Friday, 31 October 2014

Weird Stuff on FEC

After a while, it gets difficult to know whether the weird things going on with my body are down to the chemotherapy or not.

The other morning, I got blearily out of bed and went to say good morning to the kids when I noticed them looking oddly at me.
“Mummy, you have blood round your mouth,” my daughter told me anxiously.  I rushed to a mirror and, sure enough, black blood was caked on my lips and my front teeth.  My mouth and tongue were, as usual at that point in the FEC cycle, pretty tender but there was no obvious cut or other source of the blood so I couldn’t work out where it had come from.  Unless, of course, the FEC causes vampiric tendencies and the blood on my lips wasn’t mine...

I cleaned it off and, to everyone’s great relief, it didn’t reappear.
Another unexpected side-effect is the way my heart rate zooms up when I get on the cardio-vascular machines during my exercise class.  I can be on the bike, legs happily pumping away and feeling that I can go faster, when the heart rate monitor will start flashing and beeping because my heart rate has hit 160.  My physio explained that this is because I have a low red blood cell count which makes it harder for my blood to carry oxygen around my system which, in turn, puts stress on my heart to beat faster.

Respirez!” she yells at me at regular intervals, and so I have to concentrate on breathing heavily or I can’t get any speed up at all.
Which brings me to how incredibly cold I feel at the moment.  I’ve always been a bit hopeless with the cold but now I can be wearing multiple layers and still find myself shivering uncontrollably.  I’ve lost a few pounds, and so am a little less padded, but not that much.  I wonder if the low red blood cell count affects the body’s ability to stay warm as well.  Who knows?  Maybe I always shivered this much and just never noticed so much before.

Because it is, inevitably, difficult not to keep track of every headache, stomach grumble, achy limb and sore gums which might have happened before and just been forgotten but now is laid at the door of chemo.  I can just see myself, ten years from now, shivering in some bitter winter and saying, “I’ve never been able to stay warm since I had chemo...”
Let’s just hope that my husband sleeps soundly and doesn’t find teeth marks on his neck in the morning.

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