Each patient tolerates chemotherapy differently, and there are several types of chemo that could be used, so there isn’t one set answer to this question. In my (Amy’s) case, I was able to carry on my normal life with some adjustments. For example, my cancer center operates on a 24/7 schedule, so I could check in for chemo late in the afternoon, spend the night (they had mini-rooms with beds for long infusion patients) and go home at 7 a.m. the next morning. Most days, I was able to work from home throughout treatment, and I missed less than a week of work over my six months of chemo treatments.
I did lose my hair (and it wasn’t so bad!), and I’d typically get pretty bad nausea that would start about 2-3 days after each round ended and last for another 3 days or so. Most patients get a Neulasta shot after chemo to boost the white blood cell count that dips right after chemo, and I did as well. Once the shot wears off about a week later, my white blood count – which means my immunity to common illnesses like colds – would fall, so I had to be very careful about being around crowds then. I also got tired more easily than normal, and I experienced indigestion like never before. Others experience neuropathy, or pain / tingling in their feet or hands, or a metallic taste that (especially when combined with nausea) makes it hard to eat.
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