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21 Side Effects of Chemotherapy Treatment (from a Breast Cancer Thriver- Odisha-India)

Current Status of the Patient: No cancer cells were found after chemotherapy from Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan. Currently the patient is under radiation therapy.

 

Chemo administration-live

Patient’s name: Mrs. Swarna Prava Sabat

Age: 50 years

Diagnosis: Metastatic Triple Negative Breast Cancer (stage III)

Treating Hospital: Sparse Hospital (privately held), Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

Treating Physician: Dr. Ghanashyam Biswas (https://www.sehat.com/doctors-list/sparsh-hospitals-bhubaneswar)

This article (side effects of chemotherapy treatment) was compiled directly speaking with the patient face to face

Side Effects of Chemotherapy Treatment:

  1. Loss of tooth enamel. It started out with anesthesia administration during mastectomy of the left breast. The enamels were mostly depleted after chemotherapy treatment.
  2. The taste buds were inactive with any food tasting like crap.
  3. All the foods were salty tasting.
  4. Vomiting feeling just looking at cold drinks, biscuits, chocolates and any sweet dishes.
  5. Skin shrinks and feels rough.
  6. Changes in eye color (greyish green to grey).
  7. Loss of hair throughout the body including eye lashes and head.
  8. Foul smell of mouth and urine.
  9. Brittle nails, scratchy and development of black color on finger and toe nails.
  10. Lack of sleep even with sleeping pills.
  11. Chronic fatigue
  12. Gas and bloating inside stomach.
  13. Loss of appetite and weight loss
  14. Water retention leading to swelling of palms and feet
  15. Tinkling sensation on fingers, feet and palm.
  16. Saliva secretion stopped resulting in a dry mouth
  17. Unstable mind
  18. Attention deficit
  19. No sweating from the side the breast and lymph nodes were removed during surgery and prior to chemotherapy.
  20. Spinning head and hangover for 1 to 2 days after chemo making it difficult to walk steadily which dampens over time. This is seen particularly during Epirubicin treatment. For Paclitaxol this effect lasts few hours than days.
  21. Cure of pre-existing skin diseases: Psoriasis, and Cyst.

These side effects experienced heard may be different for different people.  Early detection of breast may lead to cure without chemotherapy. Self-check your breast for any lumps, abnormality or by regular mammography.

What to do to Ease Some of the Side Effects

  • Drink plenty of water and preferably lemon water to get rid of toxins. Try to get colorless urine.
  • Wet your mouth frequently each time with small amounts of water.
  • Eat gas medicine (antacid) as per doctor’s prescription.
  • Eat small portions of protein rich nutrient heavy superfood (link) even if you have almost no appetite.
  • Ask your doctor what not to eat. Guava and grapes were not in the list to eat even if this patient was not diabetic.
  • Maintain adequate hygiene in restrooms and in the place you live in.
    • Wipe off your room everyday at least once using disinfectant.
    • Clean your restroom with Dettol and Phenyl every time you use.
    • Wash your outfits using Dettol to disinfect them after coming from the treatment.
    • Use a separate room to live if you can afford.
    • Restrict the people entering to that room. You have low immunity and are vulnerable to infection from others.
    • Avoid cooking in the kitchen. If your lymph nodes are removed, you ca not filter toxins.
    • Use a 3M mask to stay away from pollutants.
    • Stay clean and wash your hands frequently.
  • Confirm with the treating oncologist of the prescribed medications and doses before you leave the hospital.

Back Ground:

Mrs. Swarna Prava Sabat (my beloved sister in law) was suddenly tested positive for metastatic triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) at stage 3. She went through an immediate surgery which involved the removal of her left breast (This will be detailed in subsequent blogs).

It was a shock to our family. I flew out of US and her only daughter, Amrita took a year off from her Ph.D from south Korea to take care of her mother. We have a family friend who is a well educated doctor (Dr. Ramakanta Sahoo) was our mental support and pinched in always.  I was around her during the chemo treatment in hospital and at home. Friends and families from US and India poured their support to the best of their ability.

In the hospital lobby we saw number of patients quitting chemo treatment half way either due to strong side effects which they are unable to handle or just heard from word of mouth that one could die from chemo.

To help out we wanted to put together the side effects from firsthand experience during the treatment. Besides, search of internet did not retrieve any results about where to go and how to choose treatments or doctors for breast cancers in Odisha. There was one blog about another cancer from Odisha which was of no help to us. We found people lack education among general people to deal with this deadly disease “cancer”. Cancer cells could be cleaned off from the body- this knowledge can help patients and family and help them to choose chemotherapy as an option for cancer treatment. It was a goal to spread our experience.

We hope this article can help patients and families to stay on the course of treatment. We wish all the best to the sufferers and pray God for their well being.

No pain, no gain.

Anusuya Choudhury

6 Comments

  1. Hello Anusaya, it’s sad to go through any form of sickness that would require chemotherapy and i feel really sorry for her, and hope she gets better soon. The side effects of this form of treatment are quite too much and you hardly see a doctor that will tell you the whole side effects. I see great importance in this article for enlightening us and also giving tips on how to deal with the side effects. Cheers.

    • Hi Benson,

      She has completed her radiation therapy. So far so good.

      We as a family and many of our friends helped to find where to search for good doctors, hospital, and what not to put together to come up to where we are now.

      Thank you for your time reading the article and sharing your opinion.

  2. I have a close friend that went through this a few years ago. It broke my heart to see her going through her chemo treatments every week. Just when she would start to feel a little better, it was back to the hospital for another dose. My hope is that one day soon they will have drugs that can eradicate cancer without making patients so horribly ill during the process.

    Carrie

    • I hope so Carrie.

      It is painful to watch. But good thing at this point of time, this is the only choice for us here. We are lucky it worked for her now, although we don’t know the future.

  3. So sorry to hear about your sister-in-law, I hope she is hanging in there.  The side effects are unbelievable I can’t even imagine having any of them.  your

    I have never thought about the process of someone getting Chemotherapy and what it must feel like after.  Thank you for sharing this post, it will be very helpful to so many people.

    Great job.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read. 

      My sister-in-law is doing well by God’s grace.

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