When Wes and I relocated to Houston back in July 2017, we were told that I would be receiving a Whipple Procedure and then head back to Colorado after I recovered from it.
But after a week of blood work, tests, and appointments, we were informed that I would need to have chemo as part of my regimen.
Even though I have known people that have had chemo, I can’t say that I knew much about it. And at this point, I had not done any research about it. All I “knew” is that you lose your hair, throw up all the time, and are very sick.
I had created an image of what chemo was like. So if you’re like me, some “chemo myth busters” are in order! I hope these help create awareness for fighters and supporters today!
- Chemo uses a single medicine to treat cancer patients. There are many types of chemo medications and one of my nurse’s shared with me that there are hundreds of combinations to treat different cancers. We have come a long way with the amount of options available to patients today!
- Chemo causes hair loss. Not every type of chemo causes hair to fall out. There are different side effects associated with each type of chemo and hair loss is not one that occurs across the board.
- Chemo makes you throw up. Each person reacts differently in treatment. There are some treatments that cause you to throw up and others that do not. It just depends on the treatment and the person.
- Tired vs. Fatigued. Fatigue is one of the most common side effects of chemo treatment. Being tired is more of a “cause-and-effect” type of symptom: not enough sleep, worked long hours, exertion. But fatigue is different. This level of exhaustion is not caused by exertion or participating in an activity. It also is not relieved by sleep.
- “I’m wearing a mask so I don’t get you sick.” Chemo treatments can cause white blood cell counts to become very low making a person going through treatment highly susceptible to getting sick. So they may be wearing a mask to guard themselves from others getting them sick, not only because they themselves are sick at the time.
- Chemo causes weight loss. Some people gain and some people lose. And I’m sure there are others who remain their same weight, too!
- Chemo requires overnight stays in the hospital. I met men and women whose treatment required chemo to be administered for 72 hours straight and then they stayed overnight in the hospital. I, personally, had outpatient treatment and my longest session was for 2 ½ hours. Each situation needs different medicine and length of time to have it administered. It is not one size fits all.
Fighters, whether you find yourself struggling tremendously or tolerating chemotherapy well, I am so proud of you for your will to keep fighting.
What other “myth busters” have you discovered during your treatment?
Supporters, Does any of this surprise you? It certainly did for me which is why I shared it!
Have you noticed any other “stereotypes” of chemo broken as you support your loved ones through chemotherapy?
I would love to hear from y’all in the comments to help create more awareness to those in the fight as well as for family, friends, and loved ones to help each person support and understand the process more!
Always, always, I want to ask for you to share prayer requests so I can lift up each one of you to the One Who is able to heal, comfort, and cure!
God bless you all!