The Ugly Side of Chemo

September 23, 2014 at 11:01 am (My ramblings) (, )

Sept 2014 2Chemo is the most horrendous thing I’ve ever been through in my life and I’ve been through a lot. There aren’t adequate words to describe the way it makes you feel. I’ve never seen anyone go through it and the only thing I ever knew about it was what I saw on TV. I thought it was just going bald and throwing up a lot and I wished that’s all it was. You may not want to read this post because I have decided to be brutally honest. Don’t get me wrong, I still know that God is on the throne and that He is working out everything for my good but that doesn’t mean I have to feel good about it.

I had my 4th infusion last Wednesday and I still feel very weak and fatigued. It’s a different kind of fatigue then just being tired. It’s a deep down in your bone tired where it takes all your energy just to walk up a flight of stairs. Since I’m bald now, my showers take about 5 minutes and by the time I’m done, I have to lay down and rest. I can barely walk through a grocery store without having to stop to rest. I thought having Fibromyalgia was bad but that’s a cakewalk compared to chemo. I constantly feel like I’ve run a 100 mile marathon and my legs are very shaky and weak. I’ve been anemic so I’m sure that’s not helping and unfortunately chemo anemia can’t be cured by taking iron. The only way to get my red blood cells up is to have a transfusion, which I will have to have soon.

For some reason, yesterday and today have been the hardest days for me emotionally. I get out of the shower and look in the mirror and I see myself with no hair and my pale pallor and I can’t help crying. I only starting my breast cancer journey 3 months ago and to see the changes in such a short time saddens me. I’m not talking about vanity here but the reality of cancer and the devastating effects of chemo. I keep telling myself that chemo is not the enemy, it’s the solution but my body feels differently. I’m just praying that it will not be for nothing and it will kill all the cancer cells.

I’m grateful that I only have 2 more treatments then I’ll be done with the hardest part. I will still have to have an infusion of one of the medicines every 3 weeks for a year but those side effects are manageable. I have to meet with the specialist and the plastic surgeon next month to determine the type of surgery I will need. I’m almost certain that I will be having a bilateral mastectomy and the thought of having several more surgeries for that is more than I can handle right now. I’ve had 9 surgeries in the last 12 years and I’m just not looking forward to more.

I can say that I know how David felt when he penned Psalm 13,

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, Lord my God.

Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall. 

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.

I know this is a season that will pass. I know that my great God will carry me through. I know that in the end, I’ve already won because I know how the story will end so I will sing the Lord’s praise. He has been and will continue to be good to me because He loves me with an everlasting love. He knows when I am weak and He knows my every need and thought and He delights in me. This is the reason that I can be so discouraged in my body but so strong in my spirit. I can have a meltdown like this morning but as I open my Bible and focus on God’s plan for my life, I can’t help but be encouraged. God knew that when He created me I would face this battle. He knew that I would need an amazing husband by my side. He knew that my husband, who lost his first wife to cancer, would know exactly how to love and support me and his kids through this. He knew that I would be reconciled to my family because I would need them. He knew that my mom would eventually become my best friend. He knew that I would need my faithful puppy, Kiku, to never leave my side, to lay with me for hours on end and to just love me unconditionally. He knew that ultimately I would need a personal relationship with Him and I am most grateful that He never gave up on me, even during times when I grievously sinned against Him. I made the decision to trust and follow Christ 13 years ago and my life has never been the same. I know without a doubt that I would not have been able to go through this without Him.

I need your prayers like never before because I am feeling overwhelmed and weary. I am reminded of Moses when Joshua and the Israelites were fighting against the Amalekites. When Moses had his arms raised, the Israelites were winning but when he became tired and lowered them, the Amalekites were winning. Aaron and Hur stood at his side and propped up his arms so that Joshua was able to defeat the Amalekites. This is exactly what I need right now. I need my friends and family to prop up my arms because I am getting tired. I have a long way to go to defeat this cancer and I know without a doubt, that all things are possible for him who believes and I do believe.



  1. Leo Lounsbury said,

    Our dear sister: We are praying for you. Hang in there; you know God has a special plan for you. We love you and will continue to lift you up to our dear Lord Jesus..

  2. Brian Lonergan said,

    The body of christ is praying for you, God gave me the verse Isaiah 41:10.
    Be encouraged, you are a warrior. In heart, mind, body and soul….Psalm 23 says yeh though I walk through the valley. The point being you are working through this, and your faith and support from others will carry you through this.

  3. Kimberly Spicer said,

    You are an incredible strong woman of God. You are always and will continue to be in my prayers. God is holding you in the palm of His hand.

  4. Rebecca Gumbs said,

    Oh Rachel, I pray that you experience the green pastures and still waters that our Lord promised to His sheep of which you are certainly a faithful one. Love you.

