So sorry to hear that you're dealing with this. It's been only 6 months since my diagnosis, and I'm still figuring it all out.
My experience with chemo might not be the same as other people's, but I can't encourage you strongly enough to give it a try.
For me the choice was easy. I was diagnosed in March, and suddenly, before having a chance to start chemo, I got very sick--loss of appetite, fatigue, weight loss, nightly fevers, and occasional vomiting. The insertion of stents gave me immediate relief, but my doctor told me I only had "a few months" if I didn't start chemo. I felt I had nothing to lose, and I expected the worst based on my prior knowledge of chemo from old movies.
In the five months of going through chemo, I have vomited only twice (one time after each of the first 2 treatments). I have had slight bouts of nausea for a day or two afterwards and some profound fatigue in the beginning, but I have not vomited a single time in 5 months. My fevers diminished after 2 weeks and have not returned. A CT scan after 3 months showed that all of my tumors and involved lymph nodes have shrunk. The primary mass in my liver was reduced by a third. I have been feeling well enough to travel, bike, walk, and spend lots of quality time with friends and family (though I am no longer working).
My weight gain (15 to 20 pounds-depending on the day) can be attributed to a number of reasons. At first I lost weight, so once my appetite returned I treated myself to whatever I wanted to eat to get back to my normal weight. Plus, before I got sick, I was used to being very active (working out and running) and my normal eating habits included many more calories than I can burn now that I'm less active. Furthermore, I'm doing a little bit of comfort eating as a consolation for having cancer--why not have dessert? and French fries? Pizza? Sure!
The doctor also said my weight could be affected by the steroids I get during chemo treatments. She has now recommended that since I'm not getting nauseous, she will eliminate the steroids.
I did not lose any hair, but I resolved that I wouldn't care if I did. Maybe a guy can get away with that easier than a woman can?
After 4 months I had my first setback. The cisplatin did cause some hearing damage, so they stopped it immediately and replaced it with carboplatin which is much less toxic. The hearing loss is not a big deal. It's more noticeable in a crowded restaurant than in a small room. I have that echo-like feeling you get the day after sitting near the speakers at a loud concert.
Overall, I am very happy with the results of the chemo. I never thought I'd feel as well as I do now.
If you'd like to contact me personally for more information, you can e-mail me directly at email@example.com. I wish you well. It's great that you have a local support group.