnant (or maybe happen to be a bloke), then think of having really bad flu (yes even man-flu), you just can't keep going and have to go to bed and give in.

There is nothing valiant or noble in not letting Chemo get the better of you.  To me that is just rubbish.  The Chemo has to work with your body and you have to let it.  I have read of people that go straight back to work and feel no ill effects from the Chemo, good for them!  But that is not how it felt for me.

It was explained to me that I would feel tired and fatigued.  This is an understatement!  I have stated elsewhere in this blog that I felt like someone had slammed a solid steel door in my face, mix this together with the worse hangover you've ever had and you are somewhere close.

But I do feel that no matter how I try to describe how it made me felt, nothing ultimately prepares you.

Experience does count though.  I received my 2nd treatment last week and knew absolutely what to expect and how to deal with it all.  I felt much more in control and much less scared. Nearly every symptom has happened on the same day, so I know that in a couple of days, I will start to improve, with near normal service resuming in week three.

The best part for me, was no sickness!  It was what I dreaded most.  The anti-sickness meds really worked for me.  Huge relief.  No energy, Constipation, aches and pains, indigestion, headaches, dizziness, loss of rational thought processes, yes I had all of those, but I wasn't sick at all.  A few waves of nausea, but some Stem Ginger biscuits helped with that.

Being able to be vertical has been a problem.  I have really had to sit down or lie down for most of the time.  I have managed to go into work for short periods, but being upright does seem to be a problem.  I can manage at most about 4-5 hours upright, then I just get washed away with exhaustion.  So I'm not going to fight that, why should I?

Showering is a problem too in the first week.  The effort of standing up in the shower and then trying to raise your arms up, impossible!  I didn't bother.  I had a bath instead when I felt up to it.  

So basically just give in.  Listen to your body, don't fight it, you will only feel worse and you won't gain all the benefits that Chemo is trying to do for you.  Let it do it's job.  It's not forever.

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