Patient Comments: Chemotherapy - Coping With Side Effects

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

Comment from: Scott, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: July 29

I'm on my 10th chemotherapy tomorrow, I have bowel and secondary liver cancer at stage 4. I have a wife and two small boys under 10 years of age, it's been a living nightmare, a real rollercoaster. After chemotherapy I'm always spaced out. I have memory loss, clumsiness, tiredness and I don't want to socialize, just want to be with family, so I just relax at home after chemotherapy. I am too tired to do much. I just have to keep going. It's not been nice though, I had an acne like rash over my face and neck for three weeks. Now it's on my chest and back; a side effect. My fingers have open sores which hurt, another side effect. And I have itchy skin.

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Comment from: Ziggy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 19

I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last September and I had 6 rounds of chemotherapy. I had an allergic reaction to the taxol on the 2nd round, I actually thought I was going to die then. Next round it happened again so they stopped it and just gave me the carboplatin. I would say I had all the side effects. I was told they wouldn't be so bad with just the carboplatin. Well, I'd hate to imagine what it would have been like if I was having both. My last chemotherapy was on the 12th February. I was starting to get back on my feet. Last week I started getting terrible pain in my arms and legs; I really did not expect this. Oh, says the oncologist, it's a side effect of your chemotherapy. I feel I'm now back to square one, I can't really go out unless there is someone with me. It seemed to her as if I'd cut my finger. This is my life that's gone back to being awful. I wouldn't have chemotherapy again, it keeps you alive. In my case it won't cure me I'm happy to let nature take its course.

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Comment from: Darien2620, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 21

I turned 73 on June 16th this year. I had some shoulder pain which started a whole range of tests and I was finally diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Before I started any treatments a lump in the groin area in the crease of my leg popped up; skin cancer. I took 10 radiation treatments in both my shoulder and leg. My 1st chemotherapy was 2 weeks ago and my only side effect was the bones in my feet and legs felt like they were crushed and left me barely able to walk for 2 days before easing up. I get tired easier but a nice nap takes care of that. Second chemotherapy was the day before Thanksgiving. Water is the only thing that didn't taste right to me. I am going to get 10 more radiation treatments on the leg/groin area as it's not doing as well. The bend in the leg keeps it sore and it is hard to get up and down. I should be better soon.

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Comment from: kd, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 07

I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2/09. Opted for a double mastectomy 3/09. Found cancer in one lymph node and the "good" breast was full of "pre-cancer". Surgeon said I made the right decision to have the double. Started chemo 4/09. Very tired, body aches, loss of hair "adramyacin". Second round - taxol- very sick and went to hospital for 8 days. Red, white cells and potassium very low. Two blood transfusions. Lost eyelashes and eyebrows. Stopped the taxol (I wanted to quit chemo altogether). Tried a new chemo, "abraxcin". Six treatments once a week and started getting sick again. Stopped chemo. Hair starting to grow again. Will be starting "Cytoxn" four treatment over eight weeks. Hope I can tolerate it. Would do it again to insure that any cancer cells will be killed off by the chemo (if it doesn't kill me first!!) It will soon be over and I dream of having energy again.

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Comment from: Carole44, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 29

I was diagnosed with HER-2 breast cancer and received Taxotere (then Abraxane when I had a reaction to the Taxotere). I also had carboplatin and Herceptin. I had six rounds of chemo and a year of Herceptin. I had many side effects from the chemo, including loss of hair, mouth sores, loss of taste, loose teeth, blurry vision, and peripheral neuropathy in my feet. I finished chemo six months ago and feel fine except for a little bit of blurry vision and continued peripheral neuropathy in my feet. Chemo was rough, but it was a small price to pay for my health. I am blessed to be cancer-free today!

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