Learning to live with the effects (side effects) of chemotherapy

Memo to self when next in Chemo fog

This is a slightly risky, perhaps presumptuous, post to write, given the paucity of experience in my chemo journey where I am a mere toddler taking my first tentative steps.

However, it is written in the knowledge that whilst it could be wildly in error, something only more experience can rectify, it is real.

The difference between this and presumption, is that it comes from a real place and lived experience which deserves my scrutiny now and in the future.

If it is in error then it bears scrutiny now, it is honest error, and if it is substantially correct, borne out by further experience, that suggests to me an early acquaintance with reliable and vital information going forward.

It seems to me that the sooner the patient/client begins to build a working relationship with the side effects of the powerful chemotherapy drugs, the better prepared we are to manage them, because no matter what happens, we have no choice but to either fear and fight the effects or learn to accept them and learn to deal with them, learning to manage the side effects well could save lives.

Specifically and significantly in this instance, my own.

I’ve had two experiences worth mentioning here.

One was heading out to buy some apples which could have put my own and the lives of others at risk (at the first opportunity I handed my car keys to my brother for safe keeping). The other was discovering that deep in the chemo fog, I was able to use my mobile phone to send messages to my future self when I re-emerged from the fog. My limited experience had already shown me that, like waking from a dream whilst sleeping to discover that not a single memory of the dream remained, emerging from the fog was very similar. Whilst in the fog, this felt like nothing less than the miracle of communicating between different dimensions.

So sure of this, and convinced, was I, I subjected my closest family members to a very odd display of behaviour, which I undertook so as to not corrupt the evidence. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by close family, ageing hippies all, who are experienced in dealing with such drug induced delusions and prepared to await my return to my natural human consciousness and clarity.

They were not patronising me, they had each experienced the kind of stuff I was experiencing, under the influence of a range of psychoactive drugs, not least LSD.

There is little more to add at this juncture, as I emerge from my first experience of chemotherapy and chemo fog, and my body further recovers as I prepare my home, my mind and body for my second chemotherapy session on or around the 17 August.

I’ll close with the observation that, in my experience thus far, there is a dearth of information from the inside. Patients and clients, again in my limited experience at a crucial time for me, are not encouraged to write about the journey of chemotherapy. I think that is unfortunate, hence my efforts here and my first report, ‘Inside the Chemo Fog‘.

KOG 09 August 2020.

3 thoughts on “Learning to live with the effects (side effects) of chemotherapy

  1. Hi Keith, having had chemotherapy myself I know exactly what you mean. I didn’t have access to a computer at the time. However, I managed, through friends, to access every medical journal going at the time so that I could make decisions about what would work best for me. While on chemo, I ate only organic, no processed food or food with sugar. I drank vegetable juice several times a day. I found out every single thing I could about my kind of cancer and the available treatments xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If this process has taught me anything Linda, it is to love myself enough to give myself the best chance of accepting the best chance the incredible team at the hospital are giving me. I wish you well in every way. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh how I LOVE that I couldn’t stop reading (as I said I was going to do) and the very next blog has a comment from someone else named Linda Joy! I mean, you can’t make these things up, right??!! For me it was about pain, constant, chronic and at time acute, pain. I had to learn to manage it. I could not (and have not been able to) get rid of it entirely. That’s OK because learning to live with it has made me stronger and better able to cope with the bumps in the road that are inevitable with being human. What I have done is shifted away from drugs like codeine and on to things that are ‘natural’ like various supplements ~ the best being CBD OIL now legally available and able to do what the codeine did without any of those nasty side effects. Well we all know that reading any prescription drug’s side effects often lists the very symptom we are hoping to alleviate. I’ve learned something else ~ I no longer deal with symptoms (makes it all sound so medical) and instead I deal with sensations. It shifts the same way that in childbirth I called them labour contractions rather than labour pains. It’s truly astonishing how much we have fed ourselves in our lives that now we need to spit out rather than digest any more! We are of One Accord here and that makes me very happy indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

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