Medicine has come a long way over the years. With new studies, new technology and new generations of minds, it's incredible the things that we are able to do.
The only downside that is hard to avoid, is side effects. Doctors are able to treat a wide variety of different things, but there is always a list of side effects that follow along. There is never a direct cure for anything.
In late 2014 I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The treatment plan was several cycles of chemotherapy followed by radiation every day for a month. It was a long process but by December 2015, I was told I was in remission. I felt like I could finally breathe again.
However, I had a new problem to deal with. I had to hope that none of the side effects would happen. They told me that due to my age and where the treatment was targeted, I was at a high risk to develop breast and or lung cancer later in life. It was kind of funny to me in a way, they were killing one cancer to put me at risk for new cancers.
I was also at risk for problems with my thyroid and heart. Well, just a few years after going into remission my thyroid levels were off. We waited a few months to see if the problem would correct itself, but it only got worse and I eventually had to go on medication for it. It was then that it kind of hit me that side effects are actually real and not just a list they read off on commercials for no reason.
I am also now on a high blood pressure medication. The concern with it is that it can lower my potassium levels, which can cause problems with my heart if it gets too low. So, we have to do blood work every six months to make sure the levels are OK. I try to eat things with potassium in them as well.
Don't get me wrong, I am thankful that they were able to kill my cancer. I'm thankful that there's medication out there to stabilize my blood pressure. I'm thankful that there's medication for my thyroid so that it doesn't need to be removed. I'm thankful that there's medication to help my bipolar disorder so that I'm able to properly function every day.
My hope is that as medicine further advances they will be able to find more direct treatments to try and avoid some of these side effects.
What treatments or medication have you had that have caused or can cause different side effects? What are your hopes for medicines? You never really think about these things until they affect you directly, but they're real, and they can change your entire life.