In the interest of full disclosure, I thought I would talk about some of the side effects to Chemo. None of these are life threatening or anything you wouldn’t be able to cope with unless it went on and on, never the less they are enough to make your life a bit miserable while they invade your normally healthy life. I have talked to other patients receiving treatment and they say the same thing. No one tells you about this stuff, and no one talks about it because it is embarrassing. You get a quick run down of side effects as a list when you begin this journey so I thought I would share some of my experience. Right, first week after Docetaxel, feeling weird from all the Dexamethasone you take to stop side effects, then you can be plagued with Diarrhoea which because the Chemo attacks the skin in every area of your body, resulting in an upset Digestive tract, causing inflammation and as your blood count drops over the first seven days, you can end up with bad mouth ulcers and thrush in your mouth which goes right through you, even though you diligently brush your teeth and gargle with special mouth wash. The side line of this is that you can’t taste your food, which could be seen as a bonus as it is good for your figure. If you happen to be unfortunate and have haemorrhoids this unrelenting Diarrhoea can have grown men crying. This week also can have some days of quite bad bone pain, although mine was hardly anything this last round as I had a Philgrastim injection to stimulate my white blood cell production, so things didn’t get as gruesome. The next week things improve a little as your blood count starts to pick back up, and you start to taste things again, although you are generally too tired to make any food, which could still be seen as a bonus and good for the figure. Third week arrives and you start to have a bit more energy, but I always get watery eyes, so even though I head out with my makeup on, all my eye liner and shadow is usually gone in half an hour. This isn’t as much of a problem for the guys. Docetaxel also causes tingling and numbness in the ends of your fingers and toes, as well as this the skin peels off your hands and feet, and a few of my nails are lifting up. Some people have their nails come right off. During all this discomfort you can’t lose sight of the bigger picture, while this Chemo is attacking all these good fast multiplying cells, if there is even one or two undetected Cancer cells floating around my body, they will be getting thumped as well, and the good thing is nails, and hair etc all grow back, but Cancer cells can’t regenerate themselves, so they are gone for good and that is the whole objective of this unpleasant but necessary exercise.
Anyway, this week I feel quite well so went shopping at Booragoon with Hayley today and got a few birthday presents. We live on quite a tight budget, which I manage to stay on track with generally in most areas. I produce very frugal budget meals, and pay all our utilities fortnightly which means we are often in credit when things like the power bill arrive, but, when it comes to presents, my budget always blows out. With Easter, Christmas and birthdays for four adult children and their partners, (I don’t buy easter eggs for adults) thirteen grandchildren and one great-grandchild I find it hard to pull this area in. I love buying them presents and find it hard to stop. Unless I start making them all cookies I don’t see it changing. Unfortunately, we do live in a very materialistic society. I remember reading books like those written by Laura Ingalls, where she tells of a time where her older sister had a doll, but Laura had to be happy with a corn cob doll until the day that she final got a real doll of her own. Children would be thrilled to have an orange to eat all to them self tucked into their Christmas stocking. I can only imagine what a modern-day child would tell Father Christmas to do with his orange if they found one underneath the Christmas Tree instead of the X Box or Wii they were expecting. There must be a compromise. I am taking a while to change what I expect of myself now we are on a lower-income as a mostly retired couple, compared to what we used to do when we were high flyers years ago and bought our teenage boys $200 sneakers and designer T Shirts. Mind you we got a bit fed up with that and started giving them a clothing allowance to manage as they saw fit. This brought about instant changes to their label choices, suddenly Mambo T Shirts were off the list and they were buying five dollar specials. Another thing I started doing around the same time was giving each child an allowance at things like the local Show Grounds so they had to pick carefully whether they would blow it on rides or show bags, instead of treating Mum like an ATM. It is much easier to keep a reign on things with just two of us in the house, who are not fussy eaters or needing money for School excursions, I just need to buckle down on gifts.
Fun in Paris
A couple of years back we tightened our belts while we saved up to go on a World Trip. Take away coffees were a thing of the past and take away food was not in the equation, if we headed off anywhere we would always bring something to eat with us. Stopping spending doesn’t happen overnight, it requires a complete change of mindset, consequently, when we were on our overseas trip I found tipping a pain. I kept thinking, I went without takeaway coffees to save up for this trip, and now I am giving at least $5 dollars away over and over to anyone who does anything vaguely helpful. We Aussies are notoriously bad tippers, in spite of this I did find It was easy to do sometimes when the service was really good, but, it was hard to come to terms with when it wasn’t.
Off for my final Chemo round on Friday, Hooray!!
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