Chemo 3/12

Three Taxol-Herceptin treatments down, nine to go.  I’m a quarter done now!

It is clear I’ve become far more relaxed about the treatments as time goes on.  Two weeks ago at the first session my blood pressure was sky high, around 162/84, a clear sign of the anxiety swirling around not knowing how the drugs would affect me and whether we could fit the Cold Caps correctly.  Now that I know what to expect, that number dropped to today’s very laid-back 122/62.

A couple of days ago I asked whether we could taper the steroid premed since I haven’t experienced any allergic reactions to the Taxol.  So my oncology pharmacist suggested we halve the dexamethasone to 5mg.  Because this lower dose still didn’t result in any allergic reactions today, I’ll ping the pharmacist again before next week’s appointment and ask whether we can cut even more.

A few nurses and the pharmacist stopped by to see how my hair was doing and were happy to see it’s all still there.  One even came by to ask whether a new patient could contact me to ask about my experience with Cold Caps (yes, I’ll call her tomorrow).  Meanwhile, my attending nurse reiterated what I’d posted here before:  we’ll know whether the Cold Caps are effective by the 4th treatment on Day 22.  Typically patients would have experienced hair loss in entire clumps by then.  BTW, today’s loss (Day 15) numbered around 30+ hairs, down from Sunday’s observation.

I’m pushing the fluids.  I have consumed 3.25 quarts so far today and need just 0.75 quart more before morning (total:  1 gallon for the day).

I wasted at least five minutes this evening painstakingly removing the moleskin adhesive from my forehead and temple area with Aquaphor and a tissue.  Arrrgh!  I really need to investigate more padding options with somewhat less effective adhesion.  Aside from the one glaring flaw, though, the moleskin has provided dependable protection.  The padding provided by the feminine products, meanwhile, gave adequate protection but could have stuck a lot better.

One more thing.  I just wanted to give an example of how I’ve been in high hypochondriac mode in checking for side effects.  Well before sunrise, I awoke and dressed by moonlight for an early morning walk.  As I was putting on a jacket, I noticed my right ring fingertip was painful to touch.  Oh no, I thought, I’ve only had 2 sessions, and already I’m experiencing marked peripheral neuropathy on one finger.  This was bad:  if it started this early with one finger, maybe it would spread to all of my hands and feet in no time and I wouldn’t be able to finish the adjuvant treatment.  Fortunately, before freaking out further and looking up my oncologist’s home phone number to plead for answers at 5.30am, I turned on the light. There was a new cut on the suspect fingertip.  Insert sheepish realization.  Maybe it wasn’t peripheral neuropathy after all.

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