As far as I can tell this category has not been visited for some time. IN light of that I thought I would start another thread at risk of bad form for this site:
I am a 49 ish male who found myself here looking to understand some things going on with myself. As any story needs, a beggining:
At the age 18 I had an acute illness in which eluded diagnosis. At the time it was recognized as a fast moving metatastic process that was in my lymph nodes and lungs. My Onocoligist reached for the Cytoxan/Andriamycin cocktail. I recieved 1000mg of Cytoxan and 150mg of Andriamycin via IV on the 3-week roller coaster. 150mg of Cytoxan orally daily with the standard Prednisone. This went on for 8 eight sessions with the oral meds for another 18 months.
I survived this course of treatment and went on with my life with no re-occurence of the disease since. My doctor defined my cancer as "poorly undifferentiated" with no primary ever determined. (A side note: the only side efffect my Doctor did mention was that I would be Sterile. This was proven to be for a time but happily this did change and now I have 4 children.)
Since I have experienced cognitive and physical difficulties witch I now believe to be late effects of the chemotherapy. My experience as follows:
Chemo brain: Memory, or rather recall, was negetivly impacted the most. It is like I have a blind spot regarding information retrieval. The best analogy I can give is that it is like I know the name or piece of information is there but it is behind a door that I cannot open. Very frusterating and it seems to be getting worse with age.
Heart/Lung/muscles: I have always been physically active and enjoyed playing many activities such as ice hockey, something I only recently had to give up. Despite this I always felt that my strength and stamina were limited somehow. Earlier on I felt that I was just out of shape but that changed over time. Heart racing and irregularities, Muscle cramping (generally in my calves and arch of my feet), broken sleep and the feeling that I reached the maximum of my cardio vasculer ability were frequent. These became more frequent over time until on day when it grabbed me by the throat. I found my pulse racing about 240 beats per minute. This went on for about 45 minutes before it backed down. Subsequent exam by a Cardiologist confirmed Supra-ventriculer-tachycardia along with some complimentary Pre-atrial and pre-ventriculer contractions, with the PAC's being predominant. These episodes continued over time effecting sleep and making life miserable. After two years i opted for an exam where they go into your heart with a probe trying to get your heart to race with the idea of identifying/cutting a nerve to stop the short circuit. This worked for me in regards to greatly reducing the heart racing but did nothing to reduce the PAC's, which can be very bothersome, and limiting at times. One thing that did come out of this procedure was that I learned my lungs are 87% of what they should be, which explains alot. (I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia, subsequent lung capacity testing brought the reduced lung capacity to light.) I would recommend the heart procedure despite the risk (and radiation dose, which is significant) because the drugs available for heart arrythmias are harsh and may make the condition worse.
At this point I realize that these difficulities are not going away and I need to manage them. Through research this is what I am currently doing: (I am trying to avoid any drug therapy as long as I can) This is in addition to the usual proper diet and exercise. Exercise is great. I miss the competitive stuff but enjoy running, hiking, biking, and any activity where I control the tempo. If My heart acts up or I get too short of breath, I slow down! Simple.
I find the following dietary supplements have significantly improved my quailty of life, most notably my sleep is much better. Sleep may have been effected the most all these years, though I was not aware. I frequently would wake up with my heart racing at 90ish beats per minute and I would be somewhat short of breath:
-Quality grade fish oil (EPA/DHA). I take one that has CoQ10. This has many benifits. I would recommend reading up on them.
- L-Arginine: This is an amino-acid that fosters elasticity of your blood vessels. My heart episodes prior to taking this would roll through my body. In contrast now it is noticable but mild in comparison.
-I also take a multivitamin. This was added when the orginal form of fish oil I was taking had a "heart synergy" blend with these multi-vitamins. It has since been taken off the market.
IN conclusion, I am trying to understand what is going on and how I can best manage the late effects of chemo. I welcome any comments or sharing of information. Lastly, I hope that someone out there may benifit from my experiences. Mine seem quite mild in contrast to many of you out there.
Lastly, I apologize for any spelling mistakes, no spell check here.