Chemotherapy and its impacts


Done with Chemoteraphy?


I am :)...

Alhamdulillaaah...

It's been quite a while for me but I guess it's good to share more about chemotheraphy and its impacts. I am fully aware that chemo is probably the hardest part that we have to go through while battling breast cancer. And every patient might have different regime as well. 
I happened to have doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide or famously known as AC for 4 cycle every 3 weeks, followed by taxol and herceptin every 2 weeks for 12 times.

It was tough indeed..
But all in all, I managed to go through it with huge helps from everyone around me.
This post is one of my personal records about the treatment, particularly the impact that I felt and am still feeling till now from the chemo.
Hope it helps..






Saya sempat cerita di posting sebelumnya kalau kemoterapi yang saya jalani memang seru :). Syukurnya satu per satu semua prosedur tersebut sudah terlewat dan sekarang saya baru selesai menjalani proses rekonstruksi payudara dan akan dilanjutkan dengan radiasi. Ceritanya menyusul yaaaa :).


Satu yang belum saya share secara details di postingan sebelumnya. 

Apa saja sih dampak kemoterapi?

For sure, the impacts of chemo are enormous. Judging from my own experience, some of those impacts even stay up until now, although I have finished my chemo months ago.

Dampak dari kemoterapi memang banyak. 
You wanna know some of them? At least, these are what I myself have experienced during my treatment..

1. Hair
It can be thinning, partial or total hair lost. And we talk about hair, that means all the hair in our body, including eyebrows and eye lashes. It's temporary, once the chemo is done, it will grow back. 
Setelah kemo AC kedua, rambut saya mulai rontok. Banyak banget..sekali rontok bisa satu genggam. Akhirnya, saya pun memutuskan untuk mencukur habis rambut saya :). Daripada saya stress melihat rambut rontok ngg kira-kira, akhirnya suami pun mencukur habis rambutnya dan rambut saya di minggu kelima setelah kemo pertama saya mulai. Jadi judulnya kompakan, kompakan botak :). 




Bagi banyak penderita kanker, kehilangan rambut mungkin salah satu dampak yang efeknya sangat besar. Walaupun secara physical tidak sakit, namun secara psikologis banyak yang merasa malu, stress dan tidak nyaman saat harus kehilangan banyak atau semua rambutnya. 

My (not-so-new) hairstyle...
Frankly speaking, dokter saya berkali-kali bilang supaya saya siap dengan dampak kemo yang satu ini. Well, sesiap-siapnya kita, memang tidak gampang ketika kita harus kehilangan rambut. Apalagi buat perempuan, rambut kan bukan hanya sekedar rambut, tapi juga mahkota. Alhamdulillah, saya diberi kekuatan dan kepercayaan diri untuk berkepala botak. And I guess, it suits me fine :)


Setelah selesai dengan AC, taxol juga membuat rambut lain di badan saya pun habis berguguran. Termasuk alis dan bulu mata :). Sereeem lho ternyata kalau ngga punya alis..You look weird :). 


Tanpa alis...agak-agak gimanaa gituuu :)

Untungnya saya ikutan program Look Good Feel Better yang memang khusus diadakan bagi perempuan yang mengalami dampak berat dari kemoterapi. Seperti yang ceritakan di postingan tentang program keren ini, saya diajari dandan dan diberi satu set make-up keren-keren gratis. 
Alhamdulillaaah...memang rezeki :)

2. Intestine

Bad things like ulcers, nausea, vomiting and constipation fall under this category. 
Well, I have to say it's one of the toughest! Imagine yourself throwing up after eating or drinking anything :(. 

Bayangin aja ngg bisa makan dan minum karena bawaannya muntah meluluuu :(. Waktu hamil aja ngga gini-gini amat hehehe. Dan karena saya harus menghindari dehidrasi, mau ngga mau saya paksakan minum yang banyak. Saat kemo, air yang banyak masuk adalah jus jeruk dan air kelapa. Air putih pun perlu perjuangan, padahal di saat normal saya pecinta air putih berat. Well, untungnya ini hanya untuk 4 hari pertama setelah kemo. Dan semakin sering kita menjalani kemo, semakin banyak racun yang menumpuk di badan. Akibatnya, badan pun makin kewalahan mengatasinya. Tapi syukurnya, obat anti muntah dan mual pun makin canggih. Asal saya rutin mengkonsumsinya, efek yang satu ini bisa dikurangi.

3. Skin and nail changes
Some of the impacts include darkening and/or peeling of the skin, nail changes, particularly the color, rashes and flushing. 

Kulit saya jadi super kering dan kuku pun mengalami perubahan warna. jadi menghitam, terutama di kaki. Yang parahnya, kuku jempol kaki saya suka berdarah and I don't even feel it! Yang ada darah sudah kemana-mana dan saya baru panik setelah dikasih tau Udi atau Bo :). Well, sebenarnya sepanjang kita aware dan langsun dibersihkan tidak masalah. Things will get worse when we got the infection, so make sure you watch out..

it might look gross but this is what happen to me toe :(

4. Fatigue

Setelah kemo, saya selalu merasa capek. Capek bangeeet malah. Memang  badan rasanya ngga jelas tapi yang pasti saya gampang letih. Jalan sebentar capek, naik tanggal sedikit capek...padahal sebelumnya saya tukang jalan :). 

