Monday, September 10, 2007

Chemo 5/8

This was a botched shot, but a rather sublime one. I think I was having a hot flash as well, just to add to the ordinary spit-and-shine polish.

To friends and family who listened to me talk, and sometimes cry, over the phone last week, love and thanks. I was really low, and you helped bring me up. L & E, thanks especially for sharing the details of your own experiences with me. Knowing someone else was strong enough to get through that helped me feel a little stronger, myself.

The hot flashes have reduced in number and intensity, and (knock on wood), I seem to have regained control of my pelvic muscles. I won't have to add Depends to my shopping list any time soon, thank god. I talked to the nurse about it, and she was mystified. She suggested a prescription for Effexor, an antidepressant used off-label to treat hot flashes. Such a trade-off: the side effects of Effexor vs. the side-effects of my violent hormone fluctuations. I declined, for now.

Today was the first chemo with a new drug, Taxotere, On the plus side, it won't damage my heart, like Adriamycin, and I don't have to take steroids or antinausea meds. On the down side, it can cause peripheral neuropathy, i.e. nerve damage in the fingers and toes. Numbness is a common side-effect; severe reactions to the drug include nail loss and residual pain. I did my research this time, and found a study in France where subjects who wore frozen medical gel gloves during treatment experienced minimal neuropathy.

You guessed it: I brought a cooler full of frozen gel pacs and gripped them during my therapy. Nurse L let me do it, although she clearly thought I was a little nuts. It was, uh..uncomfortable, to say the least. But, I just shelled out nearly $200 on private guitar lessons. If freezing my hands for two hours every two weeks keeps me playing, it was worth it.


celia said...

Rock on, Elisa! Maybe in addition to the frozen gloves, you should insure each digit for an appropriate amount (say, $1 mil per finger, $1.5 for those strummin' thumbs).

Good luck with these next rounds o'chemo. Your pal--celia

The Fifty Foot Blogger said...

Celia, if you heard me play, you'd lower that estimate. I'm taking requests, just as long as they are limited to "Jambalaya," and "Pay Me My Money Down."