Sunday, October 07, 2007

Side Effects of Chemo

Because chemotherapy drugs can affect healthy cells, one of their disadvantages is that you may experience chemotherapy side effects, some temporary and some longer term. Not every drug will cause every side effect. Your doctor can tell you what to expect from the drugs you're receiving.
Temporary side effects might include:
  • Hair loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Mouth sores (stomatitis)
  • Difficult or painful swallowing (esophagitis) * Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Bleeding
  • Susceptibility to infection
  • Infertility
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in the way food tastes
  • Cognitive impairment, sometimes referred to as "chemo brain"
  • Liver damage
  • Heart damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Lung damage
It has been 7 days now from the 1st Chemo treatment session and Judy my Fiancee has been having a rough time with some of the side effects. Lack of sleep and no appetite and the joint pain seem to be the hardest for her to deal with. I try to help her as much as I can but at times I can't help feeling I am not doing enough, I wish I could do the treatment for her. I keep telling myself the 1st one is done and only 3 more to go but is is not an easy thing to go thru. I hope and pray that she can be strong enough to go thru the whole treatment plan the Doctor has set up for her and in the end she will be cancer free.
This tuesday on the 9th she has an appointment with Friends Boutique at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston for a wig fitting. It is a really wonderful place to see for they have just about anything and everything that is needed for cancer paitents and going thru Chemo.
Please check it out I have set up a link at the top of this post just click on the Title Side Effects of Chemo. They help so many people and I want to thank them for all they have done for me and my family.
How long these temporary side effects last depends on what drug or combination of drugs you're taking and for how long. Most chemotherapy side effects will subside shortly after you stop your treatments. And most short-term side effects can be minimized with medication. For example, your doctor can give you medications to help relieve nausea or build up your blood counts. If side effects make you uncomfortable, tell your doctor. If you find that the side effects are more than you're willing to endure, you can change treatments.
Long-term or late chemotherapy side effects
As people with cancer live longer after treatment, doctors are discovering that some treatments cause long-lasting side effects or side effects that become apparent long after treatment ends. These long-term side effects are rare. Before you begin treatment, discuss with your doctor what long-term effects you might experience. Some chemotherapy drugs can cause:
  • Organ damage, including problems with your heart, lungs and kidneys
  • Nerve damage
  • Blood in your urine (hemorrhagic cystitis)
  • Another cancer, including Hodgkin's disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia and some tumors
Your doctor can tell you what signs and symptoms to watch for after treatment. Knowing what long-term side effects to watch for can help you stay healthy after treatment.
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