  5. Wendy said,

    Thank you for your honesty. I hurt for you and wish I could make you feel better… but I promise to continue praying for you everyday, and Steve and I pray together for you too. Thankful for the things you shared you are thankful for!

  6. samanthakh4 said,

    Thoughts and prayers for you. Stay strong!

  7. Pete Guyette said,

    We will continue to lift you up in our prayers

  8. Chichi said,

    You are an Inspiration! I pray that the Lord gives you strength for this time because surely you will get through it and there will be testimonies at the end of it. Thank you!

  9. said,

    Can’t like this one Rachel and I thank you for your honesty!. I pray that God will bring extra comfort, peace and strength ….just for today. Sending more hugs and prayers.

  10. mary kevin said,

    my heart goes out to you. I know your strong in the Lord but living through the physical troubles is tough on anyone. know that we are holding your hands up toward our God. He will complete all He has for you.

  11. Peggy Otis said,

    2 Corinthians 12:9 New King James Version (NKJV)

    “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

    May the power of our Lord Jesus rest upon you sis! We are standing in the gap for you. It is well with your soul in Jesus name!

  12. Sherri said,

    Dimitri and I are praying for you and Ken. I know you can do all things with Christ’s strength and because when we are weak He is strong I know you will have the strength you need! We are all standing with you by lifting you up to the Lord! And we know you are” in it to win it” so we claim the victory is at hand! Love you!

  13. Magdalene Rose said,

    Rachel, I am praying for you daily. You are an inspiration to me and all of Team July. God bless you, sweet sister.

  14. Hillary said,

    Rachel, I will be praying for you. Words seem so empty right now after reading your post. I am so proud of you for being honest and clinging to God during this season in your life. Please know that I am praying for you daily. Your life is an inspiration to many. (((HUGS))) Hillary

  15. Aaron Vance said,

    Beloved Friend,

    May the Holy Spirit be with you, and comfort you in your times of need. Continue to hold the hand of He that holds tomorrow, and forever may Peace be with you. My thoughts and prayers, intercession through supplication are there to life you, through Our Lord and Savior, Our bodies will change, and betray us, but Our God will never leave us, nor forsake us. Salvation is ours and no matter what storms we face. Victory Is Ours!!!!!

    God continue to bless, and keep you my friend.

    Bear (Aaron Vance)

  16. Lynn Melvin said,

    Thanks for sharing Rachel, you are fighting the good fight & please know I may not physically be there to hold you up I am lifting your name before the Lord. Chemo is a VERY tough road & sadly some can not walk it, like my Dad, but praying that God will sustain you to the end & you DO feel His loving presense around you – even when you’re too weak to care on know that He can + will be right there with you!! Wearing your shirt with pride.

  17. Kathy said,

    Rachel, we don’t know each other, but I saw your post on a friends FB and I had to comment. This is something I rarely discuss, but I wanted to encourage you. When I finished my last chemo treatment my friend and husband stood on either side of me and raised my arms in victory. Then I rang the victory bell (CTCA has a bell for patients to ring when they finish radiation and/or chemo). The bell symbolized to me a fighter in the ring and the enemy having been knocked out! When they raised my arms that day I immediately recalled the story of Aaron and Hur holding up Moses’ arms enabling Joshua to have the victory. So you can imagine how touched I was by your story and especially by your bible reference! (We have a picture of them raising my arms that day, all 94 lbs of me at that time). I told my husband, “Read this blog, this woman has just expressed what I was unable to put into words.” When I went through treatments I was so tired I hardly had breath to speak, and that is not an exaggeration, I could hardly hold a conversation. I would tell my husband, “It’s like walking through the desert in 100 degrees for hours on end, then getting a sip of water. That sip of water just doesn’t suffice.” You described it as a 100 mile marathon, I believe we’re saying the same thing. It is a feeling of neediness that is beyond description. I too became a Christian later in life, just 10 years ago, and I’m grateful I had Him to go through it with me. It has been one year now and I am cancer free. Thank You, Jesus! Be encouraged , “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will HELP you.” Isa 41:13

  18. Dave Newell said,

    Dear Rachel,

    Your update is very sobering. Thanks for being so transparent and real. I want to be part of your team that helps to Prop up your arms in prayer.

  19. David M said,

    Reading your story for the first time, I am praying for you that God will heal you and strengthen you and help you to know for certain above all else, that He is close to you and will never forsake you. May his peace be your very breath…the Holy Spirit is in you. Take courage. In the name of Jesus Christ, let it be done. With his love.

  20. Annie Z. said,

    My heart aches for this trial you are walking through, Rachel. Both you and Kenny. What the friend of a Facebook friend said was more encouragement and inspiration than I could ever provide, but how amazing is God to bring her to you! You are in my constant prayers.

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