I’ve learned that there is one thing that you just don’t know with some chemo side effects: you don’t know for sure if they are from the chemo or if you would have had the condition anyway – chemo or not.
Acid stomach, fatigue, headache …. these are the ones that are most difficult for me to attribute – accurately.
It really doesn’t matter. I’ve had a very limited range of side effects – and they have not been severe.
The worst was the weekend after the 1st treatment. I did pinpoint the headache as side effect of the immune booster shot I received 24 hours after treatment. They told me it would come – caused by over-production of white blood cells inspired directly by the shot. The fatigue that set it was definitely from the treatment. It came on faster than any “tiredness” I’ve ever felt – even with the flu – and lasted for about 28 hours. I think I slept for 22 of the 28.
I never was nauseated – really. But had acid stomach from eating hardly anything. This has produced itself again this week, but it is generally associated with a meal so I don’t really know if it’s a trailing side effect or just acid stomach.
The same for light fatigue. Last night after our busy day, I was tired and dozed a little as the football games ran their course in front of me.
This is pretty common. However, I can’t attribute it directly to chemo because of my sketchy sleep rhythm which is the topic here so I’m finally getting to it.
A theme that runs throughout the cancer journey is sketchy sleep. If you ever get a cancer diagnosis just realize that you’re going to have to live with it.
Since the day of my questionable mammogram, I’ve gotten so few “good nights of sleep” that I could count them on one hand. Even with prescribed and over the counter sleep aids, I still awaken almost every two hours. Some times the over the counter stuff works better than the prescribed types.
I do go back to sleep some nights and some nights I don’t (hence this blog). This definitely produces the condition I describe above (tired at the end of the day) so my light fatigue last night could be from chemo or it could be from my sleep rhythm ( which you can’t really call a rhythm at all). Most likely it’s a combo of the two….
So I’ve sort of learned to live with this sleep schedule and enjoy the early morning hours with a little solitude for prayer, blog writing and exercising my left arm.
I suppose that just a small example of how I feel about this entire journey. It’s something that I’ve been dealt and I just have to accept, set my determination to come through it in the best way possible – ad just do it.
It’s overwhelming – yes – but it isn’t taking over my life. I’m doing (or getting back to doing) things that I did before surgery forced a break. The routine is sanity in an insane world of appointments, procedures therapies, treatments, check-ups and classes.
This week brings chemo #2. Bring it on!