You'd think I'd be able to predict my chemotherapy side effects fairly well by now. After all, I've been at it for three and a half years. I thought so too. But oh no. (This post will officially count as Way Too Much Information for some of you, particularly if you're squeamish. You've been warned.)
A week ago Monday, September 6, I had my first chemo treatment after a six-week break, and as expected, I felt like crap for a few days afterwards, then started to recover. I had a few random episodes of vomiting, as well as intestinal cramps, but again, those were nothing new. Then, a couple of days ago, more than a week after my treatment, I was suddenly hit with tremendous diarrhea, coupled with puking up my entire lunch into the downstairs bathtub, and violent cramps that extended from mid-afternoon well into the evening. Eventually things calmed down with some medication and time. But even yesterday I was still a gassy, wincing mess.
Today seems better, and there's no indication I'll be in the bathroom for hours again. I've even been eating well. The intestinal chaos is, unfortunately, an expected side effect of irinotecan, but the week-long delay before it happened was a total surprise to me. I'll have to see if there's a similar pattern next time, and I also have to make sure that I keep anti-diarrhea medicine handy at all times if it remains unpredictable. Unfortunately, I've also lost about ten pounds since before the chemo, and I have to try to keep the calories in to maintain my weight. Wanting to avoid the horrible Boost and Ensure drinks I've occasionally had before, I'm just working on eating good, substantial foods I can tolerate.
There was one funny consequence, however: near the end of the ordeal on Tuesday evening, as everything was clearing out and I was lying sweaty and exhausted on the bathroom floor, I had a single fart that lasted at least 30 seconds, perhaps 45. Despite my horrible condition, it made me laugh out loud.