Tax(ol) Day

‘Twas the night before new chemo and all through the house, I can’t think of a rhyme, cancer sucks.

Tomorrow I start a new chemo called Taxol. Supposedly it is much more palatable than the chemo I was on before. The main side effects listed are distal neuropathy (permanent numbness in fingers and toes), exhaustion and diarrhea. I am bringing a cooler filled with ice and two sets of hand and foot ice pack mitts which I will wear during infusion with the hopes of avoiding neuropathy via frostbite. Yes, you read that right and yes, they sell these on Amazon

As bad as those sound, I will take diarrhea over nausea ANY DAY. I have been nauseous for 90% of the last 8 weeks. Nope, no ma’am, pass.

Another fun issue with Taxol is that it has a relatively high chance of allergic reaction when infused. They give you Benadryl as a pre-med along with a few other cocktails, then start the drip and watch you like a hawk to see if you are one of the lucky ones to react. The most common reactions are intense lower back pain or an instant bad cough. WTF, Taxol? That is just so weird. Why you gotta be so strange?

The possibility of the reaction has me pretty freaked out. It is one thing to willingly walk into a situation where are you being poisoned. It is another to walk into that same situation but add on a potential allergic reaction. I gather, if you do react, they stop the drip immediately and pour Benadryl into your IV.

Maybe the wildest part is that then they re-start the drip of Taxol, just way slower. I have been told to be prepared to be drugged to sleep during the infusion, to which I say- about fucking time.

This new regimen is once a week infusions for 12 weeks. You heard me. If I go 12/12 I will be done on July 14th. And it is wishful thinking to believe that anyone goes 12/12. If you get ‘regular people’ sick, they postpone, and in Covid times… It is also pretty common that your blood counts will be too low at some point for infusion. Let’s put it this way, I will be happy if I finish before July ends.

Some other chic updates are as follows:

  • I am featured on Episode 3 of the Dr. Patient podcast this week, representing the humanity of medical professionals, and honoring their vulnerability. It was recorded prior to Greg, but I do talk about a story from Cancer Uno that involves a bloodbath.
  • I have started sleeping in a bathing suit because my night sweats are so intense
  • I have developed a rash on my upper chest and back from my last chemo. It looks like I am covered in pimples there. It’s cute.
  • I finally got a session with a psychiatrist who specializes in ‘complex diseases’ (this <– makes me feel equal parts utterly pathetic and totally awesome at the same time) who has tweaked my meds a bit and it seems to be helping my mood and nausea. It’s a two-fer.
  • A friend created an online sign-up for people to bring my kids lunches at school. This has been so helpful. Not worrying about making them lunches a few days a week and knowing they are getting something special like Jersey Mikes or Chipotle, makes me happy. Thanks to those who have participated so far.
  • My nose hair has fallen out, so my nose runs constantly. I hear this is very ‘on trend’ on the fall ’22 runways.

You are now caught up to all important matters. I wish I was smart enough to embed a poll of who thinks I will have the allergic reaction tomorrow. With my general luck I assume most would vote ‘probably,’ but then maybe this is my time to buck trends and blaze a new path? Either way, it is time for me to pop a Clonazepam and peace out of sober consciousness.

I’ll catch you guys on the flip side.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good luck with taxol! I ended up using straight bags of ice from my chemo center because the ice packs didn’t last the full time. Hopefully yours will be better though! Congrats on making it thru AC

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Best of luck to you with Taxol tomorrow! Lean into the pre-med sleep. Nothing like a Big ole dose of IV Benadryl and Decadron to put you off to sleep only to be woken up to put on the ice cold mitts and booties. It sure beats getting neuropathies. I had two sets of freezer mitts and booties which worked perfectly for the duration of the Taxol infusion. Sending positive vibes for no allergic reaction for you.

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  3. I was one of the lucky ones that had an allergic reaction to the Taxol. Turned red as a lobster and started seeing stars before they shut it down and pumped me full of Benadryl. Happily, when they shut it down the reaction faded almost immediately. After two reactions, they just incorporated the pre-Benadryl drip before the Taxol – no problem. You’ve got this!

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  4. Amanda says:

    AC may be the referred to as the “Red Devil” but Taxol absolutely blows. Bone pain and restless leg syndromenwas tge worst. I relied mostly on sleeping pills and weed to survive.

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  5. Nancy Finn says:

    This is the exact schedule I had 4 years ago. The Taxol is WAY better than the a/c. Had the neuropathy thing around dose #4. You made me remember the runny nose/no hairs things. You got this. No way but through. Think of you often and sending all the good juju!❤️

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  6. Sheila says:

    Congratulations on finishing A/C. I did a combination of Taxol/Carboplatin. Carboplatin every third infusion. I wore the ice minutes and booties and never experienced any neuropathy. The only side effects I had were fatigue. It was very tolerable. I had T/C before A/C and was so scared of A/C. I did had low WBC’s and had two blood transfusions.
    I hope you have a better experience with Taxol. Sending you positive, healing energy.

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