Cancer Journey/ HEALTH

Chemo Side Effects

I am so grateful it is the Friday after chemo!  This is always the day where I breath a sigh of relief, knowing I am going to start feeling normal again.
Yesterday was actually a nice surprise for me.  I woke up expecting it to be the typical, hardest day of my week (4th day after chemo) but, by golly, it wasn’t! (I never say “by golly” but it was kinda fun to type.)

Wednesday evening I was about to take my anti-nausea meds, and the label on the bottle caught my eye.  It said “may cause extreme drowsiness and blurred vision.”  I knew right away I would rather have nausea (as long as I could still eat) than to not be able to see or focus because of fog/fatigue.  I skipped the meds, and it made for a much more “clear” Thursday.  I felt somewhat productive since I didn’t have to lay in bed all day, although my stomach paid for it.

I have to pause and chuckle for a moment.  It is funny what one considers a “good” day when going through chemo… here are some examples of what I mean…

~~I  lost 2 toenails from chemo, but I still got 8 plus my fingernails, so its all good…

~~This film that forms on my tongue 2-4 days after chemo makes all food taste sicking-ly sweet, but I’ve learned if I scrape the heck out of my tongue, and gargle with a mouthwash that tastes like the deliciousness of Vicks Vapo Rub, my taste is normal again.  Tasting food=great day.

~~I’m tired, achey and I feel like I have the stomach flu, but I’m vertical, so its a good day.

~~My skull, jaw bone and sternum are doing their deep ache dance, but that means the meds are working and my bones are producing lots of red/white cells– oh happy day!

~~My lips peel for at least 3 days after treatment, but they are so soft and pretty by day 6.  Free lip peel? Makes for a good day..

~~My digestive system shuts down for 3 days after chemo, but I’ve figured out which foods get it going again, and when it happens… that, my friends, is a good day!

~~A crazy side effect of chemo is twitching.  As I lay there to go to sleep, my pinky toe will come alive.  Or, behind my rib, or my shoulder blade…it feels like popcorn popping right under my skin or bones.  Does not make for a fun night, but during the day it keeps me company, so that’s good, right?

I say all these things in the spirit of staying real with you all.

 I also say them, honestly, with a deep gratitude.  I feel so thankful I have been able to figure out ways to get around or deal with most of these minor side effects, and that I have not dealt with anything too serious.  God has been so very good!!

I now get why cancer patients are called “Fighters.”  There are so many things, big and small, that come our way, so we fight.

I have felt sad as many of these side effects of chemo and cancer seem like they just strip femininity away (hair, nails, lips, breasts, brows, curves, sleep).  But–I’ve chosen to see myself in a new light.

 I AM a Fighter and I have the God of the Universe along side me.  I have a new femininity, it is a fighter femininity.  It makes me want to buy combat boots and wear car-gos (my favorite do-rag right now is a camouflage one:)) and kick this cancer outta here!

And for those days when I just can’t seem to find the good or the fight, you all step in with your words of encouragement, and He steps in with His Word of Truth, and reminds me that even in my weakness, I am strong.

Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Philippians 4:13
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

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  • Handy Man, Crafty Woman
    January 4, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Hugs to you!!!

  • Rachel L.
    November 11, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Amy, I am just a random person who has been following your blog for about 6 mo (and I absolutely LOVE it!). I happen to be a Dietitian, and on one of the listservs I am a member of, I received the following message. I thought you might be interested. Feel free to spread the word!

    If you know any woman currently undergoing Chemo for any form of
    Cancer, please pass the word to her that there is a cleaning
    service that provides **FREE** housecleaning – 1 time per month for
    4 months while she is in treatment.

    All she has to do is sign up and have her doctor fax a note
    confirming the treatment. Cleaning for a Reason will have a
    participating maid service in her zip code area arrange for the service.

    This organization serves the entire USA and currently has 547
    partners to help these women. It’s our job to pass the word and let
    them know that there are people out there that care. Be a blessing
    to someone and pass this information along.

