Chemo hangover

Imagine running a marathon without any training. Afterwards you go out and drink a load of cheap red wine, the nastier the better. You have a couple of hours sleep when something makes you jump out of bed. As you quickly wake-up, your whole body is in agony.

Well that’s kinda what chemotherapy has been like.

It was more than a week ago that I had the anti-cancer drugs. It’s only now that I’m feeling almost human again.

The hangover from this special toxic cocktail didn’t kick in straight away. The next day it crept up on me slowly, so slowly that I’d thought I’d been lucky. Then wham, it got me.

I’ve been chronically tired. Just sitting in a chair was a massive achievement. Moving around made me breathless and dizzy. It also felt like I was going down with the flu.

Worst of all has been the horrendous pain in my legs and joints. Some of time I could barely stand up or walk. It felt like my legs were going to break but if I didn’t get up occasionally the pain would become more intense.

No matter how much I concentrated on James Bond, it didn’t stop the evil effects of the chemo. Maybe too much time thinking about Daniel Craig had something to do with being breathless and dizzy??

Anyway, along with strong pain killers, I found that plenty of hot water bottles and daytime TV helped the most.

As usual I’m staying with my parents in the countryside. I know this might seem strange but Mum has been microwaving a small bag made out of material and stuffed full of wheat and oats.

When you put this thing where you have the pain, it does actually work. As long as you don’t mind an overpowering smell of warm flapjacks.

In this roll call of horrible reactions something is missing. Amazingly I haven’t felt sick unlike last time. If that changes I’ll have to ditch the hot bag, I’m not sure I could deal with the sickly sweet smell.

Thankfully most of the side effects from my chemo hangover are easing although I’m still tired and breathless.

And yay – I still have hair. It wasn’t supposed to have fallen out by now anyway. Or perhaps that red hospital hat is working its frozen magic.

But there’s something else that’s worrying me. My immune system has been compromised by the chemo. Apparently right now it’s going into free fall and won’t start to recover until the end of the week.

It means that I’m easy prey to germs. If I get an infection it could lead to my chemo being postponed. If there was an Olympic medal for hand washing I’d win it.

The start of my chemo marathon has been bad but I’d feared it would be much worse. So until the next round I’m going to be really enjoying every minute that I feel well.

15 thoughts on “Chemo hangover

  1. I’m sorry the James Bond approach hasn’t quite worked – though I’m sure it’s going through and eradicating the cancer in true 007 fashion. And that oat bag is drop of heaven. Don’t you love the way it smells after the microwave?

    I hope you feel recovered very soon. Keep going!


    • Thanks Catherine. Yes I love the smell at the moment so warm and comforting but it’s so strong that I bet I’ll hate it in a few months!

  2. I don’t know if it’s the same with your chemo, or with you, but definitely the third week of each cycle I felt GREAT (in a comparative sense you understand). Hold on for that. Something to do with the white (or is it red) blood cells kicking ass.

    • Ohhh I can’t wait to feel great, hasn’t happened yet but hope it will soon. Yeah I’m not sure if its red or white, which ever ones it is I want them to kick ass soon!

  3. Stay strong Fawkesy. Let us know how we can support you? Up for trashy books yet?

    • Thanks Bex, trashy tv is enough for me right now! Can’t seem to concentrate enough to read. When I was in hospital I had my fill of trashy mags!

  4. You poor thing! It seems more than a bit mad to an ‘outsider’, fed on the standard media fare of ‘cancer breakthroughs’, that the mainstream therapy should still be something that hurts so much. And that, lined up against the pain, you have a warm bag of oats! Though they are really effective, those things, we love ours. Keep safe, you’ve got to be in the best place, after all you must be immune to any nasties in your parents’ house if you’ve grown up with them. And if your parents’ house is anything like my mum’s, any germs left alive under the barrage of Fairy Liquid and Vim are keeping their heads well down. You may not have felt like it for the last few days, but you’re winning – you’re back writing, telling it like it is. Much respect.

  5. I’m here in the USA, cheering you on. Fingers crossed that you manage to elude the nausea. Although my cancer is different than yours, I, too, am currently in the infection “danger zone”. I’ll be thinking good, healthy thoughts for both of us!

  6. Fawkes – the fighter! James Bond would be proud of you. Your wheat and oat bag sounds wonderfully comforting. I had a similar bean bag, just for keeping me warm when it is cold, and managed to burn it in the microwave! It’s good to hear you are in capable hands.

  7. As you have said 1 treatment down and you have kept your hair, so onwards and upwards ;0) Stay strong Helen, we are all thinking of you x x x x

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