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I’ll Think About It Tomorrow

The frailty of this life becomes glaringly apparent after facing cancer. While the glorious word remission is a goal, the battle waged through treatments ravages the body. The body may never be the same, nor the soul. Some survivors will have long-lasting side effects, some will face cancer again, and all will forever fear the return of the disease.

Dealing with side effects after treatment

Even curative cancers have toxic treatments. I hope that my side effects minimize or disappear over time. I pray every day for my health and the gift of my life. I want to be here to see my boys grow into men. I don’t want to face cancer again for I fear I may not win another round. The risks of treatment are more likely to show themselves in twenty-five years, but as Scarlett would say, “I won’t think about it now, I’ll think about it tomorrow, when I can stand it!”

In the meantime, I am living with the side effects. They are nothing compared to cancer, so I dare not complain. Still, I hope to share my struggles with others who may face the same challenges.

Changes in hair texture

I am happy that my hair is growing back. It is a different color, different texture, and highlighted with greys, but I am enjoying the ease of short hair, especially in the summer heat. Some say theirs eventually went back to how it was before cancer, but honestly, I am just so glad that it is not falling out I don’t care. I always had long hair. Once in high school, I defiantly cut off a long braid and went with a bob. I thought it looked very mature. I grew it out and have kept it at least shoulder length since. I would have never been brave enough to go so short, but the pixie is the new me.

Early menopause

I am learning to deal with what may be early menopause, a common side effect from chemotherapy. Not to get too personal, but many women experience hormonal changes during and after chemo. There are hot flashes, mood swings, and other fun things to go with it.

Neuropathy in my hands

The most frustrating side effect is neuropathy in my hands. It is exhausting me. I wake in the night often, and I can’t feel my fingers. They are numb and tingly like they fell asleep. Sometimes in the morning, I still can’t bend them, or they ache. My joints are so swollen; I can’t wear most of my rings. During treatment, I took Claritin to stave off joint pain, which was a surprising remedy.

“Bleo-stripes”

The “bleo-stripes” on my leg is probably the weirdest side effect. I didn’t know what it was until I listened to a vlog by a fellow Blood-Cancer.com contributor who described them. I kept looking at my leg and thinking it was odd that I kept seeing these marks there like I had rubbed against something or left an impression. Now it makes sense. Bleomycin is a pretty toxic cocktail that kicks cancer’s butt but does lots of other awful things too. Not sure if they’ll go away, but all of these things are a small price to pay for wellness.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Blood-Cancer.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Ann Harper moderator
    3 months ago

    @amber-lynch Your post is totally how I feel! I am hoping to hear the word remission one day, but until then, I’ll worry about it tomorrow – if I have time! Any side effects that I have are just part of the path I have to take to get to the remission I’m hoping for. I take one day at a time and try to enjoy it the best I can. Love your post! Good luck to you.

  • Deb Wesloh moderator
    3 months ago

    Thanks for sharing your story. Cancer treatments definitely do a number on you both physically and mentally. Although I do have a blood cancer, polycythemia vera, my chemo experience was for breast cancer. Although I appreciate that the chemo did what it was supposed to do, I will never be the same as I was before. I could relate to your hair story too. I had long hair before chemo. It did grow back and almost the same things happened to me. And…I will always be worried for a reoccurrence as you are and as most people I have met that have had cancer, regardless of the form. Best wishes to you!

  • Daniel Malito moderator
    3 months ago

    @amber-lynch This is fantastic info for anyone who is just starting on their cancer journey. I wish I had this kind of info when I began. An invaluable service to the community, this is. Keep on keepin’ on, DPM

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