What's It Really Like Going Through Chemotherapy?
Aug 05, 2018 Cedars-Sinai Staff
Being diagnosed with cancer is scary and confusing enough on its own. Add in what may lie ahead—surgery, radiation, chemotherapy—and the fear can be amplified.
Kim Tronic knows this all too well. At 36, she was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer and her care team recommended a treatment plan that included 18 weeks of chemo.
Kim has successfully completed her treatment and today she's cancer free. Now, she's determined to help alleviate the fears of other patients and share what she learned about going through chemo.
Kim Tronic's 10 "chemo truths"
It's more uneventful than you think. You ready for some Netflix and chill? Put your feet up, binge watch a new series, or take a nap. Your treatment will likely be laid back (dare I say relaxing?), which means ample time for TV, movies, and laughing with your nurses.
It doesn't hurt. In fact, you won't really feel anything other than sleepiness and maybe an urge to grab all the good snacks from the nurse's station. Pro tip: snag some honey graham crackers before they're gone!
You're stronger than you think you are. Yes, cancer is scary, and you're about to embark upon a bumpy journey, but you'll soon discover the depth of your strength. (Spoiler alert: You're a tough cookie.)
You're not alone. Remember that you've got a compassionate team of doctors, nurses, and staff here to support you. And there's a HUGE community of cancer survivors out there waiting to welcome you with open arms. Get ready for lots of hugs!
It's not as depressing as it looks on TV. The chemo infusion center at Cedars-Sinai is full of warmth, kindness, and positivity. Everyone is here to help you get healthy! Oh, and did I mention therapy dogs from the POOCH program?
Everyone reacts differently to the side effects. There are many factors that determine how your body will handle the chemo, but you'll probably react better than you think you will. Sure, some days will be rocky, but that's only temporary. I promise.
The worst thing to fear is fear itself. Chances are your anticipation and fears will be worse than the actual treatments. Try not to let your mind run wild with worst-case scenarios. Thinking positively will have a wonderful impact on your experience.
It affects you mentally. You know about the physical side effects, but you'll probably experience mental/emotional ones, too. Your body and mind are being pushed to the brink right now, but you're resilient and you will bounce back.
It'll be over before you know it. Time can tick by slowly, but try to make some days special (yes, you should buy that new pair of shoes and get a massage). Treatment rolls by faster when you have things to look forward to.
When you're finished, it's the best feeling in the world and also one of the weirdest. During treatment, you feel a sense of safety as your team takes care of you. When you're done, you may experience a "Well, now what?" mentality. Just know that everything will eventually return to normal—and you'll forever remain a hero and inspiration to others.