Mood Swings During Chemotherapy

Chemo not only destroyed any and all cancer cells, it took my mouth filters away.  It is difficult to hold back anything.  Before Breast Cancer and Chemo, I was tactful at least some of the time, even during Menopause!!  Not any more.  It just comes out of my mouth.   I shock myself, scratch my bald head, and say, “Wow, did I really just make that comment?”    Some of it is freeing, I must admit.  Some of it is funny.  And some is downright rude.   I cannot sort it all out at the time it is happening.

Recently I determined there is a pattern.  I receive Chemo on Tuesday.   My mouth filters are gone on Thursday, Friday and Saturday!  They come back a little on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.   I asked my Chemo Nurse what was going on.   She said it is the steroids. It is mood swings.  Oh, mood swings.  I’ve always heard about that but never knew what that meant!   Sometimes you just swing at whatever is in your path!

Chemo Nurse Lynn has 35 years experience!  She has been the recepient of many mood swings.  “It is normal”, she said. “Be patient with yourself.  It will go away.”  Yippee, I thought!   It is temporary!   She made me laugh about it!  “Take advantage of it,” she said with a chuckle!  “It is the drugs talking!  Some people need to hear what your mood swings have to say,”  proclaims Lynn.

My friends and family have been fabulous to me!  The nicest thing anyone said to me when I was telling them about my unfiltered mouth, “You are going through hell.  Of course you feel that way. I like that you don’t hold anything back.”    Ahhhh, validation.  And another comment that meant so much, “I love you without mouth filters!”   The old unconditional love.  Works every time!   And another one that helped, “You are still your fun self–you are sick and busy right now.”   And another friend always tells me, “Loving you through it no matter what.”    I have the most wonderful friends!

Today at Chemotherapy infusion, Chemo Nurse Lynn asked me if I would speak to another patient who was having a very difficult time on Adriamycin and Cytoxan.  Of course I was eager to speak with her, told her she was going through hell (that worked for me), that no one can possibly understand going through Chemo no matter how much they love you unless they had been through it.  I told her it would get better.  It is okay to feel like dying, and she is receiving poison.  It does not feel like the flu, it is much deeper on a cellular level.   She started crying and told me I was the first person who understood how she felt.  She and I both found meaning in our encounter.  Her husband seemed relieved that someone had gotten through to her.  This was my “no mouth filters” working in a positive way!   Before Chemo, I would not have been that direct.

Next time you are at Wal-Mart, and you hear a woman making a scene, telling the manager how to run the store, demanding Sam Walton’s phone number, oh he died, then get me his son’s number, that will be me.  I am obtaining a discount for the inconvenienced customers because the person at the head of the line has 243 items in a 20 item lane with a price check and an expired credit card.   Accept the discount graciously and run out of the store before I tell you just what I think!



  1. You should always leave your filters at home when shopping at Walmart. It’s the only way to get through it. It sounds like you have very wise and supportive friends and how kind of you to take time to speak with that other woman.

  2. Recently, I decided, I would stop shopping at Walmart and go to Target instead. A few days later, I was back to the long lines of Walmart with my phone or Kindle on my hand. Oh well. I have got to get back to you later…Work, kids ending school year, and over population of dandelions keep me insanely busy these days.

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