How long does chemo affect you after treatment has ended?

I finished chemo on the 9th Feb and radiotherapy 8th March. I’m feeling good and now back at work after a really good phased return.

Im still having Herceptin injections and in my second month of taking Anastrozole but I’ve got lots of small niggly things going on.

  1. I keep getting ulcers on my tongue, not terrible but enough to feel uncomfortable 

  2. my throat is often dry and scratchy

  3. previous to my cancer diagnosis I had very well controlled asthma but since my treatment has finished I find myself very breathless, particularly when out walking. I’ve been to my GP and she said it will be my body still recovering. My peak flow is down too. I’m using my inhalers a lot. 

On the plus side my hair is growing brilliantly and I have much more energy. I’m coping emotionally  ok and try to remain positive and try not to worry about reccurance. I’m glad to be back doing fun, normal things but the little niggles get me down. (We won’t mention the insomnia and joint pains ) 

Lou x

Hi Lou

If I’m anything to go by (but I was 68 when I finished treatment) things might ease off, they might not. Did you have radiotherapy to your collar bone as well as chest wall? I ask because my throat is constantly dry, my voice scratchy and I blame radiotherapy for that. I can find no other logical explanation. There’s a small area of scarring on my lung (which I was warned about) but I attribute my breathlessness to chemo fatigue. OK, I’ve been very unlucky and I’m back on chemo so it may be that, but I never felt fit in the time between treatments. Having said that, there was lockdown so I couldn’t get my usual swim/gym exercise.

I have always been prone to ulcers and had a bad time during my first chemo but now I use a mouthwash regularly through the day (just one swill) and even if I bite my tongue, next day it’s sorted. It’s a herbal treatment the Haven’s medical herbalist recommended. You brew dried marigold leaves in an infuser for 10 minutes. Use the liquid for the mouthwash and if you have an ulcer, use some of the steeped petals to make a kind of compress. It’s a bit cumbersome but I have found it really works - a row of tiny ulcers on my lip, caused by dry mouth and mask for hours at the hospital, vanished after a 15 minute messy compress. It’s all tasteless, gentle and (for me) it works. You can buy them from health shops, online, amazon etc for about £5 and it lasts at least a few months. It might be worth a try?

It’s really good to read the positives like more energy, back at work, emotionally good. The hair growth is wonderful isn’t it, so soft and so difficult not to stroke it! There is no point thinking about recurrence, beyond being vigilant about any changes anywhere in the body (who’d have expected a tumour by the eyelid??). If it happens, you’ll deal with it. But statistically it shouldn’t happen so why spend time fretting over it? You’re right. Move on. You’ve actually made a quick recovery - I’m impressed! 

All the best

Jan xx