A chemo chair lit by scary red lighting

Chemo Was No Joke!

Last updated: August 2022

When I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014, I didn’t start on targeted therapy. I went straight to chemo and radiation. I had the biomarker testing done but it took 6 weeks for my results, so off I went to chemo and radiation. I was so afraid because I didn’t know what to expect and was so worried about the side effects!

How I felt starting chemotherapy

The first day I had radiation first, which wasn’t so bad. Then I was off to chemo and that’s when the fear began. I didn’t have a port; I had a pic line that was my choice and it just seemed so much easier for me. I remember seeing everything that was going to be hooked to my pic line and I literally freaked out, so they had to give me something to calm my nerves.

The first day was like 7 hours and the next 2 days were like 5. After that first round, I actually felt pretty good and went to my great niece’s 16th birthday party. I dance a little with my husband, mom, and my kids but the fatigue started to set in.

Then the chemo side effects started

Three weeks later was round 2 and it was on my son’s 21st birthday. I remember crying because I couldn’t be there for him and celebrate this milestone! But did my 3 days of chemo and was able to go home just in time to bring in the New Year. I was still feeling ok and was able to stay up past midnight to bring in the New Year. I had all my family there and a few friends that came to see me and celebrate bringing in 2015.

But the next day is when the side effects hit me hard. The fatigue was horrible, and I had no appetite. No matter what my husband or mom cooked I could not eat. The only thing I was able to eat, or I should say drink, was a protein shake and it had to be chocolate. Friends would come over and bring me food, but I couldn’t eat anything. I had no appetite, and everything made me nauseous.

Chemo triggered my anxiety

Another 3 weeks later which was round 3 of chemo is when I thought for sure I was going to die. Lung cancer wasn’t going to take me out, chemo was. While sitting there and having chemo my heart started racing so fast and I could feel my heartbeat hit my chest so hard. You could also hear it; I remember seeing stars or flashing lights and the nurses were afraid they didn’t know what to do.

My husband kept telling them, “She’s going to crash, do something now.” They paged my oncologist and she said to give her Ativan and so they did. I must say Ativan saved my life. I was so afraid after that incident I had to start taking anxiety pills.

Chemo side effects were extreme for me

During my time with radiation, I must say I had no side effects. However, the side effects with chemo included extreme fatigue and no appetite. I did lose my hair. I also lost some of my hearing from cisplatin and had to change chemo to carboplatin. I did lose a lot weight, but I truly believe me being so fit and healthy at that time really helped me to deal with chemo and radiation better than others.

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