My ode to chemo side effects... - The Funny Thing About Cancer
 
In honor of my 6th Taxol treatment (HALFWAY THERE!!!!!!!!) I thought I'd write a blog about some of the awesome side effects.  I was going to try to write a funny poem... but I couldn't find anything that rhymed with "butthole" :)

If you think of anything to complete that rhyme, lemme know!

So instead of writing a poem, I'll use another analolgy for side effects.  You ever watch drug commercials?  And the voice comes on at the end and speed reads through a list of horrible sounding side effects?  And you wonder who the heck would risk "anal leakage" just so they can lose a little weight? 

Or am I the only one that considers that a head scratcher?

Well I kinda feel like my life is that little blurb at the end of the commercial.  Only I generally feel like the side effects are worth taking a drug that could keep cancer at bay and keep me alive for many years to come.  If you asked me to go through this for weight loss, I'd tell you to go sell your crazy somewhere else.

So here it is.  If you were watching a commercial for chemo meds, the announcer would have to burn through this list of common side effects:

Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, temporary alopecia (fancy word for baldness), constipation, diahrea, bruising, tiredness, mouth sores/ulcers, metallic taste in your mouth, heart damage, infertility, loss of period, neuropathy, general aches and pains, vaginal dryness, increased chance of infections, forgetfulness, chronic nosebleeds, and other more serious side effects.

Sounds like a picnic, right?  I mean who doesn't enjoy feeling like you just pencil rolled down a hill that had lots of baseball sized rocks on it? (aka "general aches and pains")  Or, you know, having crazy poop problems?  And that whole forgetfulnes thing... wait... what was I going to say again?

When they tell you about these side effects up front, you think "that doesn't sound THAT bad."  And to be totally truthful, I've lived through worse.  I've woken up with hangovers that are worse than some of these side effects. 

BUT (and this is a big but) a hangover lasts a day, maybe two if you really partied hard. 

Chemo lasts for like 3-4 months. 

And now that I'm on Taxol, the side effects aren't getting any better, they're becoming more cumulative.  Don't get me wrong, A/C wasn't fun.  However, things like the nausea and the loss of appetite got better with each infusion.  So each infusion seemed to get a little easier.

Taxol is the reverse of that. 

Taxol seemed all friendly at first.  It was like "nice to meet you.  See?  I'm all gentle and don't kick your ass like that nasty, old A/C did." 

And you think "Taxol, it sure is nice to meet you.  I like you much better than A/C."

And then Taxol, being the two faced fiend that it is, turns out to be some sort of voo-doo priestess and you're the new target.  Each treatment, Taxol sticks a new giant pin into your little voo-doo doll.  And that's kind of how I feel, like a little doll with lots of pins in it.

Because Taxol can cause nerve damage.  Hence the neuropathy and general aches and pains. 

And by aches and pains, I mean really random sharp pains all over your body. 

And by neuropathy, I mean numbness or tingling in the extremeties.  Doesn't sound bad, but boy oh boy is it annoying.  And can make it difficult to type (another reason for my lack of blogging).

Oh and then there's the chronic nose bleeds.  Nothing like having a work conversation with a Kleenex stuffed up your nose.  Seriously, that happened once.  Luckily the person I was meeting with just took it in stride, but I can't say I'd consider it one of my finer professional moments.

So that's where I am.  Halfway done with Taxol and ready for it to be over.  I feel like I've gotten the side effects reasonably under control through use of various vitamin supplements and Tylenol.  I'm still very positive.  I'm still working and enjoying day to day life more than I did on AC. 

BUT I'm ready to go back to feeling like me.  I'm ready to have this be over and feel like my body is mine again.

So HURRAY for the half way point, but God please let this 2nd half go fast :)



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