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I made it through the first week of chemo.

Multiple cartoon faces pained on a brick wall.

I’ve completed my first week of chemo, and chemo sucks. I never thought it’d be easy, but it’s also not quite what my doctor made it out to be.

When we met with our oncologist, and came up with a plan, they said that it shouldn’t affect my day to day too much. I could still work and do the things I want to. However, after the first infusion, we realized that wasn’t true at all. 

I had my first infusion on the 15th, and before I even left the doctor’s office, my arm hurt a lot. It was a bit numb yet felt like they left the needle in my arm even after I knew it was taken out. Driving home was uncomfortable if I moved my arm at all, and it lasted for days. That was just the beginning of side effects.

Over the next few days I had a lot of fatigue, nausea, and loss of appetite. When I did eat, with the first bite, my jaw felt like it was being poked by a bunch of pins, which made it hurt to eat. Good news there is that it got better as I ate, but always came back with the first bite of every meal. When I’d go outside, any uncovered skin would tingle and feel a bit numb. It didn’t hurt, but also didn’t feel great. I had hot flashes, a runny nose, and if I were to sneeze, everything hurt. Sometimes even yawning would hurt. The biggest problem though was I didn’t feel like myself at all. It was hard to focus on anything, and I just wanted to sleep until everything went back to normal.

The good news here is that after about four days, the side effects started to wear off. My appetite came back, eating didn’t hurt quite so much, and I started to feel more like myself. I still have quite a few side effects, but not nearly as bad as they were initially. I still get tired much easier than before chemo, but it’s much more manageable now. 

Unfortunately, every time I get an infusion (every three weeks) those side effects will come back and possibly be even worse. Now that I know, I’m really not looking forward to the next infusion. I get that 6 months is a small amount of time in the grand scheme of things, but the way I feel in the days after the infusion is just terrible. I didn’t like how I felt and who I had become. Again, thankfully, that terrible window only lasted a few days. 

If you know anyone going through chemo, or dealing with anything really, reach out and see how they’re doing, say hi, or just send them a funny GIF. Making someone smile when they’re going through something hard is well worth the few seconds it takes out of your day. 

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