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kikz's picture
Posts: 1347
Joined: Jun 2010

I went into chemo determined to have an easier go than three years ago.  I was proactively trying to drink enough fluids (ugh!) eat well and rest.  I was doing great.  Had chemo on May 7th and began to feel sick on Thursday.  I continued eating, I had an appetite and the smell of food didn't bother me.  I felt like eating certain things but at least I was eating. 

On Saturday I got up and began to fix my breakfast.  When I was almost done I began to have cold sweats, than felt faint and nauseous.  I laid down, slept about an hour then got up and heated my breakfast again.  I felt okay.

I took a shower later and brought my robe in because I knew I would feel tired.  I got out and towel dried my hair, wrapped up in the robe and laid down.  It took a lot out of me.  But I still felt good.  

I was having trouble with bowel movements.  Saturday evening I felt the urge and knew the stool was there but I had to push hard.  I felt faint many times and was scared I'd fall off the toilet.  I would go lay down but feel the urge again and this went on for several hours.  I am taking stool softeners, fiber and drinking fluids and it's not that the stool is hard, it comes out in balls, like meatballs (sorry) and seem very large.

The next day I began to notice that my heart was racing and I had no energy.  A few steps and I had to lay down.  I spent the afternoon laying on the couch while we had our Mother's Day company.  I did manage to cook some hamburger patties because that is what I wanted to eat.  My mom and son stayed with me although we were invited out to lunch by family.  I could have had someone cook the burgers but I am a stubborn old woman who wants to keep some control.

On Monday I called my onc's office and explained what was going on.  I got a call back in which I was instructed to go to the ER or go to the ct scan appt the onc had set up.  She was worried about an embolism.  I hate going to the ER, it brings back horrible memories.  I said I don't want to go to the ER.  The nurse said in her calm professional voice, "no one wants to go but if you have to."  She said it would be better to be there in case something happens.  I said okay I'll do what the doctor thinks best.

I went into the kitchen and cried to my mom, "I don't want to go to the ER, I hate it."  Bear in mind my mom cannot, absolutely cannot, deal with emotions so she said Karen don't start that.  I am 65 but she is my mom!

Anyway before I write a novel, they quickly determined I was in atrial fibrillation.  This happened to me on 3/16/2010, the day of my diagnosis but my heart converted while I was at the ER.  This time no matter what they tried it wouldn't convert.  In time the doctor brought up the shock treatment.  He was concerned however with not being able to pinpoint exactly when this started.  We kind of figured it was Saturday but he said if the shock is done 48 hours after it begins, there's danger of a blood clot causing big problems.  I asked if there was something else and he said I could go on coumadin for two weeks and then have the shock.  I said ugh!  Anything else?  So they put me on an aspirin a day and Metoprolol which is a blood pressure medication.  My blood pressure is always good but this will lower my heart rate which was 140 when I got to the ER.  I said okay and he said my heart could still convert on it's own. 

I saw my primary yesterday who said when she saw I had been in the ER was going to call me but saw I was already scheduled.  I thought that was very sweet.  Anyway she is setting me up for an ultrasound and said I am not a candidate for coumadin because of the chemo.  Between a rock and a hard place, where I usually live my life.  I will also see a cardiologist. 

Doctor said to monitor my pulse and blood pressure.  My blood pressure is usually around 117/70  so I have to be careful it doesn't go too low.  So after a day in the ER and another doctor's visit I am still fatigued and unable to do more than take a few steps.  The miserable irony is that otherwise I feel great.  Doesn't even feel like I had chemo.  You can't win!

A funny thing happened while I was waiting to see my doctor yesterday.  I looked toward the corrider and saw a women standing there.  I muttered to my friend that it looked like my onc.  She works in the facility 30 miles away.  I kept looking and had convinced myself it wasn't her when I noticed she was looking at me.  She answered the puzzled look on my face by saying, yes, it's me.  She came and talked to me until I was called in and then was watching me walk.  I looked at her and she said I'm just watching to see how you are walking.  I told her I have not felt dizzy at all.  I told the nurse who was taking my vitals, that is the cheapest doctor's visit I ever had.

Sorry for being so lengthy but just wanted to fill you in on the current journey.  As usual we have little control but I am still grateful to feel as good as I do and for having a place where  I can express everything I need to.

Thank you.


scatsm's picture
Posts: 296
Joined: Apr 2013


I don't really know anything about A Fib but I am wondering if this is a condition resulting from chemo, or exacerbated by the chemo? Is there anything that can be done to avoid it in the future?

My heart goes out to you and I hope things get easier. You remind us all in a visceral way of how really hard chemo is.

All the best,



lovesanimals's picture
Posts: 1364
Joined: Sep 2011

I'm so sorry for what you are going through.  I wish I could give you a big hug and stay by your side.  Take one step at a time and one day at a time and know that you can get through this!  Sending lots of prayers your way that tomorrow is a better day for you.

Big hugs,


JoWin615's picture
Posts: 148
Joined: Feb 2011

I sincerely hope that will be your last visit, but it does sound like it was necessary. Thanks for sharing. I can totally relate to the bowel problems (!). You've described mine exactly. 

I wish you strength for the days to come. 

Cheers, Jo

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