The Straight Scoop on Pancreatic Cancer Chemotherapy
Pancreatic cancer chemotherapy was the first step in mom's treatment plan. We dreaded the day mom had to start her chemotherapy.
Of course, we wanted to get started as soon as possible, and do everything we could to halt that tumor in its tracks. But chemo?
Everyone has heard the horror stories about chemotherapy treatment: Vomiting, Hair Loss, Fatique, Cracking Skin, Blood Transfusions. Defintely not something to look forward to.
We not only dreaded it, but were somewhat fearful as well. With mom's background as a nurse, she knew better than most how quickly the potential side effects could become life threatening.
So, to combat the fear, we did the research. Better prepared than blindsided. That was the plan anyway.
And, actually, it did work. Learning about the pancreatic cancer chemotherapy process took a lot of that fear and replaced it with a certain amount of confidence or control.
Might sound strange, but that was our mindset. Doing nothing left the cancer growing unchecked. We saw the chemo as a pro-active step in stopping that tumor growth. Irregardless of the side effects, at least we were doing something. Mom felt she was taking back a little of the control, feeling more in charge.
Of course, that was before the chemo started. The side effects were humbling to say the least.
But first, let me share in the simplest way I know how, what chemotherapy treatment is:
Chemotherapy is a treatment with one or more anticancer drugs that kill cancer cells.
That's it, in a nutshell.
Or as my dad so profoundly said,
It's dumping a whole lot of poison into mom's body and hoping that it kills the cancer cells before it kills mom.
Thanks, Dad. Feeling much better now.
But, therein lies the huge problem with chemo. The anticancer drugs are, in essence, toxic to the human body. They are also toxic to the cancer cells. Sometimes, we just can't have our cake and eat it too.
Pancreatic Cancer Chemotherapy Treatment relies on just a hand-full of anticancer drugs. These anticancer drugs can either be injected (given as a shot in a vein) or infused into a blood vessel(slowly given to the patient through an IV) or taken by mouth. Mom has been on most. Some were more effective for her than others. All had their own host of issues.
Early on in mom's journey, the doctors recommended that she get a medi-port to more easily facilitate the administration of her chemotherapy. The port looks a little horrendous at first, but has been a true godsend through-out the chemo, reducing the need for multiple needle sticks and painful i.v.s in her arms.
Check here for more information on a medi port.
The information in this article is based on personal experience. It's our story. It cannot take the place of a visit to your health care provider. It is shared only as a reference. If you or a loved one is currently struggling with the issue of chemo treatment, it is my hope that this guide can give you a better understanding of the chemotherapy treatment plans your doctor may be discussing with you.
It is my experience that knowledge is power. So read, absorb, think on and then discuss with confidence the chemotherapy treatment plans that your doctor suggests. And participate wholly in the decisions regarding your body and your life.
Don't ever forget that you're in the driver seat with your pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Use this guide as a map for your treatment. A map from someone who's been down this road, but please know that you can take a detour anytime. You may just find the destination and treatment that is perfect for you.
Send a postcard when you arrive!