Gradually, I try to build up my strength again. Well, fatigue is pretty common for those experiencing chemotherapy, so I have to say I'm pretty ready with this one as well. Again my doctor told me that I have to get easy with things during chemo and for me who is so used to move around, it needs some adjustments "_". 


5. Heart

Changes in heart beat, heart failure or damage afterbeing treated with chemotherapy drugs for a long time are listed. Sounds so scarrying, right. But I make sure that my heart is constantly checked. Right now, I have ecocardiac test every 3 months.

Mudah-mudahan dampak kemo yang berkaitan dengan jantung bisa maksimal. Untungnya di sini saya juga wajib memeriksa kondisi jantung saya melalau test ecocardio setiap 3 bulan sekali

6. Infertility

This is another hard blow for me. 
Chemoteraphy has stopped my menstrual cycle.  
Yuuup... no more period. at least during the chemo, that's what my oncologist said. 
Since my 2nd round of AC, my period gradually stopped. Until now :). 
Even before, my oncologist  has specifically asked me and my husband whether we have the intention to have another child. Because if we do, I have to freeze my eggs before starting the chemotherapy. For sure, getting pregnant during the pregnancy is a big no because chemotherapy is fatal for the fetus. And since chemo causes infertility,  starting with no menstruation, I have to get myself ready with pre-menopause symptoms like hot flushes, dry skin, and pain during sexual intercourse. Well, it's a lot to bear but here I am :).

Dampak lain dari kemo adalah infertilitas alias mandul. Iya, mandul.
Sebelum saya memulai kemo, onkologist saya memang sudah beryanya secara spesifik apakah saya san suami masih berniat akan menambah anak lagi. Karena kalau iya, maka saya harus membekukan sel telur saya sebelum kemo dimulai. Well, kemo kan prinsipnya racun yang membunuh sel, makanya sangat berbahaya bagi pasien dan janin jika hamil saat kemo. Alhamdulillah, saya dan Udi telah diberi sepasang anak yang lucu-lucu, jadi kami pun memutuskan  untuk tidak membekukan  sel telur saya.  

Selain itu, kemo juga membuat saya tidak lagi mengalami menstruasi. Sejak kemo AC yang kedua, menstruasi  saya berhenti berangsur-angsur hingga sekarang. Bahkan setelah kemo selesai pun, saya masih belum mengalami menstruasi.

Again, onkologist saya bilang bahwa saya akan mengalami gejala-gejala pre-menopause. Salah satunya adalah menstruasi  yang terhenti. Well, untuk beberapa orang dampak ini ada yang bersifat sementara, ada pula yang bersifat lebih permanen.

7. Nervous System change

Tingling in fingers, toes, arms or legs, or jaw pain, muscle weakness, irritability, depression and confusion are listed as impacts of chemo on our nervous system. That's a lot, right. But the good thing is it's not always happening to one person at the same time. But this has been identified from various patients undergoing chemo.

In my case, I do have this tingling sensation in my fingers and toes. It builds up since I started Taxol and the more Taxol I have in my system, the stronger the numbness and tingling sensation I feel. Even now, after almost 2 months since my last chemo, I still feel it. My oncologist suggested me to take folic acis, vitamin B6 and Lyrica, one of the medicine targetting nerves. Well, i sincerely hope it will go away after some times. It is quite irritating that the numbness make walking, buttoning my shirts or opening jars, some of the simpel task we do everyday, chalenging. 

Dampak lain yang saya rasakan dari kemo adalah kesemutan. 
Iya, kesemutan. Tapi bukan sembarang kesemutan yang tidak lama hilang. Ini kesemutan yang agak 'permanen'. Sejak saya diberi Taxol, kesemutan di ujung jari-jari tangan dan kaki mulai terasa dan makin lama makin keras. Onkologist saya menyarankan saya untuk mengkonsumsi asam folik, vitamin B6 dan salah satu obat saraf yang dinamakan Lyrica di sini. Memang sepintas terdengar sepele, tapi kesemutan ini membuat saya merasa terganggu saat berjalan, memasang kancing baju, atau membuka tutup botol misalnya. Mudah-mudahan, seiring dengan berkurangnya dampak Taxol di dalam tubuh saya, kesemutan ini pun bisa hilang :).

8. Veins

For sure, hardening of the veins in and around area of intravenous (IV) injection will happen. with high intensity if infusion that I have to do, it will take the tolls on those veins. Moreover, in worse cases, ulcer formation, tissue damage, or discomfort in and around the area of the IV injection may occur as well.

