Chemo, Steroids, Mood Swings and Bitchiness

My poor sister is in the worst of Adriamycin Cytoxan (AC) right now.  When the bottom falls out of her cell count, she feels like dying, she knows she is being poisoned, feels the death of her body, can’t get off the La-Z-Boy, and is so miserable there aren’t words to describe it.  If you have been there, you know.  It is so painful for me to watch.  I rarely cried during my own chemo nightmare because it made me feel worse.  Watching and empathizing with Diann, I cry.  I feel what she is feeling, and I’ve been there.  It is worse watching and listening to her than it was for me going through it.  But, on the other side, I laugh a lot too, at Diann’s expense.

Steroid Bitchiness – there really isn’t anything more pleasant you can call it. “Mood swings” may be a little more gentle, but the mood is always swinging in one direction.  And no medical person really tells you to expect a different person to emerge.   My mild-mannered, kind hearted, rather soft spoken sister has become a truck driver swearing, outspoken, raving maniac!!  The other night I took her for a drive so she could get out of her house.  As the drive began, I heard more swear words coming out of her mouth beginning with a “B” and an “F” than I had heard from her during her lifetime.   I can’t help but laugh at her because her personality is so opposite her usual pre-chemo self.  Yesterday I told her, “Diann, I’m not going to lie to you, I’m a little afraid of you!”   Then we both burst out into laughter!


I did warn her this personality change would occur.  Now I was leaning toward the menopausal side of bitchy before chemo, but it still really reared its ugly head to the extreme.  Some examples stay with me and cause me to laugh even now!  My insurance agent dropped me and gave me to a new agent because during chemo when my insurance carrier wouldn’t cover severe storm damage and every other house in my neighborhood had coverage, words came out of my mouth I didn’t even think I knew!  I created a scene in Walmart when a woman ahead of me had about 84 items in a 20 item or less line. You understand the frustration of that one, but this time I could not hold it in.   It was such a scene that the entire line of people behind me and this filled-to-the-top cart person erupted into applause when I got done with my tirade!

My family members and a few understanding friends laughed at me as they thought I was funny.  Now I understand as I listen to Diann!  People who don’t know you that well or don’t understand about steroids, chemo and the impact they have on your mouth and moods really don’t know what to do with you!

If your loved one is going through chemo, they really cannot help or stop their behavior!  Chemo and drugs took the filters away.  The filters do come back, but it just takes awhile. And in the meantime, the anger helps them deal with the suffering they are experiencing.   Laugh with them, cry with them, and understand their moods and behavior.  It is not easy, but do it anyway!

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