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Taxol and neuropathy

Posted Jan 15 2010 12:00am

It was a long day, starting with blood tests before chemo. I hadn’t slept much last night, so I was dragging just to get there. The waiting room was bustling already before eight o’clock. Michelle and Gema were smiling at their posts and training Dora, who has been working with them for a few weeks. Linda took care of my blood tests, and then I waited in the reception area until Dolly, our friendly volunteer, escorted me to room 6. Dolly always generously shares her latest adventures into vegan baking: today it was almond thumb print cookies with jam–yum yum yum. We are so fortunate to have her as a volunteer and even more lucky that she is such an amazing–and generous–baker and cook.

me doing what I seem to do best with my hubby supervising

Ethel was my chemo nurse today. The lab tests showed my creatinine and urea levels back in the normal range. Yeah. Kidneys are again looking good. Until I meet with my oncologist gain, though, no more Zometa® for the time being. Ethel brought the oral prep drugs Benadryl® and Zofran® along with the Decadron® and Zantac® infusions; saline runs along with the infusions. As soon as the preps started taking effect, I fell into dream-deep sleep. Marvin woke me up after he returned from the cafeteria and gift shop. We ate our excellent breakfast burritos, veggie for me and non-veggie for Marvin. I opened the gift bag to find two brown and beige scarves. One is crinkled and the other has elastic and looks like a big ruffle. Very cool.

Ethel returned with the Taxol and another® nurse to do the verification. That done, Ethel proceeded with setting up the infusion, except something went awry: the Taxol bag seemed to be flawed and ended up leaking out onto Ethel and my bed. She reacted immediately. It’s a good thing that the chemo nurses now wear the vinyl cover-up, otherwise I think the Taxol would have penetrated her clothing. Although it did not damage anything, it had a very strong odor. Ethel opened the door to clear the air and went off to order another Taxol. Before it came, she returned to ask me some routine questions. The current issue is the neuropathy that has increased in my toes but more suddenly and intensely in my fingers. She called Toni and arranged for me to stop by to see her before I left after chemo.

Finally, the Taxol arrived, and the rest of the infusion went smoothly. Yes, I slept again even though I tried to amuse myself on my iPhone and computer. We then trekked to the Breast Center to see Toni, drop off some paperwork and talk with her about the neuropathy. She said that if the neuropathy continues and increases, they will want to adjust the Taxol. Also, if the neuropathy becomes worse, it can be permanent. It’s gone from numbness to pain, and, apparently, that’s the danger zone. I have done some preliminary research and found that quinine can help neuropathy, so tonight I’m drinking a cocktail with tonic water and apple juice. I’ll write more on this separately. My research indicates that other women taking it similarly see results in two days.

I have to follow up with Toni by Wednesday, so I’m hoping for some reduced effects by then.

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