Unfortunately, taking chemotherapy drugs is no walk in a wildflower-filled park. Often times, the side effects could be stressful, frustrating, and even dangerous. My sister Erica was fortunate enough to bypass the really nauseous feeling. Rarely did she get sick, but she did fight with the food aversions. Even though my sister took chemo in stride and made it through with little disruption, it was not all butterflies and roses. She definitely had a few issues. Her fingernails and toenails took the biggest beating.
Erica had been watching her nails slowly deteriorate. Often times with chemo, nails will change. They may look yellowed or bruised. They may have blemishes on top of the nails. Nails can become brittle and thin allowing them to break easily. Nails can start to lift off the nail beds making it easier for bacterial infections.
Erica’s nail beds started to bubble, in what the doctor presumed were blisters. This caused her feet and hands to hurt. She felt extensive pressure under her nails. When the blisters could no longer grow, they would burst and begin to leak fluid. Her nails started to harden, yellow, and lift away from the nail bed. Unfortunately, because they were lifting, her nails could easily allow the bacteria in. With a compromised immune system, an infection set in. An antibiotic was prescribed, her toenails were trimmed to alleviate the pressure from the major blisters, and her next chemotherapy session was postponed until her infection was cleared.
I remember Erica’s disappointment in having to postpone chemo. She was doing so well, stayed healthy by staying active and eating right, yet an infection was something to not take lightly. She was able to take everything in stride. Deciding to follow through with the prescribed chemotherapy is not an easy decision. Often times that decision comes with set-backs, like infections. These set-backs at times may cause more frustration when it is something you just want to get over and done with as quickly as possible. Like my sister, utilizing your perseverance will help you push through to the end.
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