Paula updates the EmpowHer community on her experience with ovarian cancer chemotherapy.
Since the last time I got to share my story with EmpowHer, a lot has happened. I was going through a course of chemo at the time, and I have just had a feeling that something was not right because my CA 125 kept going up while I was on that chemo.
Chemotherapy–what can I say? It makes you really sick. You have to keep in the back of your mind that this is going to work, and you are going to be cancer-free for however long, we don’t know. I mean, I relapsed really quickly this time, but the effects of chemo are–you can lose your hair, which I have done now twice, which for a woman is, it kind of makes you feel not like a woman, you know. It’s hard, it really is.
It can make you nauseated; you can vomit from it; they do give you drugs now that supposedly takes the edge off it, but not totally. You get this bad taste in your mouth a lot. It’s just--you lose your appetite. These last two rounds of chemo I lost my 19 pounds. I have already put back five because I can eat now. But, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation–just a feeling of being unwell. When your red blood count drops, you’re are shaky. I feel sometimes that I couldn’t even walk a straight line if I tried. The energy level is just not there. It’s just all kinds of stuff.
Not everybody gets the same reactions. Sometimes you get sores in your mouth. With this last chemo, I have had thrush twice, which is a fungus infection in your mouth, which just leaves you with a very bad taste in your mouth, and you have to take this medication that is just super sweet and cloying. It just, after a while it’s like, I don’t want to do this anymore.
But, you have to keep in mind that this is going to keep you here, and it’s hard going through it. It really is. It’s not something that I would say is pleasant because it’s certainly not, but, and I see ladies that are in worse condition than I am, and who am I to complain, you know? I do what I have to do, and they tell me I need blood so I go and have the blood transfusion. They tell me my white count is low, so I have to stay away from crowds, or my grandchildren–you know.
You try to do what you are told to do, and then you hope that this is going to work for you, and there’s no guarantees. The hardest point of all, the hardest point I think of all this is that, when you are finished with your therapy, you have to wait a month to have a scan done or you are waiting to get your next test, your next CA 125, and the anxiety until you get these results is really just tremendous because you are hoping against everything that this is going to work and that you are finished for now with the chemo and you can live your life.
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