My first Taxol chemo infusion was one week ago. There is no reason it has taken me a week to update the blog, I’ve just been lazy about it.
Last Tuesday I went in and had bloodwork done, met with the nurse practitioner, and had my infusion. I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect because it was a completely new medicine, so there were some nerves.
Since it had been right at a month since the last AC chemo, my blook counts had recovered and were at a 9.6, which is considered normal. I felt great and was ready to begin the next chapter. We discussed possible side effects and the nurse practitioner said I was going to breeze through. This type of chemo was easy cmpared to AC.
In the infusion room, they again had trouble getting my port to work. I had to be given some medication to activate the port. They try to see a flash of blood from the port before starting the infusion to know that the port is working properly. After the 30 minutes needed to “active” the port we were still only seeing a tinge of blook, but a flash. When saline was pushed in I could taste it so the nurse felt confident it was functioning properly and we proceeded with the infusion.
Prior to the appointment, I had taken two doses of a steroid, one the night before and one the morning of chemo. I was then given two Pre-meds via my port. Another steroid and anti-nausuea medicaiont and the other was 25mg of Benadryl. Both of those were 15 minurtes each. At this point I have been in the infusion room roughly an hour.
I commented to the nurse that Benadryl usually doesn’t affect me so we would have to see if it knocked me out.
With Taxol, as I have stated before, there is a risk of neuropathy. To try to prevent this you are advised to cover your hands and feet with ice packs during the hour-long infusion. I had previously purchased on Facebook Marketplace a set of gloves and shoes with ice/heat packs built-in. I had frozen them the night before and stuck them in the freezer when I arrived at the clinic so they would stay cold until I was ready for them. The nurse went and retrieved them from the freezer. I put them on and was given a warm blanket to use as well as turned on the heated seat. I started a show on Hulu and turned on auto-play so I wouldn’t need my hands during the infusion and we began.
The beginning is the last thing I remember until the nurse woke me up and said, “You’re all done, sweetie”. I was still very groggy. It had only been an hour. Chris says on the ride home I was talking slow and slurring my words. I slept another four hours or so and woke up feeling decent. I was hopeful the rest of the week would go well. It was going to be a breeze, right?
Y’all, they lied. The infusion was Tuesday and by Thursday I was in significant pain. All over body pain. From the tip of my head to my toes. The worst pain being the back of my head and neck and my pelvis and legs. I tried a few different recommendations but could not find relief. We had planned to spend New Years’ with some great friends and I was considering backing out but decided that it would be good for my spirits so we loaded up our snack food and headed to their house. I reclined in a recliner most of the night enjoying their company, food, and movies.
New Years’ Day, Friday, I was still in significant discomfort. I was not in a good emotional place. I was mad. I was upset that they had not prepared me adequately for the discomfort I was going to feel. I kept thinking, new year, horrible 12 weeks to come. At the time I felt more miserable than I ever had on the AC chemo, but after talking to Chris, most of that was because I had slept the vast majority of the time after AC chemo, and this time I was awake to deal with the effects.
One week later, I am not looking forward to the next infusion, which will take place on Thursday, but I am a bit more mentally prepared for what is to come. I have also talked to the nurse about preventing and dealing with the pain. One thing recommended by my support groups was a heated throw blanket. This will provide hours of all-over heat instead of a heating pad that would work on one part of the body at a time. I am also going to be taking Clariten daily, which helped with the bone pain while doing the AC chemo. And for the day prior and for the few days following infusion I will be alternating Tylenol and Ibuprofen in an effort to prevent the pain all together. If this doesn’t work, there is a more agreesvie approach we can take, but that is a last resort option that we will only use if absolutely neccessary.
I don’t say any of this looking for sympathy. I say this to be real and let others know what kind of a battle they may be facing. I say this to show the good, bad, and ugly side of cancer treatment. I wish I had seen a blog post about what I was going to experience before starting Taxol, I would have been more mentally prepared for it. I would have felt less lied to by everyone. I do realize that everyone reacts differently and most might be just fine on Taxol, but I was not. At least for round one.
I covet your prayers this week, specifically Thursday through the weekend, as I take treatment number two. Thanks again for all the prapers thus far and the support all of you have shown my family and I.
God > Cancer!!!!