Colon Cancer Sucks Ass

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Oh Those Pesky Side Effects

I’ve been through three cycles of chemotherapy. The next one should be a piece of cake, right? Except that each time my reaction has been different. I still don’t know what to expect.

I promised a few people that I would post an update about my chemo experience thus far. I decided to just go through all of the wonderful side effects that I have experienced. Enjoy!!!

Nausea/Vomiting: This was really severe after my first session. By the third, it was under control – meaning I felt sick, but didn’t throw up. Getting this under control involves two intravenous anti-nausea meds, one intravenous steroid, two anti-nausea pills (one every 12 hours, one every 6 hours as needed), and one steroid pill (twice a day for 3 days).

Thrush: Although I believed that a thrush was just a bird, a google search unveils a multitude of sites all devoted to oral thrush – a fungal yeast infection of the mouth. I had a yeast infection in my mouth! EW!! It developed from the cold that I had the week before my third treatment. It’s an infection that affects mostly infants and the elderly and apparently cancer patients undergoing chemo.

Muscle Spasms: While I was in Wisconsin over Christmas, I was exposed to actual cold weather – even indoors. One night I was brushing my teeth and my lips spasmed. They pursed up and I couldn’t get them to relax for about 30 seconds. It happened again last Sunday except instead of being in the privacy of a bathroom, I was at the Studio City Farmer’s Market. I had eaten an orange and the moisture combined with the wind caused it. I walked around with my hand over my mouth until it subsided.

Muscle Tension: Last Friday, my neck and jaw started to tense up. It gets worse when I go outside or really anytime I get cold. I haven’t been able to relax them in almost a week. I think I’m getting used to it – except at night when I can’t find a comfortable way to sleep.

Breakouts/Rash: This has gotten progressively worse after each treatment. It is not just on my face, but my neck, back, chest and even my scalp. The first two times it cleared up some before the next treatment. This time, not so much.

Hair Loss: Ultimately, I’m very lucky in this area. I have lost a little more hair than normal off my head, but nothing that’s noticeable to anyone but me. The part that bothers me is the eyebrow hairs that have fallen out. My eyebrows were already thin and now I can’t even pluck them into a decent shape because there are little bald areas.

Digestive Issues: I’m not going into any detail here. I know everybody poops, but no one really wants to know the particulars.

So there you go. Good times.


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