Ever wonder what chemo is like? Probably not unless you know someone going through it but I wanted to share that it’s not as awful as we all think it is. It’s not fun, it’s not easy and I hate it but unfortunately it’s something thousands of people go through daily as they battle cancer.
So here’s what a chemo day is like. It starts with bloodwork. The oncologist will get the results and you will meet with them to go over how you’re feeling and how your counts are. Each week you hope counts are good and fortunately mine have stayed normal or close to.
After meeting with the oncologist it’s time to head to the chemo room…where the real fun begins. Once you get your chair you try to get comfortable and prepare for several hours attached to medicine.
One positive is where I go there are heated chairs which are amazing. If I’m lucky I can occasionally get the one of the private rooms they have. If not you sit in your chair looking at what are people a lot older than you coming in to get their treatments. You go through the why did I end up like this? I’m young and took care of myself and yet here I am at 40 dealing with this.
Forgot to mention that prior to the start of chemo you have a surgical procedure to put a port in. While funny looking and slightly uncomfortable if leaned on or hit, it is much easier than having to have an IV put in each treatment. Blood work can be done from it as well. As Reese tells me “it gives you medicine so you feel better.” And she’s right that’s what it does.
So once in your chair a nurse will come in with your bags of medicine. You get them hooked up to your port and sit and wait, spending the last part of treatment desperately waiting for the bag to get low and eventually empty.
Phones keep you entertained and having someone with you to keep you company is extra reassuring. Due to the Covid surge I was unable to have anyone with me for my last 2 treatments prior to delivery which trust me sucked and made the chemo process that much more lonely and shitty. But I got through.
The wild card is always how I’ll feel after. Initially I’m ok but nausea usually sets in later. Thankfully the anti-nausea meds I can take usually work. Some days I have a normal appetite or want spicy foods, yes we’ve had general Taos chicken and Buffalo chicken a night or two after chemo and other weeks I eat without much taste or just want bland. For the most part though my appetite has been pretty good.
The exhaustion. I was pregnant through half the treatments and restarted chemo two weeks postpartum so the fatigue is a combination of the chemo and pregnancy and childbirth. It means a lot of time in bed, lots of naps. With steroids needed with chemo I often can’t sleep the night after chemo which then tends to throw off a couple of days of sleep.
The fatigue also means a lack of energy throughout the day. I usually start each day with a workout, which probably takes up a lot of my energy but helps me as part of my normal routine (as well as helping physically.) Some days I have a lot of energy, can do laundry, clean and play with the kids and other days I just nap and lie in bed watching TV.
So there it is. That’s what chemo is like. It’s not fun, but it’s not awful. It’s not easy, I dread it every week now but it’s what I need to go through to kick this cancer’s ass.
I’m learning to take it one week at a time, each treatment down gets me a step closer to remission. So chemo isn’t fun, it sucks and it’s hard, but it’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s something all of us cancer patients undergo and makes me even in more awe of the many warriors out there battling this terrible disease.