Side Effects

After 3 attempts to get my Zometa IV infusion, I finally did last Tuesday! Because of the Covid-19 scare, I had to postpone it until it I can no longer. It seems that the virus won’t go away soon anyway.

Early morning after, I felt pain all over my body that I have to muffle my screams of pain as I tried to get up to go to the bathroom. I felt like I was being disemboweled, my ribs, my back, my hips, my upper legs were very heavy, my right knee was in terrible pain. I was also feeling nauseous. I also have a slight fever and I was afraid that I might have caught the dreaded virus. I went to the kitchen to prepare my breakfast even though I have no appetite for it feeling that a light coat is covering my tongue similar to when I used to have my chemo. I knew beforehand that the side effect of the treatment is a slight fever but not all of those. I took the leaflet of product information of the medicine and read that there are many side effects, which include flu-like symptoms, bone pain and renal impairment.

I have to undergo this procedure to counter the side effects of the aromatase inhibitor or my anti-cancer meds, only to realize it has also side effects. The lady beside me who has been undergoing Zometa infusion for about 5 years noticed that her serum creatinine has been increasing, which is now 150. ( I forgot the unit of measurement)

All the treatments I have taken have side effects. The chemotherapy lowers your immune system and affects your CBC as far as I can remember; the herceptin infusion affects the heart that we have to take 2D-Echo tests every 3 months. At least the body recovers after the treatments. However, for the radiation, I heard an Oncologist say that we were also at risk of having another cancer due to the radiation. He just said, at least our lives were prolonged for at least 10 more years before we had to deal with another cancer.

I switched to the aromatase inhibitor last September 2019 from Tamoxifen as I have the risk of developing uterine cancer from Tamoxifen that the oncologist advised to better go for hysterectomy and go on with Tamoxifen for the whole ten years. But of course, I was afraid of undergoing surgery again.

There is an inpirational lady leader who had stage 0 or 1 breast cancer. She did not elaborate what type it was. She refused treatments for fear of the side effects. She instead went for Vit. C infusion regularly. She’s still doing well after 5 years. I don’t know if I would still be alive today if I refused the treatments, being at stage 2B, invasive ductal carcinoma, ER PR and HER2 positive. Other breast cancer patients would understand.

I would undergo the same procedure every 6 months for more than 5 years, and I am hoping that the adverse reactions wouldn’t be as painful as the first time. Anyway, what else can I do but to bear whatever comes my way. Maybe, next time I’d be ready with a very strong pain reliever.

10 thoughts on “Side Effects

  1. There are a couple of things one can do to decrease the side effects you described. First, be sure you are very well hydrated – drink at least 2 liters of water the day before and day of your infusion. I would also recommend take a dose of acetaminophen (paracetamol) and an antihistamine about an hour before the infusion. For most people, the side effects decrease with each infusion and are generally insignificant by the third or fourth infusion. Hope you find this to be true for you.

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  2. The friend I made during chemo days and who I communicate with at FB did not warn me that the adverse reactions would be that bad. Maybe I’m just one of the few who had it that bad. Yes, I hope it wouldn’t be that bad the next time and I’d try to drink more although with the big bag of dextrose, I will be going to the bathroom frequently. I did take paracetamol but not antihistamine. Thanks for the advice again! How about you? What was it like the first time for you?

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    1. Did you have anti-cancer maintenance meds like us, breast cancer patients, after chemo? Sometimes, it makes me sad to think that we’d never be over it, that we’d be constantly taking meds, having procedures and diagnostic tests and going to the doctor as long as we’re alive!

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