Side Effects…

If you want to know what happened, it’s all here.

This page sets out to provide information about the side effects I experienced during chemotherapy.  One of the (many) problems with chemo is that everyone’s reactions are slightly different. When medical professionals tell you about side effects, they tend to tell you about those that are commonly experienced by many or most people. There are, however, rarer side effects and if you are a ‘need to know’ kind of person, the best thing to do is ask your Oncologist “what other or uncommon side effects could occur?”

The pictures above are designed to remind me to talk about the areas of  my body that chemo affected, they act as a good indicator of the places you might experience some problems.  Lets start at the top.

The Head: including ears, nose, mouth, eyes, brain and hair.

The most obvious side effect of many chemotherapy drugs is hair loss. My first chemo regime was FEC (5-flourouracil, epirubicin and cyclophosphamide).  FEC causes complete hair loss. The hair loss began 3 weeks after the first treatment, just as I was about to undergo the second infusion.  At first it was mild shedding, shortly afterwards it reached the point where I could grab handfuls of hair and it would come out in clumps. If you have long hair I would seriously consider cutting it short before chemo so that the process of losing it is less distressing (and less messy). By the time I had reached my third FEC treatment, almost all of my hair had fallen out.  My hair did not begin to regrow during Taxotere chemotherapy. Now almost one month after my final TAX infusion I have hair growing at the sides of my head and a very fine, fuzzy covering on top. I estimate it will take 3 months for my head to achieve a reasonable covering of very short hair and six months before it will be long enough to create a pixie style again. This means I will have been bald or barely hairy for almost a year. (P.S. All your other hair falls out too).

Ears: FEC caused me to have very waxy ears about 2 days after each infusion. This is a side effect that was not mentioned in any of the literature I received. After a week, my ears would return to normal. Taxotere caused me to have occasional tinnitus for the first two weeks following an infusion and less than perfect hearing.

Nose: Taxotere created a lot of problems inside my nose. From one day post- infusion my nose became very bloody and would constantly bleed. Often it would become blocked with congealing blood. This situation would go on for two weeks following each infusion and gradually improve during week three. The chemo nurses advised that TAX damages the mucus membranes in the nose. Almost one month following the final TAX and my nose has returned to normal. My GP prescribed Naseptin cream (an antibiotic) to prevent the inside of my nose becoming infected.  FEC altered my sense of smell. After each treatment I was convinced I smelt like rotting flesh and no amount of deodorant could take the smell away.  After asking people near me to sniff me, I discovered that others thought I smelt fresh so the rotting flesh odour was a figment of my imagination/a change in my sense of smell. During TAX treatments my nose was too bloody to enable me to smell anything at all.

Mouth: FEC caused mouth sores and ulcers on my soft palate, at the back of my gums behind my wisdom teeth and on the back of my throat. The sores began two days after each infusion and lasted up to 10 days.  In addition to sores and ulcers, my throat became swollen about 4 days after each treatment and continued to be swollen for up to 5 days. My GP prescribed Gel Clair to tackle the mouth and throat issues and this was very effective. Both FEC and TAX changed my sense of taste, during FEC some things just didn’t taste good whilst TAX made everything taste very bland.  I needed Neupogen injections alongside my final Taxotere infusion. Its worth mentioning that Neupogen gave me incredible pains along my top and bottom jaws.  This is a known but rare side effect and I was unlucky to experience it.

Eyes: I wear continuous use monthly contact lenses. I was unable to wear them during FEC because my eyes became very sensitive and watery so much so that it looked like I was crying but in fact it was just another chemo side effect.  TAX caused my eyelids to swell extensively for up to a week post-infusion. I only wore contact lenses occasionally during my treatment and have just started wearing them again on a continuous basis one month out from my final infusion.  I lost all of my eyelashes and eyebrows after my second round of FEC. They went completely and have yet to return.  Although my lashes and brows are fair, their absence has made my face look very different.  I have had to learn how to pencil in brows and use eyeliner to give the impression that I have lashes. Sometimes my efforts are more successful than others. Sometimes I just look odd. Hopefully this will not go on for too much longer now that chemo is through.

