What Every Chemo Patient Should Know (***Warning, PG13*** Guys just skip this one)

There is a reason the beginning of chapter 14 in the book starts with, “I never knew pain could be so cruel.” The following cut content is what should have followed.
In hindsight, I’m glad this more graphic part was axed. But, for those who have started treatment or know of someone going through treatment…I wonder if this wouldn’t have helped in some way? All I know is I wish I would have been warned.


Hours later, I woke with intense discomfort in a rather private area.
Never experiencing this type of irritation before, I drove to the store for medicine.
The initial contact from the cream sent me writhing in pain.
Jason rushed me to the nearest hospital only five minutes down the road. Veterans at this process, we signed-in and scanned the room. Only one other patient sat in the corner. Our odds looked promising.
I bent over the best I could with my round belly, grabbed my legs, and rocked back and forth. After thirty minutes, Jason approached the desk. The receptionist reassured him we’d seen as soon as staff was available.
Another half an hour passed. “Listen,” Jason said, his voice a little louder. “My wife’s pregnant and going through chemotherapy.” He pointed at me, “How. Much. Longer. Is it going to be?” Jason didn’t look so happy.
“We’re understaffed tonight. I’d suggest getting her to another hospital.”
We arrived at Good Samaritan. The receptionist eyes widened listening to my condition. She darted for the phone, and yelled for a wheelchair. In minutes, I rested in a maternity room with a monitor strapped across my belly.
Thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump.
            “Baby’s heartbeat’s good,” the nurse said.
            I exhaled, then explained my burning symptoms. Her brow creased.
She examined me as a second nurse entered with a tube and applied a generous portion of what looked like the same white cream I’d previously used. I gripped the metal rails, clamping my teeth. “Make the burning go away, please!”
Everyone’s stared at me, especially Jason’s who had never heard me yell this loudly.
A doctor entered. She had spoken with Dr. McGarry, she said. The chemotherapy was flushing out of my system, stripping layers off skin as it exited my body. The same way cancer patients experience mouth sores from drugs, I reacted with chemical burns in the most unthinkable area. The nurses apologized over and over. Then they both admitted that they’d never seen a case like this before on the maternity ward.
I snorted, chuckled, then flung my head back into the pillow. “Of course you haven’t. This doesn’t surprise me.” I laughed and cried all at the same time. What else could I do but roll with whatever came my way at that point.
I’m going to laugh about this one day, right God? There’s a lesson in here somewhere. Would this be considered a light and momentary trouble?   
I did laugh when they told me I could take Tylenol for pain—the only pain medicine allowed during pregnancy.
Come on? I’d already taken prescription strength sleeping pills, Demerol, unregulated herbs, chemotherapy, and anti-nausea medication. Please. At this point, give me the good stuff. Flesh eating drugs are running through my body. Load me up with pain killers, will ya?
Oh, God, help me channel a meeker spirit. Help me have more patience. And one more small request. Help me to never see these nurses again. I’m so embarrassed.

Obviously, this is not a topic many people talk about, but it happens and there’s precautions that can be taken. Please, talk to your doctor and be well informed before starting treatment. I hope this information helps someone.
Do you have any helpful tips to share with those about to start treatment? Even if it’s an awkward suggestion, please share away. You never know who this could help.

  1. Frances says:

    good to know…thanks for sharing !!!

  2. I can comprehend so much about what you are saying Dabney … I have not ever experienced what you have been through; but I watched my sweet brother go through horrendous chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant treatment … the Doctors in Intensive Care had never seen such a horrific case of thrush … it went all the way through his digestive system … start to finish. Praise God you live to share … xx

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