Dire. My last journal post oozed with such doom and gloom. When I re-read it, I wanted to give that girl a hug. In my defense, I did post it last week in the midst of a pretty tough week. That tough week has passed, thankfully. With all experiences, we are blessed with learnings. Here is what I learned about Taxol and how Taxol affects me.
The intense bone pain is indescribable. There really are no words. Thankfully, the intense pain only lasted about 3 full days. I found that I needed the pain meds around the clock for those three days (Wednesday - Friday). I was not functioning, I could not function. My only thoughts revolved around taking enough pain meds to endure it.
And then on Saturday, like magic, the sun came out. Finally, I was able to manage the pain with Ibuprofen and only take pain meds at night. The intense pain lessened. It also became more familiar.
Familiarity. When I was in high school, I played basketball. Sadly, I tore my ACL my junior year, and and all my hopes and dreams of being the next Michael Jordan vanished. Or, due to my height, Spud Webb may have been a more appropriate reference. Either way, I had to find new dreams. Interesting factoid, did you know that both Michael and Spud were both born in 1963? Two very different careers... Sigh, I digress.
I eventually had ACL reconstruction. Because of that injury and poor rehabilitation (my fault), I have scar tissue and bone on bone friction in my knee. I also have early onset of arthritis in that same knee. I have been plagued with knee pain for at least 30 years. What does this have to do with Chemo, you ask? Well, when the weather changes, such as rain or cold weather, my knee has pain, normal knee pain that is familiar to me. THAT is the pain that I feel on day 6 or say through today. And that it is totally manageable. I have been doing it for years! I certainly can do it for 6 more weeks. And you thought I was going to ramble on about basketball?
The neuropathy is still hanging around, however it also followed the same intense schedule as the bone pain. As the bone pain lessened, the neuropathy pain lessened. I don't think there is necessarily a correlation, it is just what I experienced and am experiencing. I have read that neuropathy can linger for months after chemo ends. We will see if that holds true for me. Only time will tell. Thank you ChemoCare.com, approved site from my doc, no Dr. Google here!
Although some of the signs of neuropathy may appear suddenly, this change in sensation usually builds gradually and can worsen with each additional dose of chemotherapy. It is usually strongest right after a chemo treatment, but tends to lessen just before the next treatment. The symptoms usually peak about 3-5 months after the last dose of treatment is taken. The abnormal sensations may disappear completely, or lessen only partially; they may also involve less of the body. If neuropathy diminishes, it is a gradual process usually requiring several months. However, in some cases it may be irreversible and never diminish in intensity or the area of the body affected.
Now that sounds dire. Said in my most charming Southern accent, “I’ll think about that tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day!” And, if the reference escapes you, bless your heart.
On a positive note, I did NOT experience any nausea on Taxol. None. Hurrah! So, when I'm not drugged out on pain meds, my appetite is alive and well. I still do not have any taste buds, so anything I eat still tastes metallic. I have been assured that is temporary.
And on a super duper positive note, I do have to gleefully admit that Week 2 of Taxol is much easier than Week 2 AC (red devil). I actually feel more like my old self on week 2 of Taxol than I ever did on AC. That is a WIN! I also know what to expect with my remaining chemo sessions. I have 3 more Taxol infusions to go. I can do it! Bone pain be damned! I am armed with prescriptions!
This weekend, Jamie, Mason, and I decorated for Christmas. I know, I know - it's not even Thanksgiving! Hold your horses and don't judge! We totally get a pass! With my chemo schedule, Jamie and I realized that if we didn't put the tree up this weekend, it would probably be well into December before I would feel well enough to participate. So, we turned up the Christmas music and began decorating. Jamie even put up a small section of his Snow Village, which he hasn't put on display since we moved to Florida. Mason was so excited. It brought much joy to our house.
Today, Jamie and I head back to ATL for my next Chemo infusion on Monday. We are ready! And, I already checked the forecast: sunny days ahead!