After Chemo – Week 1

Now that my first 3-day chemotherapy session is behind me, I’d like to share some of my observations and experiences during the week that followed.

It’s an embarrassing issue to discuss, but I promised transparency here, no matter what the subject.

First and foremost for me is constipation. It’s an embarrassing issue to discuss, but I promised transparency here, no matter what the subject. After all, the whole purpose of this site is to share everything I’ve experienced, so that others know what to expect when dealing with CLL.

The constipation lasted 5 full days before I got any relief. I tried a variety of stool softeners and laxatives with no results until day six when I slowly started to get back to normal. It seems that this is similar to the nausea condition. You need to be ahead of it before it gets a stronghold on your system.

During and afterwards, I discussed the problem with my doctor. It turns out to be a common side effect caused mostly by the anti-nausea medication administered during the chemotherapy. It was suggested that I start out a day before my next chemo session with a twice daily dose of stool softener. This is a plan I am going to implement, as I don’t want to suffer that degree of discomfort each time I have chemo.

My last day of chemotherapy was Thursday, and I went into work on Friday. For the most part, it was a good day. My co-workers seemed to be happy that I was functioning normally in my work environment – as was I. Normally I arrive at work by 6:00 am, and work until about 5:30 pm. That was my plan for today, except that by 3:30 pm I was getting very tired. I toughed it out til 5:00, and that was enough for me.

I spent Saturday and Sunday lounging around the house, alternating between watching TV and sleeping…. mostly sleeping. This must be the fatigue that accompanies chemotherapy that I’ve heard so much about.

By Monday I felt well rested and just like my normal self. I spent the whole week working and surprisingly, towards the end of the week, I began to feel less tired than I have felt in a very long time.

At the beginning of my chemo treatments, I set up my camera and tripod in my office, so that I could take daily pictures to monitor any visible changes to my appearance over time. Surprisingly, after a weeks time, I could see changes to the look of my face, and a slight reduction in the swollen lymph nodes in my neck.

Looking beyond the one week timeline of this article – after a month has passed, there is a dramatic change in my appearance. You can have a look at my daily pictures on my results page.

In a nutshell, I remain optimistic after my first round of treatments. I’m already feeling better, and noticing small visual improvements. Even with some minor inconveniences, my attitude is still positive, and I expect to put my CLL into remission.

Please feel free to comment here, or send me an e-mail if you have any questions or want to share your story. I’d like to invite you to continue to follow along as I document the details of my journey.

Thanks for visiting, and be sure to share this with someone who may benefit from it.

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