CSN Login
Members Online: 13

Week 1 - Chemo and Radiation inflict a double whammy

Chris3
Posts: 53
Joined: Mar 2010

Made it through Week 1. Radiation on Monday – Friday. Then the Mitomycin Chemo on Day 1 and the 5FU Chemo drip through the week.

I really struggled with bathing/showering. Ended up washing my hair at the kitchen sink, and then just took a bath for the body portion of the equation. I just couldn’t figure out how to do a shower – how to cover the port with food wrap and how to set the pump outside the shower. I was just beyond my grasp of how to do it…

I didn’t have a problem sleeping with the pump. I was so, SO tired I could have slept standing up! So, I just kept the fanny pack strapped on and either slept on my back, or gently curled on my side.

I was absolutely not prepared for how tired I was! That really caught me off guard. On Monday I felt pretty good – I guess that was just a tease due to the steroids they gave me. On Tuesday, felt fairly good most of the day, then started to fade in the late afternoon and early evening.

By the time Wednesday rolled around I felt completely and totally drained. I was at work, but felt like I could just drop to the ground and pass out at any moment! And, I couldn’t think… I was totally unproductive as an employee. It was really unsettling and depressing – I was very weepy. I thought there would be more days that I felt ok, so I felt very deficient and lacking in my moral and physical strength. It made me very sad. The Onc Nurse calls it Chemo Brain.

I went to work on Thursday morning, but left early afternoon due to excessive fatigue. Went to my mom’s for a cat nap before my doctor’s appt and rad treatment. Then, came home and slept some more. Just got up to eat something, and then went back to bed. It was amazing how many hours I slept.

Today is Friday, and I’m looking forward to getting rid of the Chemo Pump. I am hoping that will help restore some of my energy. And, maybe some of my brain cells.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2939
Joined: Jan 2010

Hooray for you for getting through week 1! It sounds like the fatigue hit you about the same time it hit me, mid-week. I thought I was doing great up until then, when I seemed to just hit the wall. When I had to wear the pump, the only way I could clean up was taking a sink bath, which I found totally disgusting, but it was that or nothing. I washed my hair in the laundry room sink, which worked out okay. Once the pump is off, however, try showering again using a long piece of "Press & Seal" wrap. Start with one end of it covering the port well, then taking it up over your shoulder. Tape down the edges with some waterproof tape and you're ready to shower. Of couse, once the incision from your port is healed enough, you won't even have to do this. As for when round 2 came along and wearing the pump, a bath was the easiest. I just laid the bag on a little stool outside the tub and had enough tubing to easily take a bath.

I hope that your employer will be understanding and realize that during this time you may not feel up to working full days or working at all. This treatment can take a toll and the most important thing is getting through it! I wish you all the best and I hope you will keep us posted. Have a restful weekend--nap, nap, nap!

z's picture
z
Posts: 1257
Joined: May 2009

Hi Chris,

I too was very tired after a couple of days on the pump. I was fortunate that I was able to take off work for 2 months. I would take a bath every day with the pump hanging over the side. I know after the pump came off I just felt so free and had a much better outlook on things. I hope this will have the same effect on you. I hope you will not be as tired, soon. The radiation made me tired also. Just remember it won't be long until this tx is over, and you will start to recover quickly. This tx will cure you. I wish you well. Lori

sandra malone
Posts: 31
Joined: Apr 2010

I went through all you did plus some . no steriods thogh. nerve and pain medicine yes. I am currently in remmission. I have no idea how "remmisssion" really works or how long it will last. I have experience,strength and hope to share. I give freely. If my trials help even one person my spiritual srength will be renewed and I can carry this hope on to others.PLEASE REPLY IF i can be there for you. This is an oopen invitation.email=mommakes3@yahoo.com or phone 7709053773

lizdeli's picture
lizdeli
Posts: 521
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi Chris,
As others have said, I was also so tired I couldn't believe it. But I was on leave from work so I was able to rest when I needed to. Is there anyway for you to take a short term leave from work? I know not everyone can, but if there is a way, you might want to consider it. The advice I give people is rest when you need to, don't fight it. Your body is going through ALOT. I don't want to come across negative, but the treatment gets harder. The good news is that once it's over, you should heal rather quickly. It's the journey that is the challenge. Also, if you are on chemo you need to be very careful about avoiding infections, another reason to consider a short term leave from work if at all possible.

I used to get so excited on Fridays when my pump came off. Felt so free. The moment to keep in mind is when it comes off for the last time! What a feeling! You will be there before you know it.

Wishing you well,
Liz

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network