I am officially one week past my chemo start date. I’m happy to say that the week was much better than I had expected. I wasn’t sick at all. The worst part of it was taking the steroids; they really made me crazy. I’ve had some side effects, but all minor compared to what I had in my mind. I’ve got a nice rash all over my face and back, my tastes are all messed up and I get heartburn about every time I eat but other than that I’m great!
The day before I started chemo, my family surprised me by having Thanksgiving. That’s my favorite holiday (because of all the great food)! We knew that my tastes would be messed up once I started chemo, so instead of me not enjoying the holidays they celebrated early. That was the best thing they could have done for me!
Chemo day was not as bad as I had thought. I’m usually a mess when I’m upset or nervous, but I really had a calm about me that could have only come from all the prayers for me. I was upset, but not to the point I typically am. The nurses and staff at TN Cancer Specialists really make you feel like they care and are genuinely concerned. My nurse said a prayer for us before we got started and yes I cried when they hooked me up, but it was short lived. They had to give each of the drugs slow for the first 20-30 minutes to make sure I didn’t have any reaction to them. We were there for 6 hours so it was a long day.
Most side effects have come and gone, but a few have stayed. One day my legs were really restless and hurt if they weren’t moving. After a nice long walk with my mom they settled down. My hands and feet felt like they were asleep for about a day. Thursday afternoon I ran out of energy and felt like I just couldn’t get up, but by Friday morning I was back to normal. My tongue has felt almost numb, not totally, just enough to feel weird. Drinks are all too sweet for me to be able to enjoy. I would love to have something carbonated, but so far they are all gross. Water is fine and milk is ok, but that’s it. Sour candies are not sour anymore, they just taste sweet. Most other foods are ok, though. The first 3 days I didn’t really have an appetite, but made myself eat something. Since then I have more of an appetite, I just can’t eat much at a time.
My hair is still my major hurdle. I know it’s going to fall out, but that’s still hard to accept. It already doesn’t feel like my hair anymore. I am not able to get it to style at all; it’s just very limp and very straight. My scalp is really sensitive now and has started to itch. I’ve been told this is normal before it falls out. I don’t wish for my hair to fall out but I feel like maybe if it just did then I could start dealing with that. Silly, I know, but it’s like I can’t bring myself to face this until I have to. This is the side effect that I wish I could skip. I can deal with all the other things I have to do, but this one hurts.
— Holly Thompson