The Chemo Hangover

I call it the ‘hangover’ because that’s exactly what it feels like. Or maybe it feels like the afternoon of a hangover. You know, that feeling when you’ve been sick, if you’re going to be, and you’ve slept in, if you could, but you still feel like a turd.

I’ve got to be honest, I did think it would be worse, but I thought it would be shorter. I felt pretty wiped out for the best part of a week and while, for the first 3 days, you have antisickness and antifatigue medication, you still feel a bit ropey. The initial wake up on the first day after chemo is exactly like a hangover. Hungry but sicky with a feeling in your stomach that is definitively either hunger or impending vomit, and you know you’re going to need to eat something to find out which.

Physically, I felt tired but not wiped out, mentally, I was definitively not firing on all cylinders. I kept forgetting things and 5 days later I was convinced it was Wednesday when, in fact, it was Thursday.

I should mention, in the middle of all this, our neighbours flooded our bathroom ceiling (3 times)and we had an electrical fire in the middle of the night. So, it’s fair to say, I could have just been quite tired from dealing with an absentee landlord above us and trying to find emergency plumbers and electricians.

My mouth tastes weird and I feel like I can smell that weird mouth taste, too. It’s a bit like dog food. But not necessarily in a bad way. Have you ever opened a can of pet food and your mouth has watered? Before the revulsion sets in, it’s a meaty smell, right? Well, my mouth tastes like dog food smells. It wears off if I eat something and it gradually got less by about day four. A week later and it pops up when I smell certain things, or burp. I have a horrible feeling it’s my stomach lining I can taste.

My tongue hurts. It’s these weird blisters that I’ve got. I’m taking a mouth wash that numbs your whole mouth for a while, but it makes me feel like I’m choking on my tongue so it’s a toss-up what you prefer to try and sleep with.

Sorry about the mega close-ups of my tongue.

My normally strong nails have also started to snap. This seems way to soon to be due to the chemo in my blood stream so I think it’s just me being clumsy and catching my hands on things as I’m tired.

So far, I still have my hair, my eyelashes and my eyebrows.

Week two threw up completely different side effects. I’ll get to those later.