Patient Comments: Chemotherapy - Coping With Side Effects

What chemotherapy side effects have you experienced? How do you cope with the side effects?

Comment from: Beverly, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 17

I have lung cancer and so does my fiance. We have both been having chemotherapy and he also had radiation twice a day for 15 days. The radiation burnt his esophagus all the way to his stomach. He suffered for weeks from the painful bleeding ulcerations. Then he got blood clots followed by fluid around his heart which had to be removed by surgically by putting in a tube so it would drain. We both get cold sweats that immediately turn to hot spells, as if our internal thermostat is out of whack. Water tastes like dirt and food has lost all flavors. I'm nauseated most of the time and nothing that I have been given for it works. Sleep is my only salvation. The chemo has messed with my nervous system and parts of my body feel numb and other parts burn for no reason. I have 2 or 3 more scheduled chemo treatments, but I've been told that my lung cancer is treatable, but not curable and I honestly don't know if I can spend the rest of my life feeling so miserable. Chemotherapy is like having the flu for 90 percent of your waking hours. It is like the worst flu imaginable. My brother sent me an article stating, "The word chemotherapy is linked to healing although its origins derive from the deadly mustard gas used in World War I. Today it is used as a powerful tool as part of cancer treatment". It's no wonder we get so sick. It's a poison. But the choice is ours. Living a life of being sick 75 to 90 percent of the time, or not living at all. I've spent a lot of time pondering about which alternative I want to take.

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Comment from: fagresham, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 13

I have been through some of the roughest chemo you can go through and have had every side-effect and some that my doctor has said makes me a text book case. I was diagnosed with very advanced breast cancer and have been fighting something (side effects, etc, ever since.) I now have been diagnosed with metastasis bone cancer that traveled from the breast to the bone (after being in remissions for almost 3 years). The side effects have been terrible and I would not go through chemo again I am sorry, if this hurts anyone and keeps them from chemo, so be it. The reports that we get are for a few that have come through with very little effect. Why don't they tell of those of us who are still and will forever be having side-effects that are terrible? Someone tell the true story of chemo/radiation and maybe someday there will be more technicians to help us from these side effects that are so devastating. The Trilogy and Cyberknife are the newest techniques to hit the hospitals, but not all insurance will pay for them. Blame the insurance companies, although, my diagnoses was missed by 3 different doctors. How can this be? The info passed from doctor to doctor gets lost somewhere or is never passed. My primary care physician should have consulted with my Oncologist about the pain I was having and never did. Why? If anyone can answer that question, be sure and get back to me. I was having and never did. Why? If anyone can answer that question, be sure and get back to me. thanks, F.Gresham

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Comment from: Pebbles, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 25

During chemotherapy there were a couple of side effects I experienced. One was the fact my taste buds were out of whack. Everything had a metal taste, and there were few foods that tasted good. My comfort foods were mashed potatoes and blue Gatorade. The other side effect was the nausea. Although I had Zofran to combat the nausea, there were a few times when it just was not enough. Even though things did not taste right, I still ate to keep my hemoglobin levels up. Water tasted terrible, but I tried to drink what I could and get fluids in other forms, coffee, soda, popscicles, etc.

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Comment from: Joe, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: July 17

Have stage 3 colon cancer. Started zeloda, a pill chemo 2000 mg morning and evening. Each cycle is 3 weeks, two on and one off. I stopped toward the end of two weeks (12.5 days) first cycle. Had pain in both heals of feet, beginning diarrhea and some stomach issues. Will see dr to perhaps reduce dosage.

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Comment from: Bunny, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 02

I had stage 1 breast cancer of left breast. Had lumpectomy and radiation. Did fine with that. Then had mammogram found cancer in right breast. Doctors suggested double masectomy at that time had that done and reconstruction. Recovered from that-was glad that was over then had lump on neck. Turned out I had bone and liver cancer (stage 4). Started chemo and I am getting ready to start cycle 6. So far chemo is helping. Doctors are hoping to give me more years of life-I will be grateful for whatever time I get. Keep a positive attitude and try not to stress (easier said than done)!

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Chemotherapy - Experiences Question: What was your experience with chemotherapy?
Cancer - Patient Experience Question: How was your chemotherapy administered? Were there any complications that resulted from the delivery method?

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