Jenguin’s Journey – Facing a Different Front: Dodging Side Effects During Battle

Written by Jenny Williams (aka ‘Jenguin’) – Head for the Cure Ambassador

Watching TV, you’re bound to see one of those commercials for a pharmaceutical drug where they list out the side effects, and somewhere in that fast blurb of side effects, you might overhear the words “…which is serious and may result in death.” You might think, “Why would anyone take that medication?!” I think about that sometimes. I’m taking a couple of drugs that come with some pretty awful side effects, but sometimes it’s worth it when the disease you’re dealing with could take your life.

Jenny’s Side Effects

I’ve been tired. I’ve been queasy. I now take an anti-nausea medication to help me cope with the queasiness, but that comes with its own side effects that I have to manage with over-the-counter laxatives, which also might have some side effects. It seems to be a never-ending loop of ailments, and that in itself is exhausting.

This week, I received an antacid to help with some reflux I had been experiencing. After my first dose and some dinner, I felt hot and incredibly itchy. Looking down at my legs, I noticed some red blotches. My entire body had turned into a minefield of hot spots, tempting me to itch them. It soon became clear that I was having an allergic reaction, and the thought of going to the emergency room during a pandemic drove me into a state of panic.

I did whatever I could to keep the explosive itching at bay while staying home. The next day was filled with around-the-clock Benadryl, phone calls with nurses and rest. 48 hours after it all began, I was itch-free and glad to have dodged a visit to the ER.

Next Blood Check

Life as usual continued with my weekly blood check at the local somewhat-empty hospital. I recounted my itchy experience with the oncologist over the phone when he called me with my lab test results. Despite my unfortunate reaction to the antacid, my blood counts remained stable. A bit on the low end, but nothing to warrant any action. I happily took this small victory in what seems to be a long battle.

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