Chemofuckingtherapy · Recovery

It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better…?


Since my final round of chemo, nearly six weeks ago, I’ve already  mentioned that I came down with a cold, and am dealing with lymphedema in my hand – neither of which I can blame on the chemo. But in addition to that I’ve had a few other minor medical challenges, all of which I do blame on the chemo. Chemo is a first class bitch, that’s for sure…

About two weeks ago, in yoga class, as I was in upavistha konasana pose, I  looked at my right foot and noticed that the ankle was swollen. Over the next several days it got worse – I could not even wear flip flops because the strap was too tight. The left ankle was swollen too but not as badly. I did not call Dr. Cancer as it did not seem that big of an issue, but when I mentioned it to Dr. Zap – by which time it had started getting better – he referred me to vascular medicine to check for a blood clot, just in case. So last Friday I headed over there to have an ultrasound done on my right leg. It was actually fascinating; the technician demonstrated to me that the arterial veins pump with the heart, but blood in the venous veins (I’m sure I’m using the incorrect terms here, sorry for that) pump based on your breathing and muscle contraction. As I breathed or held my breath I could hear the blood moving; and as I contracted the muscles in my foot I could also hear the change. One minor side benefit to all this cancer shit is that I sure am learning a lot about how the body works! In any case I have no blood clot and the swelling has mostly gone away by now. My own theory about this one is that I had fluid retention during chemo and now it’s being released … and water flows downhill.

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I can’t get a selfie to do it justice and am too lazy to have Tad take a pic with a proper camera. This will have to do.

About the same time I developed styes in my eyes, which I have always been prone to, but these were worse than usual. My eyelashes only started to seriously fall out after my final round of chemo, and by now I have maybe four little hairs hanging onto the lower lids. I also mentioned the styes to Dr. Zap and he was not surprised that this coincided with the loss and probably early re-growth of my eyelashes. His advice was exactly what WebMD said I should be doing: warm compresses + washing the lids with diluted baby shampoo.

My last weird post-chemo symptom is muscle fatigue. I have not made any major changes to my routine, but when I get up in the morning, or get out of a chair after a few minutes, I feel sore, as if I just got off the ski slopes. So, I do my stretches and stay on top of it, and try not to sit for too long. I’m sure I’ve lost some muscle mass during this whole thing and suspect that it’s related to my body rebuilding itself.

I will mention all this to Dr. Cancer when I see her next week. In the meantime, I’m walking around like a basketcase: a huge, ridiculous wrap on my arm; red, puffy, makeup-less and contact-less eyes under thick Coke-bottle eyeglasses; and don’t mind my stiff walking gait until I’ve had a chance to stretch things out…

4 thoughts on “It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better…?

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