Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Having Faced Chemo: The Cons

As a follow up to my October post, "Facing Chemo: The Pros," I felt that it was only fair that I include this companion piece.

So, here is the list of cons to chemotherapy:
  • The Obvious
    • You lose hair. Perhaps you'll just thin a bit, but you'll lose hair. Not only the hair on your head, but everywhere. From head-to-toe, you lose hair. You may not lose ALL of your eyelashes, or arm hair, or eyebrows. Though, it could be considered a pro - you don't have to shave your legs, or your armpits. And, ladies, let's just say that my "Hello Kitty" (as Nene Leakes puts it) has never been hair-free and smoother for this long before. Brazilian Waxes can't hold a candle to chemotherapy in that regard. (Though, I don't recommend holding a candle to anything in that general region... unless you're into that kind of thing.)
    • Crap will be an understatement when people ask you how you feel. You will be forced to come up with a whole new vocabulary of synonyms for crap, each one getting worse as they go.
    • If you choose to eat when you feel you can, consuming as many calories as possible for fear that you may not be able to eat when nausea kicks in, and the anti-nausea meds never wear off, you will realize at the end of treatment, that you have gained so much weight that you could give the Stay Puft man a run for his money, and rue every day that you ate because you could.
    • Chemo brain messes with your mind. As a result, you can not remember the names and faces of all the kind nurses and technicians that take care of you and have to resort to writing notes somewhere (which you'll undoubtedly forget) so you can remember and not look like a moron when you come back in for your next appointment.
    • Even if you've had 20/20 vision, expect some fuzziness. So, you'd better invest in some anti-aging/anti-wrinkle treatments because the squinting will age your face 30 years by the time you're done with chemo.
    • You have absolutely no clue, if you've lost all your hair, what color, texture, or condition your hair will grow back in. You could have been a brunette, and, voila! 6 weeks after chemo, you have seedlings of ginger hair growing. You could have had pin-straight hair like Janice in the Muppets, and it will grow back curly like Little Orphan Annie!
    • No, that ridiculously expensive, fine wine hasn't turned. And, no, that fois gras hasn't spoiled. That gnarly taste in your mouth, as though you've been sucking on rusted bike chains, is a result of chemotherapy. Now isn't the time to go fine dining, folks, unless you've given your taste buds a test run. Money down the toilet.
  • The Not-So-Obvious
    • If you are a blonde and bald, you are now capable of getting brainfreeze from the outside in.
    • When you finally get the clearance to move again, and you're not feeling like a sack of leaden bones, you may find simply walking to and from your mailbox as exhausting as running a marathon (or whatever you might imagine it might be like if you've never run a marathon.)
    • You stare at the first, single, isolated sprout of "real" hair, vs. the weird chemo peach fuzz that grows in its place like a transparent mold, and ponder if you should pluck it or not.
    • You fear the impending itchiness as hair grows back. Anywhere and everywhere. I'll leave it at that. You can figure out the rest.
    • You miss your oncologist and the regularity of the appointments and are not quite sure what this "daily grind" thing is anymore.
      • When you start to dip your toes back into the "daily grind," you realize it's the wrong roast and are no longer sure you survived in order to get back into it.
      • You will have to give up your yoga and pajama pants.
    • You put mascara on, hoping to make your lack of eyelashes not quite apparent. Unfortunately, you only have 3 eyelashes per lid long enough for the mascara to adhere, so you end up looking like Spongebob Squarepants.
    • You can't touch your toes. You see, apparently, for some of us, our organs react to chemotherapy negatively. (Duh.) They may swell, giving you a lovely bloated feeling that isn't just around for a couple of days a month. If you also put on some weight, you will find you have to get your children to help you take on and off your socks. So, if you're currently healthy and don't have cancer, treat those rugrats well. They may be taking care of you sooner than you thought.
    • Invest in a hemorrhoid pillow. Not because you'll have hemorrhoids, but because you may find yourself frequently getting intimately close with your toilet seat, so why not make yourself comfortable? And make sure you have some disinfectant wipes nearby just in case you forget which side is up.
    • Your oncologist is going to put you on a stool softener. Don't think that the minute you finish chemotherapy that you're home free. As you start to venture out of the safety of your home or hospital, make note of where all the bathrooms are wherever you go and just how long it takes to get there.


  1. Great info. I am goimg to forward it to a friend fighting breast the touches of humor too!

  2. this is just plain weird!


I'm all about free speech, etc, but I have to ask that comments are respectful of other readers, the fact that I, and many of us who follow this blog, support LIVESTRONG, and that you reserve Lance or LIVESTRONG bashing for another forum. As of right now, I'm still allowing Anonymous postings, however, that may not be the case in the future. Thanks!