Finally, chemo ends and it appears that I have won a few rounds of this battle with breast cancer. This is one ordeal I am glad to be over and done with. Chemotherapy has consumed the better part of my life since February 2012. I can look forward to finishing my reconstruction and getting on with my life. Good riddance, chemo.
Chemo’s side effects
Everyone has a different experience with chemo. There are so many different combinations of drugs and so many side effects that no two people have the same reaction. For me, my white blood counts crashed and they put me on a drug to correct that.
My chemotherapy lasts five hours. Yes, sitting in a recliner for five hours hooked up to an IV through my port is not the way I would want to spend an afternoon. I receive two chemotherapy drugs, a biological therapy and six drugs to prevent side effects. One of the drugs used to pretreat is a steroid. The chemo drugs given to me are Cytoxin and Taxotere.
I have an adverse reaction to the steroid they use. It puts me in a drug induced fog where I am unable to focus. Driving is not an option for three days after chemo. I also turn sunburn red and my chest and face feel like they are on fire. Doctors are aware of this, but not concerned enough to do anything about it.
I also had a bad reaction to the drug used to increase my white blood count. An injection of Neulasta is given 24 hours after chemo. This particular drug causes me unbearable bone pain. The pain is so bad that walking across a room is difficult for me.
I gladly say goodbye to chemotherapy. Although it is very effective at killing cancer cells, it is also very good at trashing healthy cells that your body needs. Now, I can start getting back to living my life again. I still have another surgery to go through but it looks like the hardest part is behind me now.
I am still undergoing treatment. Chemo ends, but I have almost a year of a biological therapy ahead of me. My oncologist and I are still discussing hormone therapy–which would involve taking a pill on a daily basis for five years.
Hindsight is 20/20. Would I have changed anything now that I have gone through this? My answer is yes. I would not have undergone chemotherapy, knowing what I know now. I had other options available to me which I would have explored completely before deciding on chemo. Hopefully, I can put this part of cancer behind me and move forward. If cancer returns, God forbid, I will not go through chemo again.