Things no one tells you about chemo

I was thrilled to complete my last dose of chemo on April 10, 2015. I thought I would gradually start feeling better and that my cognitive function and peripheral neuropathy would start improving gradually. Here is what really happened (complete with emoticons):

  1. It took months until my exhaustion eased. At first, it was all I could do to put in an 8 hour day. I was wiped out by Thursday morning. This lasted for three, yes three, months šŸ˜¦ By the fourth month, I was able to get through a 40 hour week without wishing I could curl up on the floor of my cube and sleep.
  2. My cognitive reasoning abilities returned quickly :), although my word recall abilities were slower to bounce back. This was the most important symptom for me.
  3. My neuropathy worsened by the third month, and makes no signs of improving :/
  4. I experienced a significant hair loss at three months, which my radiologist friend told me coincided with the 90 day hair growth cycle :/
  5. At four months out, I experienced what felt like a mini chemo session. I was nauseated (glad I had some Zofran left), fatigued and experienced many of the symptoms I had on chemo (metallic taste, blurry vision, weird neck crack, GI issues, headache), but for a much shorter duration and to a much lesser extent. This appears to be happening on a regular basis, and is accompanied by a worsening of my neuropathy that lasts for several days. Since this is relatively new, I’m waiting to see where this goes šŸ˜¦ 
  6. On days when I’m not having chemo flashbacks, I feel GREAT! I even started upping my exercise and running for short stints on our dog walks šŸ™‚

To end on a positive note, it is over one year since my diagnosis. I am currently cancer free, and am taking much better care of myself. I learned to be kind to myself and to take each day as it comes. I do my best and do what I think is best for me physically and emotionally. Sometimes, those two are at odds, and I’m learning to choose to weight the former more then the latter. September 25th marks one year since my surgery. So much has changed this year. I am thankful to be where I am and grateful for everyone who helped me get to this point!  



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