Post-BEP Recovery

I apologise, dear readers, for my lack of communication these past several months. You may think that I completed my course of chemotherapy and went happily on my way. While that is true, it did not turn out to be the end of my story. I shall endeavour to fill you on what you have missed during the last 10 months and let you know how things are progressing for me.

The last day of my final BEP chemotherapy cycle was 5 August 2019. I had hoped that the following week would see me feeling somewhat better and more energised, but I was actually still extremely tired and had to take it quite easy most of the time, napping most days. I gradually felt less and less tired over the next few weeks, but it was a slow process. Although I became more and more physically capable, I became tired easily and still had occasional bouts of faintness for a couple of months. It just takes time.

I had to continue taking blood thinning injections twice per day for a month after chemo, which was unpleasant. My belly was getting bruised, sore and lumpy. I started having to inject in other spots that were in better condition, usually in the side of the glutes.

The stinging in my urethra continued for two or three weeks, as did the tinnitus, before gradually subsiding. I still had issues doing certain things with my fingertips a month after chemo finished, but that gradually improved. My finger nails actually got worse before they got better (half of one of my thumb nails actually snapped off after a couple of months). It took a good 9-10 months for the damaged parts of the nails to grow out. Although I had no issues with my toe nails at the end chemo, one of them has since appeared to be damaged in the same way that my finger nails were and I can’t see that growing out for quite a while.

After about three weeks, I noticed some definite facial hair reappearing, but it was thin and soft, unlike regular stubble. Likewise, when I started getting some more growth on my head after a few weeks, it was very soft, like that of a newborn. As it grew, it also proved to be much more curly than usual. After a first proper cut, several months later, the curliness returned to normal.

A bit of downy fuzz after seven weeks
Curly first growth, five months after chemo finished

One thing which I hadn’t expected, is that I started to forget what I was saying half way through saying it. I would often start explaining something to someone only to stop mid way through a sentence with absolutely no idea how I intended to continue, even though I had known exactly what I was going to say when I started speaking. This happened quite often and was both frustrating and at times embarrassing. The worst of that occurred during the first 6-7 months post-chemo, but it is still happening occasionally today.

Things slowly started getting back to normal. I’d say that on the whole, I felt more reasonably capable of getting through a day of normalish activities after 2-3 months (with some exceptions).