The only side effects I faced after my first chemo treatment were a headache, fatigue, and a dry throat. The headache only lasted a couple of days after the treatment, and the fatigue was more than manageable. When I mentioned these to my nurse, she revealed to me that the headache most likely came not from the chemo but from the anti-nausea medicine. Yesterday, she gave me a different anti-nausea medicine with my second round of chemo, and I am happy to report that I do not have a headache. I am tired and a little nauseous, but it’s nothing major. I can’t remember the last Saturday I spent reading and napping on the couch, so I really can’t complain.
I discovered that my fatigue is due to my low hemoglobin levels or anemia. An average woman ranges from 12 – 16 g/dL, and I was at 11.8 yesterday. That doesn’t seem like much, and it’s not at all something to worry about, but it is enough to make me tired.
Hemoglobin is the iron-containing protein in my red blood cells that transfers oxygen from my lungs to other parts of my body.
Here’s an illustration of red blood cells with red Volkswagen Beetles; you can see the hemoglobin because it’s what makes the red blood cells red. It’s not what makes the red Beetles red.
Here’s a picture of a bunch of red Power Rangers in a New York City subway. They all have hemoglobin. Given their obvious exuberance for red power, we can only assume their hemoglobin levels are just fine.
I learned that I need to increase my iron, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin C, and folic acid intake to raise my levels.
I enjoyed a kale and strawberry smoothie this morning, I had lentil soup for lunch, and I have beef stew on the stove.
Go Team Hemoglobin!