Brain:  I encountered two side effects from FEC.  The first was headaches.  These began about 4 hours after each infusion and would last for anything up to three days.  They were constant low-level headaches rather than the intense kind or those that come and go.  As well as headaches, FEC also caused chemo-brain.  No-one really knows how or why chemo-brain occurs but it does and it is frustrating.  It involves becoming incredibly forgetful and mentally slow/confused.  For me this involved forgetting where I’d put things, getting very tongue-tied and being unable to remember certain words or pronounce them properly.   TAX did not seem to cause so much chemo brain and it did not induce headaches. I still do not spot my own typos and never had this problem pre-chemo.

Limbs and Bones

TAX caused pain in almost all of my bones and especially in my joints, ribs and legs.  It also felt as if someone was stabbing me in the diaphragm.   The pain began 2 – 3 days after infusion and continued for 2 – 3 days.  Neupogen caused fairly significant pain in my sacrum, hips and femurs as well as my jaw.  It also caused spasms in my lower back.  These subsided very quickly once I finished the neupogen shots.  TAX  made my heel bones sore and caused occasional tingling and numbness in my hands and feet.  During FEC, I did not feel that my stamina, strength or energy had diminished.  TAX was somewhat different and its effects seemed to build up over time.  Having now completed 3 x FEC and 3 x TAX, it is clear that I am nowhere near as physically strong as I was pre-chemo, I do not have the same level of stamina and my body tires quite easily.

Veins and blood

FEC damaged my veins quite significantly.  Those used for infusions have become invisible in my hand, wrist and forearm.  Although the veins can no longer be seen, they are hard and knotted.  During FEC treatment, the veins used for infusions became sore from the point where the cannula was inserted all the way up to my shoulder.  They were particularly painful in my elbow and made it difficult to reach for things, e.g. from top shelves.  Once I switched to TAX, the pain in those veins gradually subsided however they are still not visible or usable for future infusions.  TAX did not cause as many issues with my veins as FEC.  Throughout my treatment my red and white blood cells and platelets varied a good deal.  At no point during treatment did they reach their pre-chemo levels but they also did not go low enough to prevent or delay my next infusion.  TAX was especially hard on the platelets and I found that I would bleed easily and profusely if I damaged my skin. I still bruise very easily one month on from completing chemo.

GI Tract

I have never really suffered with problems with my GI tract. I tend not to be prone to stomach upsets, food poisoning, bowel issues or sickness.  Unfortunately both FEC and TAX played havoc with my GI tract.  I will cover the challenges of FEC first.  Unfortunately FEC made me impossibly nauseous so much so that I couldn’t sleep and actually considered deliberately making myself vomit to see if I could make the nauseated feeling go away.  The nausea would begin about 2 hours following the infusion and lasted for anything up to a week.   After my first infusion my Oncologist prescribed Emend.  I told him I could not go through each treatment feeling so sick that I wanted to rip my own stomach out! I recommend asking for Emend if you must have FEC and start suffering severe nausea. Although it does not stop the sick feeling, it does reduce it significantly. TAX did not cause any nausea or sickness for me.

The next GI tract issue I experienced with FEC was sores and ulcers.  As well as causing them in my mouth and throat, FEC caused ulcers and sores further down my GI tract.  These created discomfort and added to the feelings of nausea.  The internal ulcers seemed to heal more quickly than those in my mouth – typically within a few days.

