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Headaches after treatment

Hello all.  I am 6 weeks out from completing my chemo treatment and have been experiencing headaches.  I also am experiencing more fatigue and soreness in my limbs since finishing treatment.  I am back to work and my work is very physical.  I had a CT scan on Tuesday this week to utilize as a baseline and will get the results next week. My port is not working properly and I am having it removed next week.  Has anyone else experienced any of this or have any insight for me?  This is my first go around with this and I don't see the oncologist that performed the surgery until November of this year.  I have all my questions ready for my local oncologist when I see them for the results of my CT scan next week.  Thank you


  • @Strongwoman
    First of all congratulations on completing your chemo.  That's a major accomplishment we all celebrate so on behalf of our community I'm doing a happy dance for you and hoping your CT scan shows the treatments produced the desired outcome.  Please do keep us posted.  

    I'm sure you'll hear much from others and remember, we are respond and react to treatment differently. In fact, how our body responds to the cancer itself can be very different even when type and stage are the same as others. But I recall experiencing headaches myself . Mine would hit in the middle of the night.  To be honest though I know we made some assumptions on the cause and they stopped but I can't remember what the trigger in my treatment was. I will let you know when it comes to me, which it will eventually. But yes, I did have headaches.

    The fatigue is normal with just about all of us. It carries on post treatment for some time. One of those side effects during treatment that does carry on. But be patient. It is part of natures way of healing. It should get better over time. And the soreness in your limbs may be some post treatment neuropathy...or could be something else. I have continuing neuropathy in my lower legs that has been a constant and have had to learn to live with it'  Others were lucky and it disappeared over time. Again, I can't reinforce enough to be patient in your recovery. Your body has taken a terrible beating over the course of treatment so getting back to normal or a new normal will take time.  That said, and I'm sure you're already intending this, share all of these issues with your oncologiist.  There may be interventions available to make the more tolerable short term. You might also want to discuss the physicality of your work and whether it might be wise to discuss a modified role with your employer while you're still healing.  

    But what you're experiencing is not at all uncommon. See your oncologist first to ensure nothing is more than the normal course of healing and then come back to us. Many of the community will have suggestion you might want to try depending on the cause of your symptoms.  But your cancer care team should always be your first line of defence to ensure whatever you're doing is suitable for your own situation.  

    Hope to hear more from you...please continue to reach out and let us know where you need help. But I hope this, at least, suffices to give you comfort that what you're experiencing is not at all unusual.  

    Big hugs..

  • @ Fearless
       Thank you for your comments and insights. They were helpful.
      Today I went for my CT scan results but the oncologist was different than the one I usually have. Nice lady but she did knock me a little as I had no idea that I wasn't seeing my normal one.  First I will say that she said my CT scan was clear.  Good news...right?
      When I went through what I was experiencing especially the last couple of days, she couldn't explain it and said it is a "phase".  I am in the medical field and none of that sat well with me.  I had pain in my abdomen the length of my incision all night Sunday night to early Monday morning that Daulid didn't touch. I had no appetite on Monday, forced a couple things in me and made it through my work day somehow. The pain subsided as the day went on. Today while I was at the hospital I experienced a grabbing or spasming pain on my right side of my abdomen that decided on its own when it wanted to let go.  The oncologist had no feedback for me on this.  Nothing has changed diet, exercise or work. So I am  confused.  It is not nerve regeneration as it has a different feeling. So in the end she wants me to manage my pain. I let her draw up the prescription but will only take it if necessary. If it occurs again or more often, I will get it explored in a different way.
      My port was removed today and other than being a little tired from it, I am okay.  It is starting to get a little tender now but took Tylenol to manage that.
      Thought you would like the update.
    Take care and thank you for the support.

  • Hi @Strongwoman

    So happy to hear your scan showed no evidence of disease (NED is what we refer to it as). Clearly your primary treatment did what was intended and effectively you're now in  the recovery / surveillance phase.  

    It could be your return to work is too soon and your body is reacting to not having enough healing time.  Your pains could also just be scar tissue/adhesions that form after surgery.  My body has a propensity to build scar tissue after any kind of wound heals so I'm told my entire abdominal area is riddled with adhesions.  Even five years after my surgery I still get twinges and sharp pains from time to time from the adhesions apparently.  And those never have shown up on my scans. It took an abdominal laparoscopy to close my hernia last year for them to see the wall of adhesions.  For some, ultrasounds may show them. 

    But it's truly unfortunate you didn't see the same oncologist that you've been used to.  I know that occurred for me a couple of times and while one took the time to carefully review my file and get to know me in the short time we had together, the other made me feel like just another number in the line up to see her that day.  The latter are times when you do need to advocate for yourself.  The oncologist you saw may have had the right answers to your questions but clearly didn't communicate them in a way that made you feel comfortable.  For you, what you've been experiencing is worrisome since it's "new" and not expected For her it may well be she sees what you're experiencing daily and so her answer and approach are very routine. On the other hand she may not have paid enough attention to your concerns.  If you were me, I'd be thinking "second opinion" if what you're experiencing is not clearing up. Or at the least, wait another week or two and if you haven't seen any improvement go back to her, but this time ensure you get the attention and answers you're seeking.  

     Keep us posted.  Let us know when and if you need any help, or even just a sounding board.  Recovery can have it's own challenges, often just not meeting our expectations of what "returning to normal" really means. So there's no bad question or silly concern. But I do hope this all clears up for you over time and that you remain NED for years to come.  

     Big virtual hugs from all of us...

  • @ Fearless
      Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. :)
    I had my port removed last week right after that appt and I had the bandages removed today and was told I could shower! YAY!!
    My job is physical and I am my own boss and own problem to my issue at times.  It depends on the day and my case load.
    My symptoms have subsided but I did take last week off after my procedure to have the port removed. My body needed it.  The oncologist followed up with me on Friday and I was not experiencing the same issues.  I have prescriptions waiting at my pharmacist should I require them but I am hoping not to fill them. 
    I feel the tiredness/fatigue is my biggest concern now and am slowly accepting that it may be here for a bit yet.  When I look back at what my body has endured since the beginning of the year, I am happy with the progress I have made.  As I tell my clientele, being pregnant takes a year so expect a year to have your body return to it's normal state as well.  I am going with that adage for my diagnosis and treatment as well.  It makes it easier to wrap my head around it.
    Thank you all for your support and being a sounding board through all of this.  It does make a difference!
  • @Strongwoman
    You sound like you're in a much better place today and I expect, as you continue to recover, that will only get better too. Take care. Keep us posted on your progress. Please do share your story with others as they join our community.  And do always feel welcome to reach out anytime you feel you could use some support. We're always here for each other.