Tuesday, August 19, 2014

End of Chemo Cycle

I just finished my 12th and last chemotherapy cycle. It has been a grueling six months. Last February I was told that my colorectal cancer was back and it was now stage IV metastatic cancer in my lungs. A PET/CT scan revealed nearly a dozen cancerous nodules spread throughout in my lungs.

Very quickly I was placed on a 2-week chemotherapy cycle. I would go in on a Thursday to the chemotherapy infusion clinic and sit for 2-3 hours getting Oxaliplatin, Leucovorin, Avastin and Fluorouracil (5-FU) dripped into my chemo port that was implanted in my upper left chest. The port implant was recommended instead of using an arm IV. At the end of the session I was sent home with a 5-FU bottle attached to my port that would continue dripping into me for three days. Saturday afternoon I would go back to the clinic to have the bottle removed and the port flushed.

Because chemo reduces your immunity systems, there were all sorts of precautions I had to take from washing my hands constantly, avoiding sick people, no dental work done, drinking 2 quarts of fluids a day, and eating only cooked foods, no salads, no raw fruits or vegetables with thin skins.

The side effects I experienced throughout the treatment included fatigue, nose bleeds, light nausea, “chemo fog” or difficulties with recent memory, alternating diarrhea and constipation, and peripheral neuropathy (numbness and tingling in hands, feet and mouth). I didn’t have significant hair loss or experience vomiting from the drugs.  The anti-nausea drugs however caused weight gain…about 15 pounds. Made me more bearish looking.

The most persistent side effect has been the neuropathy or numbness. It has increased and become more annoying and bothersome.  I have another medical issue that has been an ongoing problem, an anal fistula in my surgery scar tissue, but that a story for another day.

I also had several side effects that came and went such as arthritis pain, severe anxiety, hiccups, mouth numbness, and stinging eye pain.


Frank said...

If mere words can be supportive - I offer my support. Hang in there and get well.

Penn said...

Congrats on the end of the cycle! I'm sorry you've had so many bad side effects, but I hope you recover very soon! Good luck, and hang in there. :)

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