A further side effect of FEC was constipation.  If, like me, you have never experienced this problem in the past I can confirm it is very unpleasant to the point of being very distressing.  In spite of following all the recommended procedures, e.g. drinking plenty of water, eating fibre, including a lot of fruit and prunes in my diet and using Senna, I still experienced some pretty awful problems in this department.  I strongly recommend stopping this issue before it starts and I found the solution was Movicol (Macrogol).  Unfortunately TAX seemed to cause even more problems than FEC and Movicol became my best friend for a week after each TAX infusion.  It’s not nice to talk about this stuff but forewarned is forearmed – chemo seems to stop peristalsis in the gut which in turn stops food moving through.  Having stagnant, stale food clogging up along a whole 22 yards of intestine is not a good idea so get some Movicol and keep everything passing through on a regular basis!

Soft tissue

I found that both FEC and TAX caused swelling in the soft tissue of my hands a few hours after infusion and for up to a couple of weeks beyond. It was more pronounced on the side the infusion was given.  TAX caused significant swelling in my ankles and also made my face and eyelids puffy.  Dexamethasone, a steroid given to help the body cope with the effects of chemo, has given me a “moon face.” This is some form of soft tissue swelling that does not go down as the effects of the chemo wear off.  I am told my face will return to normal in time so I will not look like Mr Staypuff forever.  Dexamethasone also made me bright red, particularly on my face, neck and chest and sometimes this spread to my arms, torso and tops of my legs.  The redness was not painful but it did make me look like I was badly sunburned for days at a time. Dexamethasone has also made me gain weight, especially the dosage required to see me through TAX.  I’m not overjoyed about this because I don’t yet have the energy to work it off.

Skin

Chemo is very harsh on the skin – as the treatments progressed my skin became drier, less elastic and very thin in places.  It was clear that the skin cells had stopped renewing because any damage would take weeks rather than days to heal.  My face became incredibly dry as did my arms and legs.  I tried using various moisturisers but none seemed to tackle the dryness sufficiently.  I resorted to using oil in the bath and on the very dry areas of my skin, including my face. Bio-oil was good for direct skin application, Berts Bees body and bath oil was good for adding to the bath or applying directly.  As well as drying my skin out, chemo also made me very pale and waxy looking.  Other patients told me that I looked very unwell the first week after each treatment; it’s true, I did.  Four weeks on from the final chemo and my skin is starting to recover a little, it is less dry and heals better than it has done in the past 5 months.

Other

  • Chemo has caused early menopause. For the most part I have not found this too troublesome but I do get hot flashes from time to time, especially in the evenings.
  • Chemo and steroids caused insomnia. The steroids were particularly difficult – at times I would only sleep for 2 hours per night for a week at a time.
  • FEC and TAX both caused severe night sweats from 3 – 7 days post-infusion.  By severe I mean soaking wet and slimey – it was as unpleasant as it sounds.
  • TAX caused spots around my mouth and nose two days post-infusion, these typically cleared up within 10 days.
  • FEC and TAX both caused some irregular heart beats and palpitations. These still occur from time to time.
  • TAX caused flu-like symptoms – sneezing, shivers, muscle aches, from 4 – 12 days post-infusion.
  • TAX caused me to be unsteady on my feet from time to time, especially first thing in the morning.
  • Since having chemo I am prone to fainting if I become over heated and I overheat much more easily.

I started chemo on 25th September 2012 and finished on 18th January 2013. Although these side effects probably look unimaginable, it is possible to come through them and I am sure in the not too distant future I will have forgotten most of them as our brains have ways of erasing information that no longer needs to be remembered.

I hope for anyone else who has to go on this journey the information above is useful – I wish I had been able to find something like this prior to my own chemo treatment so I knew what to expect beyond the basic information provided by the hospital.

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38 thoughts on “Side Effects…

  1. Thank you for this information. I have changed found it very useful. I am on my 2nd session of chemo and on day 7 still feeling dizzy , sick and getting increasingly upset. Last time the symptoms lasted 6 days and then I felt great. Really hoping for this to happen again soon.

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    • I hope the remainder of your treatment goes well. Do talk to your healthcare team if you find the side effects too debilitating. It’s important to complete the chemo treatments and there are things they can do that can help make it more bearable and minimise other effects.

