Wednesday, March 23, 2011
CHEMO: How It Feels -by Heidi
Ironically the therapy that was the targeted and first-line drug for me was a hormone depresser. And boy, was I depressed. Funny all the things that I did not know that estrogen facilitated in my body. I developed severe arthritis-like symptoms in my hands especially which really impacted my daily life. I couldn't open a jar, had no hand strength, bad nerve pain and numbness. My back and hips ached all the time. I was pretty moody (but it is hard to separate out medicine effects from the fact that I had just received a horrible diagnosis with a really bad life expectancy). When it failed to keep the cancer in check and I had to go to stronger chemo, I was scared stiff. But in terms of side effects, it has been much better. The only downside is that I have to come to the cancer center each week instead of once a month.
I am fortunate because my side effects have not been totally debilitating. When I first started treatment, I was NOT going to let side effects stop them from giving me these drugs that gave me a chance for a long life. I was determined. But now I more fully understand that side effects can be so debilitating, so impact your quality of life, that it is a balancing act: quality vs. quantity. I dont know all the answers but I sure have learned to not be so judgemental or assume that I know the answers.
One thing that makes the chemo easier is how friendly and kind the people at the chemo center are. You share your feelings, hopes and sadness with the staff and those you meet in the lounge and leave encouraged. I am so fortunate that Joe is willing to come with me each time and we try to do something fun each week. I am also so very grateful to God that this chemo is holding my cancer in check (for almost two years now).
Thanks again for all your support and feel free to communicate with us. We love hearing from you.
Posted by Joe Hendricks at 1:10 PM