Chemo first came to me as a treatable and curable cancer that I didn’t have to worry much about. But after a few sessions of chemo, it blew me away, leaving me on the unthinkable side.
When I know that chemo was my only option out after hearing a diagnosis of stage IV Lymphoma, I am thankful for the way out and was looking on the bright side. I looked totally fine and was unaffected by my condition and was so ever-ready to go head on with chemo. I couldn’t even wait to do my 1st chemo as I wanted myself to get better quickly. Just hours after doing the 1st PET-CT scan, I went ahead with my 1st chemo with my doctor’s approval. The side effects of my 1st chemo lasted for a few days but thankfully they were not very severe. Some of the side effects I went through were: diarrhea, bloated stomach, vomit, loss of appetite, fatigue, headache and sore mouth & ulcers. Approximately 5 days after chemo, I was free from the side effects. And me being on the bright side, was very very thankful that my side effects didn’t last long and were all not severe.
2 weeks after my 1st chemo, was my 2nd chemo. I was excited for my 2nd chemo as that would marked 1 cycle down (out of 6 cycles in total). During chemo and after chemo, I was just pure tired and sleepy. The next day after chemo, I had a little of bloated stomach, and similar side effects I went through after the 1st chemo. In fact, these side effects were much better than after the 1st. They were less severe and did not last for long. However, after the 2nd chemo, hair loss became one of my side effects that I had to deal with. Seeing my hair coming down from my head, not in strands but a bunch of it.. was really upsetting. It was quite disgusting to wake up in a pool of hair on the pillow and a whole bunch of it coming out while bathing. Hair started to fall like autumn leaves and very soon later, I am not left with much hair. But it took me quite soon to realize that all these are just temporary and once I have finished my 6 cycles of chemo, my hair will all grow back again in a months’ time. Furthermore, there are always bandannas, caps and hats to cover up my head 🙂
Story goes on to my 3rd and then 4th chemo. Similar symptoms and same routine again. Except that on the day of my 4th chemo..
By the time I have finished my 3rd chemo, my mind started to get tired. I was getting TIRED of all these.. I had thoughts of giving up this whole 6 months process because it was tedious. I mean.. you can’t eat food as you like, you can’t go out as much as you like, you can’t meet your friends, you stopped all your activities, you stop schooling, you can’t try and cook your own food as much either.. I mean.. who can take the sudden change in lifestyle? Because of low immune system, low white blood count, everything seems risky all of sudden and you just have to avoid it. So when it reaches my 4th chemo, I was not in my right mindset and my emotions were everywhere (it may be due to menstruation that fell right on the same day as my 4th chemo), but most importantly, without the strong mindset I needed, and not having the right emotions, made my 4th chemo one of the most terrible one. On the day of my 4th chemo, I didn’t had much for breakfast, just 2 pieces of bread (whereas it is oats usually), and I had porridge for lunch and did not take in much (having porridge for a meal is very rare to hear from me). Soon after taking lunch during my 4th chemo, I vomited. This time round, my vomit was way more than before. It was a bag of vomit rather than just a few mouths. Upon reaching home, I vomited a lot again. The feeling was so uncomfortable, it really did make me feel like giving up. But thankfully, I was much better after a good night’s sleep. Talking to my mum helped me a lot too. Telling her about how I feel like giving up, and how I feel that chemo seems to be useless, actually made me feel much more comfortable again. Because she would spur me on and reminded me of her presence that she is walking through this whole process with me.
Having a positive mindset is definitely important. Even though I am still in the midst of trying to adjust back to the ever-positive mindset I had before starting chemo, I will still try and stay strong, for that I know many of my loved ones are spurring me on, walking this whole process with me.