WHEW. I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve posted!! I had a run-in with some side effects, and man they knocked me down. HARD. I’m just now coming back to life.
I had my second infusion of the Ipi/Nivo combination May 6th, and everything had been smooth sailing. Then I began having mouth sores. Very uncomfortable to eat when your mouth is raw. You find out very quickly what foods are acidic due to the burns they inflict (apparently strawberries are more acidic than I previously thought, for example). This was uncomfortable, but totally do-able. Then came some diarrhea, which was (mostly) controlled with Immodium. Again, not fun, but I could work around it.
But then the whammy…nausea. UGH the nausea! It was like what people describe with seasickness, just minus the dizziness. A constant uneasy, stomach churning feeling, and I must have been vomiting or dry heaving 5 times a day. I didn’t want to eat, I couldn’t eat, and everything I ate left my system extremely quickly from all exits. I lost about 7 pounds in a week and a half. I wouldn’t suggest this as a diet, though, unless you want to severely punish yourself. But I trudged onwards.
The final straw was my blood work. My liver enzymes came back as 7x the normal limit. Oops! So FINALLY they decided to delay my 3rd treatment and put me on steroids. 2 weeks of torture, but I made it! And I’m now feeling like a whole new woman. I’m full of energy, hungry for the first time in weeks, and ready to take on the world! This could be the ‘roids talking, but hey, I feel great!!
It’s so hard to be so incredibly sick for an extended timeframe…you feel like you’ll never be healthy again. Your energy drains and your whole body is racked, so tired that your SOUL is tired. So tired you’re not sure how much more you can mentally and physically take, to the point where you contimplate “am I OK with taking a nap and not waking up?” Enduring so much physical hardship is incredibly difficult, and I have a new respect for my body and what it can handle. Cancer is no joke, but the treatments available are even more brutal. If one doesn’t get ya, the other one will.
So everyone out there – show your cancer buddies some love. You don’t have to understand all of the side effects to understand that your significant other/family member/friend is going through some physically tough times. Bring them soup. Offer to mow their lawn or take care of their pets. Take over funny movies to watch together. Just helping in the tiniest little ways makes a huge difference in their healing process, and that’s what we all want. We just want to heal.