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Symptoms: Before, during and after treatment

I'm gonna talk about all the symptoms I experienced through this whole ordeal. Some of it is not very pleasant, but I want to talk about it to hopefully help someone out their looking for answers. I know I talked a little bit about it in previous posts, but I really didn't go into too much detail, or tell everything.

To start, one of the first symptoms I experienced was abnormal bleeding. I did talk about this earlier, but didn't really dive into it as I should have.  I had bleeding in between periods, but the red flag really was bleeding during and after sex.  I was a little afraid to talk about that part, but it needs to be talked about. It wasn't every time at first, just a little here and there, but enough to know something wasn't right. The bleeding in between periods was light, and I really did think that it was possibly PCOS. More like hoping. That would be better than the possibility of cancer.  Those were really the only symptoms I experienced leading up to going to the doctor. No pain other wise and healthy other wise.

During treatment I experienced a lot of different symptoms. The nausea came first. A few days after I had my first chemo treatment I started getting nauseous. I combated that with saltine crackers and just ate. Eating helped me with the nausea. Then I got the bad metallic taste in my mouth.  They told me I would likely get that with the chemo I was on, but I didn't think I would. But it was awful. I could drink out of anything that had metal. No cans of soda, my drink cup that was metal. Nothing. It all tasted nasty to me all of a sudden. And coffee started tasting weird. That sucked because I love coffee! It was like that for a few weeks then the tummy problems started kicking in.

Once I started the brachytherapy, I really wasn't feeling good.  I would feel super bloated and my stomach just hurt. I started having either diarrhea or constipation or both. It was weird. The first two or three days after brachytherapy I just felt awful. But I tried my hardest to function. I would get my treatment on a Friday, and the weekend I would just feel like crap. Towards the end, I wouldn't want to eat or drink much the Sunday after treatment.  I didn't feel real great about myself either.  I was really bloated for along time. Another symptom I experienced was the steroids the doctor had me on to help with the chemo made me bloat up and made my face rounder. I just felt like a mess and I couldn't get my crap together.

The other thing that happened was the fatigue.  I don't mean just the needing to take an afternoon nap, which I did. But the feeling of being out of shape climbing stairs or hills. They didn't tell me that kind of fatigue would happen but it did.  I'm not sure if it was from the chemo or radiation, I kind of think now looking back it was the chemo, but that hung on forever. It still affects me a little a year later. Not as bad as the beginning, but I'm working on strengthening my lungs and body back up.

It took awhile after I was done with treatment to start to feel a little more normal. At least a new normal for me.  The metallic taste went away about a month after my last chemo.  A few weeks after my last brachytherapy I didn't feel as bloated, they told me that would take a few months. By September I mostly felt good. More normal than I had in a while.  That didn't last long.

The beginning of November I started getting stomach aches again. I thought at first I had a stomach bug. I had gotten sick at work one day and went home and called in the next day.  I felt a little better after a few days and even went out with my girlfriends bowling for the weekend. The morning after bowling I got sick again. 

I felt good that Monday and went to work, and then Tuesday had severe stomach pain and after work went to the emergency room.  They had me do a CT scan to see what was going on and saw that my intestines looked inflamed and swollen so they referred me to a gastroenterologist. The gastroenterologist office called me the next day and got me scheduled, but the soonest they could get me in was in December, six weeks away. It felt like forever away, and I didn't think I would be able to wait. I scheduled my three month check up with my gyno oncologist and seen her and asked if she knew of a gastro I could see sooner.  She couldn't get me in anywhere sooner. In the mean time, I was getting really sick at least once or twice a week. And I mean throwing up, diarrhea. I even started to have blood when I went number two. I was really scared and I did let the doctor know what was going on.

I finally saw the gastro, and he went and scheduled me for a colonoscopy to really take a look at what was going on. He said based on my symptoms, it was likely damage from the radiation, but wouldn't know for sure until he could get a better look.  I had the colonoscopy a week later along with a endoscopy to look at my stomach.  He said my stomach looked good and just prescribed me an antacid. My small intestines were red and inflamed and he wasn't sure why, and my large intestines looked good, but were still inflamed from the radiation. He also saw that I had an ulcer on my colon, along the wall closest to my vaginal wall. He said it looked like the radiation tried to burn a whole through, but didn't get that far. He diagnosed me with Radiation enteritis, which is inflammation caused by radiation.  I got prescribed an anti inflammatory and scheduled to see him in a few months for a follow up.  I also tried to change my diet at that time because a lot of foods were making me sick.  That was hard at the time because it was the holidays. It took awhile, but I started feeling better after about a month for the most part. I will go more in detail in another post, I made this longer than I meant too. 

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