So, now that I’m not feeling any of the side effects of chemo, I consider myself officially done! There is much rejoicing!! I thought I’d do one last post on chemo, specifically on the unexpected and odd side effects I experienced with chemo. Everyone knows about the hair loss, nausea and vomiting, and impacts on the blood cells, but there’s more to it than those symptoms.
For example, I never lost all of my hair. Most of my head hair fell out, and I haven’t had to shave since I started chemo (a small benefit), but I never lost any of my arm hair or my eyelashes. Eyebrows did end up going. At least my hats have a low brim, and you couldn’t see the lack of eyebrows too obviously. The one place I really missed hair (besides my cold back of the neck) was in my nose. Not having nose hair caused a surprising amount of annoyance, mainly associated with the dripping of snot. There just wasn’t any hair to slow down the trip of that snot out of my nose.
One odd side effect was the impact of chemo on my fingernails. If you look closely in the photo, you might be able to see the stripes on my nails. All of my fingernails have four white, horizontal stripes on them, corresponding to a cycle of chemo. I’m fairly certain that there will be six stripes by the time the nails grow out. At least I never lost the nail. I’ve heard from some other friends who went through chemo that they lost fingernails or toenails.
Finally, and this one might be TMI but it’s for posterity and so others know what to expect, I stopped menstruating. It was most surprising because I specifically asked at our chemotherapy orientation meeting if that would happen and the nurse said no. It may or may not be permanent. I’m not really worried about it, since I’m done having kids and it’s one less hassle to deal with while undergoing chemo, but it was unexpected.
And those were some of the odd things chemo did to me. Hopefully, no long-term impacts (beyond eliminating the cancer).