Over the past two weeks I have weathered a host of side effects. None of them have been as bad as expected, except the exhaustion, though I still managed to walk every day, and write most days, and squeeze in a trip to Seattle. I did mismanage my spoons yesterday. Was feeling pretty good, so never quite got around to stopping and resting as I should. Compounded this with a food crash heading into the lunch hour. By yesterday evening, I was stupidly tired, and had a small emotional meltdown.
Basically, I've learned to live with chemo. I'm told the first round of side effects typically sets a patient's pattern going forward. It's my expectation that the side effects will get worse as the sessions go on and the drug effects build, but really, I can live with this, and it's less frightening than I'd expected.
We did produce a side effects worksheet last night, with consultative input from shelly_rae. This is so I don't forget to report anything to the oncologist this morning. I'll put it here under a cut for mild medical TMI, for those who are interested in the details.
|Headache||Day of infusion, 24 hours||High to mild||Unusual for me|
|Confusion||Day of infusion, 3 hours||Moderate|
|Extreme fatigue||Ongoing||High to moderate||Diminished somewhat over 2 weeks|
|Oversleeping||First 6-8 days||High to moderate||From 10+ hours down to my usual 6|
|Bowel distress/severe diarrhea||Days 7-9||Extreme||Indescribably foul odor, very loose stool, possibly related to pre-existing intermittent lactose intolerance|
|Bowel distress||Ongoing||Moderate||Slightly looser and more frequent than normal|
|Cold sensitivity||First 5 days||Very mild||Limited to back teeth|
|Impaired short term memory||Ongoing||Mild||Like I often am, just a bit more|
|Impaired long term memory||Ongoing||Mild||Unusual for me|
|Impaired thinking skills||None observed||n/a||Other|
|Slowed thinking skills||First 5-7 days||Mild||All my faculties, just slowed down|
|Impaired observation/EQ||Ongoing||Moderate to mild||Diminished somewhat over 2 weeks|
|Loss of appetite||Ongoing||High to moderate||Diminished somewhat over 2 weeks|
|Food 'crashes'||Ongoing||High to moderate||Diminished somewhat over 2 weeks|
|Nausea||10 minutes, day 3||Mild|
|Sexual dysfunction||Ongoing||Moderate||Libido largely intact, erectile dysfunction, difficulty reaching orgasm|
|Excessive dental plaque||Intermittent||Moderate||Could this be a sign of thrush?|
Some of the side effects are distinctly unpleasant, some are socially embarrassing or difficult to discuss (especially the bowel distress issues and sexual function issues), but they are all very real parts of the cancer experience.
We're keeping today's infusion low key, just riding it out and seeing how I do. shelly_rae will be back down tomorrow, with a quiet weekend for all three of us here at Nuevo Rancho Lake. I'll update as I can.