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  2. after killing my mouth has burn marks on it my nose get stopped up on the west side there’s a tremendous burning sensation in the left side of my nose I can’t blow anything out and when I breathe in I get the worst smell everit’s hard to describe the smellnow leaving drips down my throat I’m just wondering if anybody else has felt the same thingthis is my fourth chemo treatmentthe inside of my nose feels like glueI really need some responses to this post

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    • Hi Charlene, I’m sorry about the side effects you’re getting. What chemo regime are you having? I got a lot if problems in my nose (sores that wouldn’t heal, smelt bad and we’re constantly sticky, blocked nose, constantly running nose, nose bleeds – you name it, it happened). This was all caused by taxotere. I ended up getting an antibiotic cream called Naseptin from my GP to help it heal and once treatment finished it slowly recovered. I still got sores inside my nose for a year after chemo ended but think that was due to continued treatment with Herceptin. I wish you well with your treatment and a good recovery.

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  3. I’ve just had my first dose of 3 FEC and found this really useful especially as I will be having 3 TAX It’s good to hear other people’s experiences and tips for surviving the treatment. Swelling of my hands want mentioned to me but luckily I noticed this morning and took off my rings. Do you have any tips for eating as I’m struggling a bit.

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    • Hello Elinor, I’m sorry you also have to have FEC and TAX, they do go by quite quickly once you are into the regular cycle of things. My oncology nurses said if appetite or mouth issues were a problem to focus on lots of liquids – soups, yoghurt, puréed fruits – that are nutritious but not too onerous to eat or digest. I found snacking little and often was easier than eating a full meal and ate what I fancied rather than trying to “be good.” If you are struggling to eat, try something like Complan. This is used in many situations where people are off their food but need to stay well nourished. I hope it helps and if I can assist with any other questions or support, just let me know. Sending you my best wishes for your treatment and recovery, Tracy

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  4. Wow, three years later, and your blog is still helping others! Thank you for the comforting read! I have only just completed my first FEC treatment last week Wednesday. Had a weekend from hell with nausea, cold sweats and cramping stomach. I was given Emend too, but still had terrible nausea…so I hate to imagine what it would have been like without Emend. Feeling normal again, but also finding my joints are a little sore, had sensitive eyes and really was completely man-down for 3 days. Not too excited for the next session, but at least I have another 2 weeks before I get hit with another dose of FEC… Also completing 3x FEC and 3x Taxo…and then radiation. Again thanks for the comforting information. Feels good to be armed with the truth…its my way of dealing with this confidently and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

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    • Hang in there Anya. I’m sorry you are also facing FEC/TAX and have side effects to deal with on top of your diagnosis. I wanted to be very honest about my experience, I’d definitely have been better prepared and felt less anxious if this kind of information had been given to me up front. I do appreciate that for some folks this is too much but I’ve always been a “tell me straight” kind of girl. Hold on the the knowledge that you’re getting one of the best possible treatment programmes and in the grand scheme of things 3 x FECs and 3 x TAXs doesn’t take long at all and once they’re through you’ll be resuming ‘life as usual’ much more readily and quickly than might seem possible. Our bodies are truly amazing and geared towards healing so if we can keep our minds as positive as possible, handle the situation with confidence and focus (just as you’re doing already) we come through it with renewed wellbeing and I think perhaps a little bit wiser too.

      Wishing you the very best for your treatments and recovery and if there is ever anything you want to know from someone who is willing to be honest about their experience of what actually happens, feel free to ask.

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  5. Pingback: TAX – Round 1 | claire-kicks-cancer

  6. Tracy I started chemo on sept 26, 2014 and will finish jan 9, 2015 – almost the same dates as you but two years later!

