“Chemotherapy is brutal. The goal is pretty much to kill everything in your body without killing you.” – Rashida Jones
There are times that Tucker will say the cruelest things. My sweet little boy in a matter of a split second turns into a tirade that just can’t understand why you didn’t notice he needed his pillow moved. He is frustrated that you asked if he needed anything. Then frustrated that you didn’t ask. Then in the heat of it all he will look across the room….”Mom, can I have a hug?” he says with his arms extended. Both chemotherapy and steroids wreak havoc on his moods and mine.
Especially in the beginning of treatment when his body was being so ravaged by the life saving yet toxic chemicals. But he wouldn’t remember his Jeckle and Hyde moments. Another common side effect of chemotherapy…memory loss and confusion.
There is a whole host of side effects that chemotherapy can cause. With so much going on it is a wonder it can put you in a bad mood. Some of the side effects that Tucker has experienced are: Abdominal Pain, Acid Indigestion, Acid Reflux, Allergic Reactions, Anemia (Low Red Blood Cells), Alopecia (Hair Loss), Anxiety, Appetite (Lack Of), Arthralgias (Joint Pain), Asthenia (Weakness), Ataxia (In-coordination), Balance & Mobility Changes, Bone Pain, Blood Clots, Blood Pressure Changes, Bruising, Central Neurotoxicity (Confusion & Cognitive Problems), Chest Pain, Chills, Constipation, Cough, Cramping, Dehydration, Depression, Diarrhea, Dizziness, Dry Skin, Edema (Body Swelling), Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) Changes, Electrolyte Imbalance, Fatigue, Fertility (Loss Of), Fever, Flatulence, Headache, Hearing Problems, High Liver Enzymes, Hypercalcemia (High Calcium), Hyperglycemia (High Blood Sugar), Hyperpigmentation, Hypersensitivity Skin Reactions, Hyperuricemia (High Uric Acid), Hypokalemia (Low Potassium), Hypomagnesemia (Low Magnesium), Hypophosphatemia (Low Phosphous), Infection, Kidney Problems, Liver Dysfunction, Leukopenia (Low White Blood Cells), Memory Loss, Metallic Taste, Mucositis (Mouth Sores), Myalgias (Muscle Pain), Myelosuppression (Low Blood Cell Production), Nail Changes, Nausea, Nervousness, Neutropenia (Low Neutrophil), Nosebleeds, Pain, Palmar-Plantar Erythrodysesthesia (PPE) (Sunburn Looking Skin Due to small amounts of drug leak out of capillaries in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.), Photosensitivity (Sensitivity to Sunlight/UV), Rash, Rapid Heart Beat, Restlessness, Sadness, Seizures, Shortness of Breath, Sleep Problem, Thrombocytopenia (Low Platelet Blood Cells), Vomiting, Water Retention, Weight Changes……..Whew.
To learn more about side effect I suggest the Chemo Care Website.
Some of the side effects are temporary and subside as the therapy changes or is discontinued. Some unfortunately will have long term affects on Tucker’s body and health. Although the cure seems to cause so many problems, we are thankful for modern medicine and it’s ability to put cancer into remission. In the last 4 decades survival rates of leukemia have nearly quadrupled. So I guess you have to take the good with the bad, see the silver lining and try to be as positive as you can. After all it could be worse.