Chemotherapy – Side Effects Update

I haven’t written for a month or so now, mainly because the side effects, I have to say it, were awful.

Now this isn’t a moaning post. Its a tell it like it was for me post.

I have now finished chemotherapy. The last three cycles I had Taxotere  I reacted to it differently each time I had it. This time the overwhelming issue was tiredness with total fatigue and breathlessness ( due to anaemia).

The tiredness was more about the need to sleep and do it a lot. I think part of the tiredness is of course due to the drugs but also due to the interrupted sleep caused by night sweats plus anaemia.  If I get two hours sleep in a row I consider it a good night these days.

The fatigue  and breathlessness was something else; total muscle weakness and aches all over. It was as if I had climbed a mountain but even now, four weeks later, I haven’t fully recovered. Getting puffed out walking from one end of the room to the other.  It has been the fatigue that has been getting to me most. Everything else I can take.

Taste and appetite went ( but taste wasn’t as horrible as before, everything had the tase and texture of cardboard. Toes and fingers were sore, not as badly. Finger and toe nails all present still, although a bit damaged looking and discoloured. The sore throat and tongue wasn’t so bad.

I had a bout of low mood  a few weeks ago and finally gave in to feeling so crap. I had a day where I just cried and felt sorry for myself, not my usual style, but when things have gone on and on, it feels never-ending. I knew it would get better, it was just taking such a long time.

I had to take my own advice. I had to pace myself. making a cup of tea was the achievement some days. i adapted so I could do some tasks. Sitting on my wheely office chair to empty and reload the washing machine and dishwasher. Delegating.

If you are reading this and have to have Taxotere please don’t assume that this is how it will be for you. Speaking to other women who have been through it some have had it better, (or worst),  than others. I was just somewhere in the middle. Everyone is different. I am quite envious of Victoria Derbyshire who has returned to work full time. She and I had our last chemotherapy on the same day:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3280889/Victoria-Derbyshire-returns-work-BBC2-month-mastectomy-following-breast-cancer-diagnosis.html

This demonstrates my point exactly. I am not fit for work right now but have been able to do more walking and get to the allotment. I have more mental energy and am now looking at a plan to build fitness gently.

Finally I move onto the next step this afternoon, radiotherapy!

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