 Karena seringnya saya diinfus selama menjalani kemo, area di sekitar pembuluh darah yang digunakan juga terkena dampaknya. Lebam membiru atau agak terasa nyeri karena infus yang lumayan lama. Untungnya, suster yang menangani saya lumayan canggih dan jarun infus yang digunakan pun cukup halus, sehingga saya tidak terlaly merasakan sakit. tapi setelah 16 kali dikemo di tempat yang itu-itu juga, mau tidak mau pembuluh darah saya pun terasa tidak nyaman.

Well, frankly, I still have a looooong list of impacts of chemotherapy here, including in our eyes, ears, mouth and lungs. I also feel some joint and bone pain. My oncologist also briefly mentioned that the chemo drugs might hit the bone marrow causing low red blood cell counts which will make us feel tired, low white blood cell counts which make us vulnarable to infection and low platelets which make us easily bleed. Again, all these impacts are unique from one another. One might feel it, while others might not. 

But in my case,  in short, all these chemo makes me  feel like I'm getting older, muuuuch older, before the time.



my big smile after a few rounds of Taxol and Herceptin :)

So, those are some of the effects that I have experienced during my 4-round of AC and  during the 12-round of Herceptin and Taxol. As I said earlier, the tingling sensation on my fingers and toes, no period and low level of energy are still lingering till now..

But again, I am still in high spirit to continue my procedures. Next, I will share my breast reconstruction procedures and radiation, that I just started yesterday :). So, I guess I will have to be back with more details :).


cheers...

References:


NYU Hospital Center on Chemotherapy, 2014Chemotheraphy and You, National Cancer Institute, 2011

22 comments:

  1. Dampaknya banyak banget ya mbak, tapi semangat terus demi kesembuhan

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  2. Mak Indah kerennnn.... Temannya mbakku dulu ada yg rela gundul, bkn krn penyakit sih. Smoga segera disembuhkan ya Mak...

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  3. Tetap semangat Mbak Indah. Banyak yang sayang & mendukung kesembuhan Mbak. Empat jempol buat Mbak tersayang :)

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  4. I'm glad you are over it, but you still have to wait for you protective hair to grow back, and your healthy nails to grow back. Chemo is like a hate/love relationship. It helped to save your life, but it hurts you to.

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  5. Indah... tapi dirimu tetap menginspirasi dengan semua keceriaanmu...dan semangatmu....

    Btw...jadi inget echa... berarti .. berarti ketidak suburan itu nanti bisa subur lagi ya. Dan rambut juga bisa banyak lagi kayak echa?

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  6. Ah Mak Indah, mengingatkanku pada Bujing (Tanteku) yang sudah kemo. Saya yang nangis melihat rambut lebatnya hilang dan kulitnya yang menghitam, dia malah nyantai..."kenapa Nita liat bujing seperti itu, mau nangis ya liat bujing gosong" Saya jadi ketawa dan nangis karena beliau masih bisa bercanda......

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  7. Aku merinding Mak Indah >_<
    Senyumnya memberi semangat untuk menginspirasi wanita-wanita lainnya.

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  8. Chemo certainly puts strain on the body, but it really does do so much good beating cancer's butt! Glad you are done with it now!

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  9. Biarpun dampak kemo sebegitu parahnya, tapi aku tetep masih bisa liat keceriaan dari foto2mu, Mak. Terus menginspirasi kita, ya! ^___^

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    1. Dan btw, aku suka sama template barunya. UNGUUUUUUUU :*

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  10. Can't imagine how you deal with it. You always smile and look full of spirit. Alhamdulillah, you have a wonderful little family who gives you full support. *hug

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  11. Saya merasakan betapa kuat dan tegarnya Mak Indah. Kekuatan doa dan semangat memang jadi modal utama buat sembuh. Tetap semangat ya Mak, terimakasih sudah berbagi cerita...

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    1. terima kasih banyak mak...mohon doanya selalu yaaa..

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  12. maakkk.. gak semua orang bisa sekuat mak Indah. dengan segala konseunsi yang ditulis, saya aja merinding bayanginnya.. sehata terus ya mak serta keluarganya.. bahagia teruuussss..

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    1. iya mak Ayu..alhamdulillah rezeki saya adalah diberi kekuatan dari-Nya :)

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  13. Can't imagine what it is like dealing with the illness and all that comes with it, you seem such a positive and strong person and I wish you all the best for the future.. Thank you so much for sharing your story ! It definitely makes me stop and think and appreciate life I guess... Thank you and keep smiling. Evija xx

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    1. Will do, Evija...Stay healthy and all the best for you as well..

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  14. So much to go through! I knew about a lot of it. My nephew had to get chemo. He had a lighter does though. His tumors were small. He has such a weak immune system that they just decided to stick with the lighter does. It worked so far. I'm glad you are out of the woods for chemo!

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    1. I am super glad as well, Alissa..it was tough indeed..

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  15. Kakak ... semangat dan terus menginspirasi, sehat terus yaaaa

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  16. sadly, as far as I've heard most people that die from cancer, die because of what chemotherapy does to them not because of the cancer itself :( Glad you bravely went through it all!

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  17. My aunt was actually healed form cancer without chemotheraphy, but after did chemoteraphy procedure she passed away

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