The Chemotherapy for Colorectal Cancer Plan Starts
When I was getting ready to start my battle against cancer I couldn’t decide which part of the plan was the most feared.
Which treatment plan was to be feared the most. Was it chemotherapy for colorectal cancer or was it the radiation treatments for colorectal cancer?
The radiation looked ominous to me at first. Laying down and getting targeted by a laser wasn’t my idea of fun. I actually have written another article all about the radiation treatments I received for colon cancer, you can read How to Get Through the Radiation Treatments for Colorectal Cancer, for that experience.
But then again sitting and having chemo dripped into your veins for a couple of hours wasn’t anything I was looking forward to either.
Where My Focus Was
So life after the treatments was what I focused on. Hour after hour, and day after day. Stay in the moment. Keep pushing forward. It was all going to be fine. God is with me, …etc…as my mind wandered.
So it came down to the fact that the radiation was one thing, with its, own characteristics and taking chemotherapy either through pills or through the IV in my port was another thing.
They really were different and I didn’t prefer one as being easier than the other. Neither was fun and chemo had it’s famous side effects. These are specifically different for each person but then generally the same as well.
My Personal Chemotherapy Side Effects
Here is a list of side effects that I personally experienced in my year of treatments.
- My skin was very sensitive to extreme temperature changes, especially cold weather. I was told that many patients experience a dramatic increase in sensitivity to cold temperatures. If its 25 degrees, it will now feel to me like it was well below 0. Brrrr….
- A raised sense of smell. Most foods didn’t smell very good. In fact, some would make you almost feel like vomiting. I had to stay away from the kitchen when the family was preparing dinner. But I did have nausea pills to take if I thought it was bad enough, to prevent vomiting.
- This affected me then, it still does 4 years later. My hands are now much colder than they used to be. I just struggle to get them any warmer sometimes.
- You generally feel lethargic. While the chemo is being put into your body, you will be for the lack of any better term, lethargic. Your energy level has dropped and all but disappeared some days. It actually would go down and then return a few days later. But that increased energy would only last for a few days. Then once your next chemo IV was done it would go down again.
- My treatment plan was for 10 chemo hook-ups every two weeks. I was halfway through and the one type of chemo dosage was cut in half because I was experiencing peeling on my feet pads and my fingers were peeling some as well. We had to make sure I stayed hydrated and that I did Not peel any of the skin off. This was a strict order. This definitely was caused by the chemo.
4 Top Tips to Limiting Side Effects of Chemotherapy for Colorectal Cancer
Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. There is just something about it, you can get dried out really easy. Make yourself drink at least 4-8 ounce glasses of water each day. You will not want to drink that much but you must drink it anyway. Trust me, you will appreciate this advice.
- Keep your energy level up by eating your meals. On this one, you will probably not care about it enough. I found it very hard to eat a full regular meal. Food just didn’t taste that good over 90% of the time. You will need to make yourself do this one. It will take an effort to do.
Get good rest. Keep yourself busy. Don’t try to get overly emotional any way going. Don’t get too excited or too depressed. The chemo will make you feel DULL. You will just not feel like yourself sometimes. Hang In There!
- Stay Positive. Read good or positive, uplifting books. Listen to uplifting messages. I really liked to read some Christian books and some scriptures from the Bible. I just believed that my prayers for limiting the effects of chemo were working and that I trusted that I was going to be steady and take what came at me, but that what came at me, my body was going to minimize its badness on me. It worked. The oncologist told me at the checkpoints before each session that I was in the 95-97%tile for how well I was handling the treatments.
My Personal Chemotherapy Experiences Summarized
During my colorectal cancer treatment plan, I had a regimen of 2 ways that I had the chemo administered to me. The first phase was radiation in unison with large chemotherapy pills for colon cancer.
Taking the large pills for chemotherapy cancer treatment was uncomfortable because they were so large and the needed to be taken before my main meal. I Believe these pills to be Xeloda, and the size was because of my physical size and what needed to be given to me, a larger dosage I guess.
2 of them each time, and I have always struggled to take extra large (horse pills) and the after taste would make me gag.
Well, mind over matter. I learned to take them.
With the radiation and the chemotherapy as my colon cancer treatments progressed, it was very hard to tell which one left you with what side effects.You did have side effects but sometimes it was hard to tell if it was radiation or chemo driven.
But by the time I got to the second phase of treatments (6 weeks post surgery) then I could tell what had been some of the effects from my chemo capsules.
When comparing the radiation and the chemotherapy of the second session, I would say the chemo drip that I was hooked to for 46 hours was surely harder to handle than the two chemo pills earlier.
With the chemo hookups, I generally would be all right but at about the 20-hour point after being unhooked (with no more going into my veins it was much different). So the next day I would really feel tired and kind of out of it for the next three days or so.
Then the second week I would be recovering and just starting to feel better again, then it was time to get my IV again. There was an accumulation as I went through the ten sessions.
I know after the treatments were done, I had my CT Scans and was declared totally cancer free. But it took several months to get back to feeling normal again.
George writes from first-hand experience about having a stoma and living with an ostomy. As a former cancer patient and a survivor of colon cancer, you can draw from his experiences. His goal is to help you as he shares the realities of living with an ostomy.