    **For more information visit their website

  • Noel
    November 11, 2010 at 5:34 am

    Thank you for this:) You have such a sweet blog. I do not have cancer, nor do I even know anyone with cancer, but your strength somehow speaks to me and I applaud you for your truthfulness and humour through it all:) You are truly an inspiration.

  • Paula
    November 10, 2010 at 5:50 am

    Your post reminds me of a Beth Moore Bible study on the book of Esther. In it Beth emphasized that we women are princesses because we are daughters of the King of the Universe, but we are also warriors for His kingdom. Our study group adopted the name Warrior Princesses. Remind yourself you too are a warrior princess the next time your feminity takes a whacking! I pray for your physical healing and also for much faith and hope as your walk with Jesus becomes deeper and much more meaningful.

  • Anonymous
    November 8, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    oh Amy, sending hugs and prayers from an almost 8 year breast cancer survivor.


  • Marianne
    November 7, 2010 at 4:04 am

    You are an amazing woman. I just wanted to let you know that I did the Breast cancer walk in your honor this year. Keep fighting, I’ll keep praying.

  • Anonymous
    November 6, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    What inspiring optimism you have, Amy! Makes my everyday complaints seem small. I’ve been praying for you during the nights this week (while I’m up with the baby =).

  • anewshadeofpink
    November 6, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Your body may have cancer, but your attitude is incredibly healthy. As a four-year survivor myself, I can tell you that you are doing great! You really are. Keep hanging in there and keep holding onto your Heavenly Father!

  • colorchic
    November 6, 2010 at 3:14 am

    Amy what a great post! Glad you are feeling better! Have a great weekend and “Keep up the Fight”!

  • Julia
    November 5, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    You are in inspiration!

  • Sarah @ Modern Country Style
    November 5, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Dear Amy,

    I’m so sorry that you’re dealing with all this….but dealing with it INCREDIBLY.

    Your fighting spirit is amaing.

    And I’ve not seen anyone look quite that gorgeous wearing combat boots…..

    *warm hug*


  • Barbara
    November 5, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Ditto on the prayers and good healing thoughts coming your way. I have also heard that candied ginger helps. If you try it let us know. You are an inspiration! Sending you hugs & love. You are beautiful, feminine and all around lovely soul.

  • Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™
    November 5, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Prayers and good thoughts for your perfect healing Amy. Have you tried ginger and/or kumbucha for your tummy after chemo? I’ve heard ginger soothes and kumbucha (GT’s or homemade is best IMHO) is thought to help replenish all the good bacteria that gets killed by the chemo. Acidopholis does this very well too. But then you probably know all this already. 🙂

    Regarding feminine~fighters…just replace the laces in your combat boots with pretty ribbon & wear them with your tights and skirts! That being said, you are the spirit of loveliness regardless of uniform…be it clothing…nails…hair.

    Blessings and thanks to you.

  • Rebecca
    November 5, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    What a wonderful, simply honest post. And such an example of looking for the silver lining!

  • Page
    November 5, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Wow. What a powerful relationship with God you have. Thank you for shining your light in an amazing way – you have taught me a lot. I am so thankful God is giving you the strength to be a fighter!!! I’m also glad you’ve been able to cling to the ‘good’ moments. Praying God gives you more and more good days!

  • Cathy
    November 5, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    “I AM a Fighter and I have the God of the Universe along side me.” Amen!!!

    Praying for you.

  • The Pennington Point
    November 5, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Amy, you bless me so with these posts. I haven’t dealt with this, but I am so drawn to read and learn. It helps me understand my friends that are going through it. It helps me know what to pray for you. It helps me wrap my mind around how hard this disease and treatment are. Thanks. Lisa~

  • Aimee
    November 5, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Wow, Amy. You are AMAZING. Praying you have more great days than bad and praying God’s healing for you.

  • Kim
    November 5, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!! for keeping it real as my brother has brain cancer & has never ever shared so many details & now I feel a bit more inside his world during his treatments.

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