Another Side of Effects

Last year, I had a chemo orientation before starting treatment; primarily to go over side effects.

This year, I had another chemo orientation. And once again, the list was read as I dazed off, knowing that nothing could possibly trump that whole bit about nausea and vomiting.

I knew my hair would thin again, but but didn't expect to loose it all at once. I knew I would loose more, which is how the last blog post came about. Though the list was long, I assumed that I might escape most of them like I did last year. I was wrong, kinda. And though they don't rank as high in misery as nausea, they are still a minor annoyance and sometimes major pain in my daily life.

Number 1: Mouth Sores
I never had a single one last year. But as with so many parts of the body, the mouth and lip are susceptible to damage because they have some of those "fast growing cells" in the body. I sat next to a young guy last year who was in far worse shape than me. He had just come back from a trip to MD Anderson (in Houston) and was waiting on his lab results next to me. He asked if I had any mouth sores, and then proceeded to tell me how bad his were; to the point of not being about to eat much. I counted my blessings and realized that having to travel to one of the big bad dads for treatment wasn't good. I was grateful for my very straightforward case of cancer.

There are things to help ease the pain, like special mouth washes. But as anyone who has had a canker sore or bit the inside of their mouths knows, it can hurt. Bad. There were a few days where the Arm and Hammer Baking Soda toothpaste was my worst enemy and teeth got brushed with toddler toothpaste.

So far I've only had a few minor run ins in this category, and the worst was on my lip. Right smack dab in the middle, just staring at everyone with its crusty self as I stood in line at Target. It took days to even start healing, which is uncommon with lip injuries.

No bueno for ice latte sipping.

Number 2: Peeling Hands and Feet
I now spend my Saturdays in the passenger seat of the Prius, peeling off giant chunks of foot skin and flicking them on the floor. All while Kyle rolls down his window and dry heaves over the grossness of it all. I told him I was just making sure there was plenty of my DNA around in the event he tried to have me knocked off. Between that and my shedding hair, I think the police will have no problem proving I was once there. Or everywhere.

The bottoms of my feet look red and raw as I lather them in Neosporan and put on socks in the middle of summer. The Neosporan is just my extra precaution on some of the spots that are more raw than others. My risk for infection is great, and running around at the beach or a public pool is just begging for nasty public germs. The neutropenics are in a class all their own!

I'm sure if I didn't expose them to so much wear and tear and water and flip flops, it might be slightly less bad. But when I get out of bed after days in a treatment coma and my finger tips are peeling, I know I can't blame my beach lifestyle for all of it.

You don't kiss mommy on the lips, she doesn't have to share her drink and no I don't want to try your fro-yo. No double dipping for this neutropenic.
A daily occurrence that makes for some raw feet.

No comments: