A woman surrounded by side effects, nausea, pain, hair loss

Prepping For Side Effects

One of the biggest hurdles I've had to face when told I had multiple myeloma was strong consideration of the side effects, and what they would be.

First off, I didn’t want to go through chemo, so when my second opinion reference stated we would wait it out (which seems to be a normal process in multiple myeloma), I was quite okay with waiting to start any grueling process.

My stretch of 5 years was a good run until it was, yet again, time to revisit that fear of drugs that could and would potentially save my life.

Extra tail

My experience with chemo was what I saw my grandmother deal with in her breast cancer care, no one in my immediate bubble had cancer, so when she was diagnosed it was a new world.

I remember her weak and in pain, so that was my first experience with chemo as an outsider. Now, you’re telling me I have to take it?! There was a whole lot of thinking and rethinking, as my anxiety like so many was on 100.

I was more afraid of the process more so than what it was expected to do for the overall picture. The biggest fear and hesitancy is when the doctor or nurse comes to your room with a paper listing the most known side effects, and then the nerve to ask for you to sign it and that they’ve explained everything to you.

Let me tell you there was a whole lot of praying and hoping I didn’t grow a tail, or a third eye or something, and though I joke about it now, this was a stress-filled time.

Light stuff

The gamut of the side effects goes between two spectrums, and that would be light vs the harsh stuff. The usual expectations vary so when the form lists headaches and nausea, that seemed doable.

The problem I find is we become complacent with the experience, why do we have to experience any side effects at all. I know that question is for easy thinkers, but a headache for me could be the earth is shattering in migraines for someone else.

I did the happy dance when I’d get through treatment with no visible signs of issues, or it was bearable. Again, my earlier visual experience as a bystander was nausea, but that wasn’t really the case so much for me. There were only two instances that heaving was on the trail, and those were resolved by re-adjusting how the chemo was administered.

Harsh stuff

Well, sometimes those items listed on the severity of side effects, are on point.

I can’t recall the drug that changed my visual sensitivity. I would have to walk close to the wall when approaching my office at work. The lights seemed ultra-bright as if the sun found its way into the monochrome office building. I found myself visiting my optometrist to ensure everything would be okay.

Another doozy would be the leg spasms. I would be minding my business and be struck with the most insane jolts of stress if that makes any sense. I wouldn’t necessarily call it pain but it would be enough to have me hold my heart and hope not to go on with this feeling for longer than I needed to.

Though my experiences may be light as I know they are, I’ve spoken to people who’ve gone through the worst of the worst. My true fear despite it all was death because some of those side effects listed clearly list that option too. I do get the hesitancy because you just don’t know until you know, however, as time is the essence you may have to dip a bit and pray for the best.

The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile….when you feel like it

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