I know that chemo is hard and since there are different types of chemotherapy drugs that are specifically prescribed to each person for specific dosage to help us. It’s something we have to do, but what they don’t tell you is what happens after the treatment! I considered myself lucky because I only had four chemo treatments over four months for my breast cancer. It was difficult but it is something you can manage through. But my article is about what happens after chemo and how to manage the side effects.
To all the people that has gone through chemotherapy, here are my best tips to help you become stronger! I had several side effects during treatments and I still have some side affects today, two years after chemo! I hope these tips will help you as you continue to fight your battle of survival and success:
- Thrush – this was just awful! Started the first-time chemo treatment that I had. Whenever my immune system was low, I would get thrush again and again. For over a year after finishing chemo. It became my signature illness for months. I lived on three types of medicines to finally get rid of it. Hopefully for good. My tip is to ask your dentist. He gave me an oral rinse that saved me!
- Neuropathy – after my third chemo treatment my feet and hands started hurting so bad. My feet at times were unbearable. The pain in my hands would come and go but sometimes they would hurt so badly that I had to just rub them until the pain subsided. I still have it in my feet now over two years later, but I have found some remedies that has helped me tremendously. Your doctors will tell you B6, which does help, and I do recommend this supplement. I started to use B12 which was stronger and helped my feet more. I take potassium which seems with the B12 reduces the pain so I can walk straight or walk normal. I purchased the organic supplements and take them once a day. I with neuropathy
- Hair loss – I lost my hair 2 weeks after my first chemo treatment. It was so incredibly hard to see my hair fall out. Being bald was humbly to say the least. My hair is about to my shoulders and I am lucky it grows fast. But what is a big side effect is losing most of my eyebrows. I didn’t fully lose them, but they get really thin and I must fill them in. Still happens about three times a year. My only solution me is to use a thicker brow liner. I am hoping it will stop soon. Good news, I have my hair and eyelashes! Losing my hair was the most traumatic time (for me) but not having to shave my legs or other areas for a few months was kind of nice.
- Fatigue – I feel so much better and every day I am getting stronger, but I do fight with fatigue. I struggle to sleep sound now which causes focus issues. Almost nightly I take a sleep aid. I really don’t recommend this route, but I can tell you on a positive note, when I sleep sound, I am more focused and have tons of energy. Double edge sword and you will have to decide how to manage fatigue. I think the fatigue is chemo drugs and hormone drug that I am on (Tamoxifen) it’s an easy drug, but the hot flashes and fatigue is a daily battle.
- Menopause – Chemo threw me into menopause and let me tell you, it’s no picnic. The hot flashes are constant, and I feel like I am boiling from the inside out. After about 7 months I asked my oncologist for a non-hormonal drug to reduce the hot flashes. That was a life saver! I still have about four or five hot flashes a day, but nothing compared to twenty or thirty that I was having. Best tip I can give you is talk with your doctor and ask for Effexor….it’s worth exploring what would help you!
- Watery eyes – Each time I had a chemo treatment, my eyes would water and water, then of course, swell. I struggled to see and kept wiping my eyes. This lasted well past my last chemo treatment. This caused me to have blurry vision for several months. I tried dry eye drops and so many other things, but I will tell you that I drank a ton of water each day and I think this helped me more than anything.
Chemo sucks! We all know that but there is help through many different facets. But don’t give up, be positive and try various options so you can find the right one that helps you. Believe me, it’s worth trying and talking with your physicians to get additional help as your body, mind, and soul are healing after chemotherapy. Share your tips with me, I would love to hear from you!