Thursday, May 31, 2012

SIDE EFFECTS: at 9 Weeks

WARNING: Casual readers of this blog may find some details uncomfortable. I've included them to help fellow patients or those researching the idea of undergoing treatment. I apologize for any discomfort this may cause.

In no particular order:
  • Fatigue
    This is the norm now. I've learned to do less and be happy with the little things, like fixing breakfast for the family or going to the grocery store.  Those are big feats now and I am appreciative when I can accomplish them!  I move much slower these days and don't pressure myself about it. It is what it is.
  • Shortness of breath I often have to stop and catch my breath, especially if I'm walking and talking at the same time (which doesn't happen much these days).  I sit as soon as I stop moving, lean on walls if I'm standing, or prop my legs up if lounging for a time.  This is especially true if I'm talking.
  • NauseaPretty non-existent nowadays.  I suppose I'm getting used to it all.
  • Lack of appetiteI can eat ok but can be picky.  That's not like me. 
  • Rash and pruritus (itching) - NEW CHANGE
    No apparent rashes. HOWEVER, my skin feels like porcupine needles are constantly sticking me.  Ugh!  So itchy-burning annoying!  Once you start scratching, it itches everywhere! This was especially the case last night - made it hard to sleep. Only 3 more weeks left of Incivek so hopefully these symptoms will then disappear all together.  Until then, I will continue to use non-comedogenic, fragrance-free shower gel and lotion.
  • That other minor skin irritation
    You know, the one I said is located under the behind... Even less of an issue than before. I use medicated wipes and occasionally Preparation H for relief.
  • Emotional irritability/sensitivity
    I'm much more in control of this now.  Thank God! When I sense it coming on it's essential I find a quiet place to sleep more.  I also communicate this to my spouse and, simply, do less.
  • Sensitivity to acute loud sounds and bright light
    This fluctuates but is very present.  I wear sunglasses indoors where the light is bright on a regular basis.  Car alarms are very irritating.  So are loud squeals.  As a mom, I'd learned to tune them out over the years, but I'm not able to manage that nowadays.
  • Low Grade Fever and headaches
    It's NOT an every day thing. Yeah! But I'm better at sensing when it's bout to come on. When I take Ibuprofen and/or Theraflu it helps so much!  Taking Theraflu at night has helped me sleep better too.
  • Hair thinning
    This has slowed down a bit, perhaps because I'm not treating my hair while on treatment.  It still falls out but my new growth gives it body (since it's afro-ish...).
  • Muscle weakness AND soreness (NEW)
    I feel my muscles getting tired just from walking up the stairs sometimes. My muscles have also felt sore, as if I had been working out or something.  (Yet I'm not working out at all these days.  It's bummer.)
  • Neupogen AND Procrit (NEW)
    Both are injections to help my bone marrow produce more white and red blood cells, respectively. They typically wear me out! My body runs really hot while on these drugs, I feel more fatigue and weak.
  • Female issues
    Early/Late, inconsistent/extended cycle with cramps and body aches. I usually have regular and predictable ones.
  • NEW: Forgetting
    This is a funny one.  My mind does not work like it used to.  It's has a slower processor and limited memory.  In conversation, I forget what I was talking about after the slightest interruption. Sometimes I forget even while not interrupted.  It's difficult forming sentences because my vocabulary seems to be limited too.  Sometimes I can't find the right word to say.  I'm usually a LOT sharper than this, so this is new for me.  I find it quite comical though.  If you ask me to remember to remind you to do something, you better make sure I enter it in my phone WITH an alarm, or I will likely forget.  Oh well. So far, I hadn't inadvertantly shop-lifted or burned anything down, so...


  1. Shell - I love your humor through it all - might be a good ting to get used to the memory loss it might possibly come with age anyway :) J/K I will continue to pray for you and am grateful for these updates, in all honesty if one did not know you personally I suspect that they would have no clue what is going on with you - your grace and poise asstound me. I love you sista - here for whatever the need or want for that matter :)P

    1. Thank you. I'm glad you and others know what I'm going through. You're right. It seems that - to many people - I don't look like I'm coping with chemo treatment. I'm certainly not trying to be gracful or poised about it all. I am who I am and am being who I am. Suppose I should "act" more sick for the sympathy points... Nah... Well, I hope the forgetfulness is only temporary. It not, then it wouldn't be funny anymore!

  2. Shellie we are pulling for you.....loving you.....praying for you.....

    1. THANK YOU AUNTIE! I appreciate it so much.

  3. Love your blog!! Congrats on being undetectable at eight weeks!!! If its okay with you, I would love to send my readers to your blog by adding a link in my "Weekend Reading" entry @ HCV New Drugs. Stay strong! Always Tina
    Treated in 2000, SVR for over a decade......

    1. THANK YOU! I would love for you to invite your readers to my blog! That encourages me so! Oh WOW! SVR (sustained viral response) for over a decade! That is wonderful! Continued remission post-treatment is something I aspire towards! I hope, in over a decade, I'll have SVR and will be commenting on a patient's blog, encouraging them as you have me.

  4. I am following your blog. I am about 21 weeks ahead of you in treatment.......what you are experiencing is par for the course. Get lots of rest and watch the anger bouts and depression. I'm at Mayo, too. Hugs and prayers for an easy as can be round of treatment. Linda

    1. Linda! Your encouraging words have stayed with me all weekend! "...what you are experiencing is par for the course." That's what I needed to hear! Thank you so much for your hugs and prayers. I feel them.

  5. I love you so much, my darling! And it's so refreshing when you add humor amid the frustrating reality. SELFISHLY... it comforts ME when I read the light-hearted portions of your storytelling because I feel you close to me as I laugh/chuckle. Can't wait to see AND feel you in a couple of weeks! LOVE, HUGS & KISSES...

  6. Ditto Mom's comments, love ya.