When To Call The Doctor

In 2014, I was diagnosed with Lung Cancer and have been in active treatment ever since. I go every two weeks to have Opdivo (immunotherapy) infusions (into a vein). In 2017, when I was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer in the lining of my bladder, the standard protocol is BCG treatments. These treatments are also within the immunotherapy category for treatments.

In the very beginning we (my medical team and I) worried about the effects on my immune system with two immunotherapies. I was immediately switched to another medication, Mitomycin. I was told it was just like BCG but just a different type of medication.

Coping with side effects

The first 2 weeks I had the normal side effects but a bit more intense. More fatigue. More urgency to urinate and most of all, worsening bladder spasms. This went on for about a week and after my third treatment it all intensified. I should have called my doctors office at this point but I didn't. I thought, these are the side effects and I should suck it up and deal with it.

Getting worse

Looking back that was NOT a great idea. I knew the pain was getting worse but it wasn't until I broke out in hives from my neck to my toes that I called my medical team. They instructed me to stop the Mitomycin treatments and take Benadryl until the hives went away. For nine days, I was miserable. In all honesty, lack of sleep was the worst. Who can sleep when your body constantly itches, you are getting up every hour to urinate and non-stop cramping/spasms in my bladder.

Don't wait until it becomes unbearable

Any type of cancer treatment can cause side effects but they should not be debilitating. There are multiple type of medications that can help. My mistake was waiting too long. Be aware of your body and how it is reacting to every treatment you receive. Please don't wait until it become unbearable.

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