    I am just now experiencing sore eyes from Tax. I was comforted to see your post. And I have been confused and embarrassed about the bloody nose problem. To others out there with this problem I found the best solution to be a saline nasal mist. At first I thought it was a result of our dry Canadian winter weather. But then it became much worse. I couldn’t breath at night! The saline spray seemed to lubricate the damaged mucus and cleared it up within a week of the symptoms starting on day 3 after Tax. I also have worked out intensely during the whole fec-d experience. I elevate my heart rate to 90% of my max during either swimming biking or running sessions which I do 6 days a week for about 60mns each session. This has significantly helped maintain my energy. But after each chemo session I have to take 3 days to a week off depending on my side effects. And after each chemo my fitness level is decreased. But overall exercising has definitely helped.

    Thank you for your great blog post!

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    • I wish you well for your final chemo Catherine, you are definitely on the home strait now. I found when I was having treatment that many of the side effects weren’t explained and what to do about them was even more sketchy. Maintaining fitness through treatment is really important and helps with overall recovery I think so it’s great that you’ve been able to continue working out. The F and E parts of this regime can be very hard on the heart as well as the rest of our bodies. I hope once your treatment is over everything returns to ‘normal’ very quickly for you you enjoy good health in future.

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  7. I have had 3 fec. And two tax, after the first fec, I sailed through the other tw,, managing to rife my horse occasionally,

    No real bad side effects from the fe,, I am now on my second tax, first tax was too strong and I had really bad diarrhoe,, ended up in hospital, second tax not so bad they have reduced the dose, I still have hai,, in fact it is growing on top, still got eyelashes and some eyebrows, however I still have one more tax to go till chemo finished, I then have 4 weeks of radiotherapy then I think letrosal or similar tablets, just can’t wait x

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    • It’s not easy but once your chemo is done and the radiotherapy is out of the way it’ll be much better and things will start returning to something like normal. I wish you well for the rest of your treatment and for many years to come xoxox

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  8. much later ….. Hi Tracy, I found your superbly named blog when googling FEC100 chemo and palpitations. Thank you! esp for this post …. Day 11 of cycle 1, had good results on pre-treatment heart test but have been getting palpitations and chest pain … it was encouraging to read this while waiting for the doc to ring me back. Hope all is well and that you are enjoying a great life, Di xx

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    • Hello Di, wishing you an event free journey through the chaos of FEC and a return to wellness as soon as its through. Take good care of yourself through chemo, it knocks your stuffing out over time but there is light at the end of the tunnel and plenty of people like me who are right there with you, cheering you on. Sending hugs and lots of positive energy your way, Tracy xoxox

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  9. Had my 1st round of FEC and I’m relieved to see that my side effects were similar. I got lots of info on diarrhoea but not much on constipation! Thankfully, my daughter over spicing some tuna did the trick for me. I’ve also noticed the waxy skin & I’m breaking out as well. Still, my nausea was limited & I am now eating everything in sight. Still, only 2 rounds of FEC & 3 Tax to go….oh yeah, & Herceptin for a year & 3 weeks of radiotherapy, but still, my new breasts look great!

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    • Hi Theresa, I’m sorry you’re having to go through FEC-TH too, plus radiation :-/ It does go quickly, even though it might not seem that way at the start. I hope everything goes smoothly with your treatment and wish you a rapid return to full health

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    • Hi. I had my 1st Fec a week ago, and having read a lot on this site, was delighted to see the comment you made about your new breasts! How wonderful! I have chemo, another op and raidiotherpy to go, and have been fighting hard t to keep my right breast. If they do tell me I need to have a mastectomy I will be devastated. However if they say I can have a reconstruction at the same time, I know I can get through it. I would love to know how you went through the process. Thank you! I hope your life is back to normal. And that you are well and happy!

