Struggling with chemotherapy.

New Contributor

Struggling with chemotherapy.

Hey. I'm new. I got a diagnosis of bowel cancer last year, in November, but a week later, a talented surgeon cut it out of me. I'm currently five cycles into an eight-cycle-program of chemo.


It really sucks. It's a bastard, and I feel like I'm falling apart, a little bit. I know this is silly because this is the recovery part, this the part where I'm making progress to beat this horrible thing. And you know, you hear the word 'chemotherapy' and you don't think, "This'll be fun!" or, "This'll be easy!" And I feel so guilty and self-indulgent, on top of everything else, because I just think, people have it so worse, you're actually making progress, some peopel don't even get that.


But I can't remember what food or drink tastes like. Everything tastes foul. My body's not working properly, there are so many growths and warts downstairs and the smell just follows me around all day and I can't stop it (and the warts just bleed all over stuff). My head is a mess and I'm bouncing between sad and angry, and not much else. I'm so thirsty, but my throat hurts. I sobbed for an hour in front of the TV last night, I'm just not coping well. I'm sorry if someone reading this has it far worse than me, I don't mean to trivialise your pain, but I just can't cope. I don't know how strong I am, but I know I'm not strong enough to keep this up indefinitely.


And this is really hard and I'm so sick of it.

Super Contributor

Re: Struggling with chemotherapy.

Hi Pete,


Don't be so hard on yourself!  Everyone handles pain differently - it's all relative.  What might feel like a pin prick to someone, may feel like a knife stab to someone else.  Never trivialise what pain you are feeling because to YOU it is painful.  Your GP should be able to prescribe you some pain relief.


I have terminal kidney cancer & I'm on an oral chemo.  It is a tablet which I take every day until either it stops working or I can't handle the side effects anymore.   At the moment, my mouth is so sensitive it hurts to even talk sometimes, let alone eat anything.  Like you, my taste buds have gone nuts & it hurts to swallow.  I also had radiaiton on my jaw recently as I have a bone met there as well.  So the pain from the drug combined with the pain from the radiation is quit alot to take.  Because I wasn't eating properly, my GP prescribed Xylocain Viscous for me because it numbs the mouth enough for me to eat.  Mind you, it tastes absolutely horrible & burns while I'm using it, but it does let me get some food in.


My chemo also causes a few problems in the downstairs area - may I suggest some salt water baths to help keep the area clean.  While it does sting a bit, salt water is very good for healing things.


Is there someone in your life you can talk to about how you're feeling?  You can also access a counsellor or social worker just to talk to about how you feel - get things off your chest.  It's not easy, going through treatment like we are, but having someone to talk to always makes me feel better.

You should be able to get a referal from either your Oncologist or GP to a dietitian as well.  They will be able to give you a script for food supplements if you need it, as well as other information to help with your eating.


Just remember, you're more than halfway through the treatment cycle.   Try to look at the positives in things that happen throughout your day.  I realise that may seem hard, but there is usually something.

Also, don't forget, you can download on this site at anytime.  That's what it's here for - to get some support from other people going through the same or similar stuff.  Perhaps even just writing it down might be of some help.  


Take care Pete


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