Side Effects

I thought it might be useful to have a page about the side effects I have experienced and how I dealt with them.
I hope this will be helpful.

Please be patient, I’m still working on this page!

FEC-T Chemotherapy

The FEC part did make me feel nauseous on the night of chemo and on and off the next day. The drugs I was given before chemo presumably worked but I also had drugs to take as and when I needed them. They did help a little but I just put up with the feeling.
I then felt fine for a week…my appetite was voracious and I couldn’t get enough of tomato, salad and egg free mayo sandwiches!
The worst side effect for me kicked in a week after chemo. I felt like I was being pushed into the ground, crushed from above. It made me feel unsafe and was quite frightening…I was literally crawling on all fours. This was at its worst for a day or two then faded over the next couple of days. I then felt tired for a few days.
I suffered some constipation for which my doctor gave me Movicol…half a sachet every morning did the job. Omeprazole from my doctor sorted the heartburn I suffered…I took this first thing in the morning along with the Movicol.
So for me, the FEC part was bearable.

The T part, however, knocked me off my feet, literally. It had me in bed for ten days straight. I couldn’t think or concentrate. I was unable to read or even hold a conversation. The steroids I took the night before and the day of treatment gave me a twitchy, jittery, restless, uneasy, agitated feeling. This lasted two days at the most.

I lost my hair…nothing I could do to prevent this. I know some people use a Cold Cap to help prevent hair loss but I chose not to. I bought some fabulous wigs and knitted some woolly hats…it’s surprising how cold my head was in bed.

My mouth was disgusting. Everything had a creamy consistency, even water and I can’t think of a way to describe how things tasted…just trust me when I say it was vile. What did help was drinking using a straw. I found cranberry juice/squash the best option. I also found that cold food was better than hot.

My mouth became very sore so I used a child’s toothbrush and toothpaste. Diflucan mouthwash helped a little but Nystin Mouth Drops helped a lot! Both can be prescribed by a doctor or consultant.

My nails turned black in places and became very loose but I did not actually lose any. I wore very dark plum nail polish all the time as advised. I now have “Chemo Ridges” on my nails…one for each treatment. My nails are weaker at this ridge and one has broken at that point. But the nails below the final ridge look healthy again.

My eyes, especially when I woke, were often scratchy and sore. I used, as advised Boots Hayfever Eye Drops. I didn’t wear my contact lenses at all for all the months of my treatment. Actually, I never wear my contacts for a hospital treatment; while I don’t expect there to be any problem, if there is then it’s one less thing to worry about if I need to be admitted to a ward. For this reason, I also wear earrings I can comfortably sleep in.




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