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      • Hi Sally, I’m sorry you are having to deal with cancer and all it entails too. I hope your treatment goes smoothly and without many side effects. I will write a post on my processes of surgery so hope that will be helpful. When I was diagnosed I stopped thinking of my breasts as an attractive part of my body and saw them as something with the potential to cause great harm – a bit like being trapped in a well with a crocodile. I didn’t fancy my chances with the crocodile so forgoing my breasts seemed better than the alternative. It has been a long journey and there are still bits to do but I am well now, this summer will be four years since diagnosis and people who don’t know me would never know I’d had cancer. That, I think, is quite amazing and it makes me very happy. I send you my very best wishes, lots of camaraderie and strength for your journey and please feel free to contact me anytime if you have questions or just need to talk to someone who’s “done it.” Tx

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      • Hi Sally, I’m now almost 2 years on & life is getting back to normal. I didn’t have any breasts to begin with, least amount of breast tissue the surgeon had worked with, so anything was a plus! I had cancer on both sides, so it was really my only option but I also didn’t want to worry about the cancer returning. The surgeries today are great & they work hard to match both sides if only one is removed. Also, if they can save the nipple, great but mine were removed & reconstruction not recommended but I had 3D nipple tattoos done after Christmas & they are great! The reality is that you do lose sensation, if you go with implants, they do feel different and there are scars, but they just become part of the new you & your new story. Hang in there! It’s a season, a rubbish season, but it ends. Oh yeah, your nails will probably go rubbish after 5 & 6, just thought I’d warn you!

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        • You’re right Theresa, surgeries today are great and the new you is just different but certainly not worse than the old one. The new one is cancer free and that in itself is fantastic. I like your thoughts on the season because seasons do change. After the harshest winter, summer always comes 🙂

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  10. My chemo starts very soon and I believe forewarned is forearmed so thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed account .

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    • I hope you have as few side effects as possible and the chemo sessions go very smoothly for you. It’s not something any of us would wish for but they pass quickly

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  11. Thank you so much for this. I don’t have nausea (yet) kind of had a 5 minute feeling of dizziness followed by nausea 2 days after my first chemo but nothing since. I forgot to take my Emend before breakfast today, a day after my second course, but took it all the same. My nose had the same rotten meat smell and now there is a large area of cartilage gone, but no hole. It becomes mucus gorged every morning but nothing that cant be resolved. Hair started to fall out on day 14, New years day. Bought a lovely pixie wig Thursday, the day before my second course, so I’m ready to the extent I’ve made an appointment to have all 26 inches shaved off and sent to someone to make a wig for maybe a child. Not gong to be any good to me. Surgery is April with radiotherapy so its going to be a long but good year. Breast cancer sucks when you ignore a lump that turns into an entire gorged breast with poisoned lymph glands but the tumor has already shrunk considerable even after one session. Only the good universe above knows the end. Funny how our partners abandon ship when faced with this but we are the ones who go through it and come out victorious. Hugs ❤

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    • I’m sorry you’re going through this too, in the grand scheme go things I won’t be calling it one of life’s more pleasant experiences! Try to remember to take the Emend. My hospital gave me Domperidone to begin with “because not everyone needs Emend and it’s very expensive.” So I was a guineapig during my first session and then got Emend for the second which improved things a lot. I hope the tumour continues to reduce so that by April there is little of it left. The treatment path is a long one but hang in there, we do get through it and life does slowly return to being your own instead of a merry-go-round of hospital visits. Sending you strength and love xoxox

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  12. Great post.
    I am hoping I have my ovarian cancer on the run. Started at stage 4, experienced many of the side effects you mentioned but absolutely refused to read about cancer, treatment, side effects or anything related until I was done with chemo and had some good numbers.

    Everyone is different. For me, I just focused on beautiful, positive things as much as I could and let Dr. Grey and the nurses worry about getting me better. Worked like a charm.

    I was never afraid. Well, hardly ever. When I got scared, I’d write on my blog. I’d pet my cat. I’d watch a Dane Cook YouTube video because he can always make me laugh SO hard. I’d sit and look at bees on the flowers on the deck and I’d just forget. Make myself ignore. Focus on all the beauty.
    (God it’s hard!) it’s as hard to not pay attention to my illness as it is to learn Chinese algebra. It requires concentration and focus. But I am doing it. I’m almost done.

