The day has finally arrived, after multiple snafus, fits, and stops: the first chemo treatment! Hurray?! Is that the right response? I’m just not sure. All I know is that we showed up, I have my Star Wars shirt on, my port is accessed and drugs are flowing. Look out Hodgkins! It is on!. I am literally getting chemo right now. I can feel my eye fluttering like I am getting a migraine. I can feel my heart fluttering but I think that is just nerves. Of course, my long gone reflux resurfaced almost immediately. Weirdly, my hump on my neck started hurting almost right away. Maybe that means the drugs are already doing battle with my nodes!. Yess!…but owww at the same time!..lol
So let’s talk about chemotherapy for a minute. What the hell is it? Chemotherapy or chemo is a type of cancer treatment that involves giving multi anti cancer medications through an iv or port with the idea to try to cure the patient of cancer. It can also be given to prolong a patient’s life. It can also be given to reduce symptoms. (Palliative therapy).
There are three main kinds of chemo therapy: straight chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and targeted therapy. Now straight chemo is kind of old school. It aims at DNA damage or inhibiting replication by sending intracellular poisons right into the cancer cells..and unfortunately any other rapidly dividing cells like your stomach and hair.
Hormonal therapies, on the other hand are medicine with specific genetic and molecular targets that focuses on inhibiting growth of endocrine hormones like estrogen for breast cancer and andeogens foe prostate cancer.
Targeted therapy targets a different kind of growth inhibition. Targeted therapy is drugs that inhibit growth signals by inhibiting receptor tyrosine kinase at the cell surface.
Any of these three types of therapy are truly systemic therapy for cancer. This means that they are injected into the venous system and can therefore reach cancer anywhere in the body.
Because chemo is usually considered cytotoxic, it naturally affects dividing cells. The assumption is that the cancer cells will be dividing rapidly. While this is true, other cells in your body are also dividing rapidly in your bone marrow, your hair, your digestive tract. So, that explains the nausea, vomitting, hair loss, and low white blood cells and platelets. Side effects people! Yuck! But, I gotta tell ya, I will take them if it means getting rid of the cancer. Have a great day everybody!