Life in itself is very unique to each person and every person has a story and their own experiences and upbringing. When people go through a battle of cancer it’s no different. There are many similarities between people’s experiences, but each person’s fight is different. As a cancer survivor myself; I hear stories all the time with several differences between my battle and another person. Some people have had less chemotherapy and not as many complications as me and some have had more serious issues and long term effects and can’t even live a normal life like before. Regardless of the differences people have in their fight against cancer; it isn’t over just when the doctor gives you the good bill of health. Life after cancer is something not talked about enough.
With my fight of cancer; I still have several issues I deal with on a regular basis. Some of these are common and some not amongst cancer survivors. My goal is to give some insight and awareness on to some of the things I’ve experienced after cancer and the side effects of the medication I was on. I’ll also cover other common side effects of those battling cancer. Keep in mind each person’s experience can be different and cancer in itself can be unpredictable. Some of the things I’m discussing will also be included in my book and I won’t go into as much detail with this blog.
The first thing I noticed after I was done with chemotherapy and the many medications I was on was my ability to focus at times. I noticed I was more fidgety and could lose focus after sitting for long periods of time, unless it was a movie or TV show. Through the years I’ve learned to just deal with it and didn’t think much of it. I started to notice it more as years went on and found out that it’s somewhat common amongst those that have had chemotherapy in the past. It was somewhat of a relief when I found out and I’ve continued to just doing my best to focus on the tasks at hand and finishing them. My goal is to continue to find out what works the best so I can be most productive in my life; a continual process.
Another side effect that I’ve had much experience with is orthopedic issues; or bone issues. This is pretty common for many cancer survivors who’ve been on high dose of prednisone or steroids. For me my bone issues came shortly after I was in remission and off medication. I went through my cancer battle in 96-97 and I noticed my hips hurt in summer/fall of 1998. That’s when I decided to have 2 knee surgeries in 1999. Orthopedic problems continued throughout the years and most recently in 2013 with my knee and currently with my shoulder. The phenomenon that happens to put it simply is called avascular necrosis; which pretty much death of bone tissue from lack of blood supply. This is a known side effect of high doses of prednisone for a long period of time. I was on prednisone for around a year and the reason for my orthopedic issues. There are a couple of other things I still deal with, but I’ll save that for another blog post.
Lastly, there are several long term side effects that cancer survivors can experience during their life. I’m not mentioning these to scare anyone, but to inform and to pass awareness to others. Some of these even long term side effects came as a little shock for me. Some long term side effects of cancer medication can include and not limited to are; high blood pressure, higher risk for heart problems such as heart disease, lung problems, endocrine, bone, joint, and tissue problems. Other areas that can be affected by chemotherapy and other cancer medication is the brain, spinal cord, nerves, digestive system, dental, oral health and vision problems. Besides the many organs and organ systems, cancer medication can also affect one emotionally as well with common side effects of anxiety, depression, and anger to name a few. For more information on side effects on how it relates to a certain side effects I recommend visiting medical websites and a specialized doctor.