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    • Thanks Laura 🙂 When I developed cancer I was one in a line that’s far too long in my family. My Mom got the worse deal of all – breast cancer followed by ovarian cancer but to be honest none of the women before me fared very well. That’s quite a legacy to live with so I’m determined to buck the trend and like you, staying positive and optimistic about the future. I was afraid of chemo because of the effect it had on my Mom and I thought the same thing might happen to me. Now that I’ve done it and Herceptin I realise although it is unpleasant it can be achieved. It’s left me with a needle phobia though – if they can’t hit a vein first time I pass out… that never happened before! I will keep you in my thoughts and send ongoing concentration, focus and strength for you.

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  13. Hi Tracy. I was searching for information about phlebitis which is so bad for me this morning (all the way to my shoulder) that I had to take half a narcotic tablet. I finished my second round of FEC one week ago and the phlebitis doesn’t start until day 3. Last time it was just in my hand at the IV site. Thanks for a heads up on what I have to face next lol. I, too, will have 6 treatments in the FEC-D protocol. I wasn’t as fortunate as you in that my tumour was large and aggressive and 23 of 30 harvested lymph nodes were positive. I’m more fortunate than you in that I had one period of nausea one morning, lots of energy the first few days and don’t look sick (other than being bald!). I’d like to start following your blog as I’m a firm believer that knowledge is power. Thanks so much. My very best to you, sister 🙂

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    • Hi Andrea, I’m sorry you’re on this bandwagon too and hope you come through it with a song in your heart and a spring in your step. It’s tough but we are tougher 🙂 With luck you won’t experience all these side effects, chemo is so unpredictable. Be sure to take care of yourself and listen to your body, getting through the treatment without complications is a big bonus. If you need any help or support feel free to get in touch by email. I’m here and will help as much as I can. Keep strong, we’ll get through this together xoxox

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    • I’m waiting for a date to have a portacath inserted as I can’t imagine going through this 4 more times! Thanks so much for the support. We all become family after a diagnosis like this xo

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  14. I have ‘liked’ this because it is an excellently written and extremely helpful post for anyone who has to go through all you have gone through. In addition to recovering from your treatment, you are probably going through PTSD having had to go through all of that!

    At least the treatment is over, and the symptoms will get better…. In time…

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    • Thank you Barbara, when I think about it all now it can be quite overwhelming. I am amazed I survived the side effects. I know the disease (left to run its course) is worse than the treatment but neither are great if we’re honest. I have a few more medical things to finish this year but at least the chemo bit is done and that is probably the toughest part.

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  15. I’ve had friends battle various forms of cancer and the composite they have created, collectively, is that the chemo is better than the cancer, but only marginally so. What you have written are things we have probably all heard about but there’s something about the written word that just NAILS IT like nothing other. You know–we always say ‘write it down’ when we want to make a point.
    Suffice to say that there’s quite a point there above.
    One can only imagine what you have had to go through. At least there’s comfort in knowing that the big marker is now behind you.
    Last post I read by you was about F
    How about R now.
    Resilience. The second thing I noticed (the first I have hinted about above) while reading your page above was how resilient you much be to be able to start recovering from that onslaught. Here’s to the letter R.

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    • Sadly chemo is the best thing we have right now and although it is tough, it is infinitely better than untreated cancer. I know there are people who doubt chemo’s efficacy and suggest vitamin C infusions or coffee enemas are the answer, but those things don’t stop the march of this disease and it can march at quite a rate given half a chance. Thank you for the suggestion to write about R. I hadn’t really thought about this – it is a failing of mine that I tend to focus ahead of me rather than on what’s been achieved or how much effort it took. I’ll construct a post about Resilience and hope to do the subject some credit. Thank you for your support Maurice, Tracy

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