What is the first thought that comes to mind when you hear the word? For me, it was cancer. I think of woman especially with no hair, looking thin and gaunt – did I mention the no hair bit?
What I have learned over the past few weeks is that chemo is used to treat a variety of illnesses, not just cancer. I have Ankylosing spondylitis - a delightful chronic inflammatory rheumatic disease-causing inflammation of the joints, followed by the bones fusing together over time. The illness is not curable, but managed. Sounds dead sexy hey?
The medication I am on, is prescribed to treats breast, skin and lung cancers , lupus, arthritis, the inflammation of blood vessels as well as being a disease-modifying drug. It can take 8 weeks to 12 weeks or even 6 months of treatment for full benefit to be realized. I’m on week 10.
You may or may not vomit, you may or may not lose your hair, you may or may not get ulcers in your mouth, you may or may not get flu like symptoms constantly, you may or may see a change in your weight, you may or may not feel exhausted beyond belief, you may or may not a million things it seems… and so the list of side effects continue.
The medication can cause serious or life-threatening side effects on your liver, lungs, kidneys, and bone marrow (immune system) and therefore, regular organ testing, especially kidney and liver tests are very important. Becoming pregnant is a complete HUGE NO, so lucky Noid had the vasectomy as I am not giving up sex as well!!! - especially not now that I am not allowed any alcohol whatsoever, not even a Strawberry Daiquiri!
On a huge positive, my blood tests have shown no damage to my organs, I do have less pain but still have specific areas that hurt more than others (like my right hand, my left hip etc) – it is getting better and more manageable however, so I do feel the medication is doing its thing…… although it is a VERY slow process as the doctor warned me it would be.
I still have hair and I hope I have done enough good in my life that the universe at large will conspire to let me keep it… besides the hair and the smile… what would Wenchy be?
PS. Kinda pisses me off that I am not gaunt looking and thin. Dammit. Just thin then.