One of the things that chemo affects are your nails, since like cancer cells and hair, they are fast growing. The Taxol tends to affect the nerves in your fingers and toes as well, so it’s been kind of a double whammy.
The details are too gross to get into, but I lost 3 toenails last week and my fingertips are tender and some of the nails are looking pretty bruised. I haven’t been knitting, and doing up buttons is quite difficult. It wasn’t something I really knew about, or expected, but it is a pretty common side effect from what I gather.
I had my 4th Taxol treatment today, and I have a pretty good idea of the reaction cycle now. The first two days I have terrible insomnia – a side effect of the steroids they give me. It’s followed a few days later by some pretty intense joint and muscle pain for about 3 days. Since I go every week, it means that I don’t seem to have the free days like I did on the 2 week AC cycles. Overall, though, Taxol is much easier! One thing that seems to have cleared up a lot is the chemo brain I was suffering from on the AC. Also, the skin problems on my arms have cleared up nicely, although I still suffer from very dry skin and slather on the lotion.
I had a good discussion with my doctor on Monday, and she’s switched up my medication to deal with my current symptoms. She really emphasized that the fatigue is normal at this point, and that while it’s good to get out with friends, I have to be prepared to bail if I get too tired. Talking to her, and to folks in my support group, it seems like the doldrums are pretty common at this stage. This is my 5th month of dealing with the breast cancer, and sometimes it feels like it will never end. Thanks to a lot of support, I’m pulling out of it and am getting excited about counting down the next 8 treatments to the end. It’s getting closer every day!
A few highlights lately: my neighbor made a lovely dinner for the family and delivered it to us, and a friend sent over some delicious dishes for us. My high school friend who now lives in Australia stopped by for 2 days on her way back home after a vacation and much reminiscing was done. I am booking lunches with friends, and trying to be more active. As soon as my toes heal and I can put shoes back on again, I hope to start walking in the park again. Just my luck – I am limited to flip flops just as the rain has started.
I owe a lot of folks calls and emails. I am trying to catch up! Your messages mean a lot to me. Thanks for continuing to stand by me on my journey.