Everyone else is.
So, the ongoing saga of my wrist splints aka carpal tunnel versus neuropathy. The first night I wore them I had no numbness at all, the second night just a bit in my pinky. Thursday I had a bad day.. just felt like crap in general, spent most of the afternoon and evening on the couch, so by the time I went to bed my back was killing me, I wasn’t tired after dozing off and on all day and I tossed and turned for hours. Around 3 a.m. I woke up and my hands were completely numb. I couldn’t feel them at all. And I had to pee. I sat there in a panic flailing my left hand to get the blood circulating while ripping at the velcro straps of my right hand splint with my teeth. I finally managed to get them off and get the feeling back in my hands, went to the bathroom and then came back to bed and lay there panicking that the chemo would be discontinued now. I got myself all worked up . I thought I may as cancel the radiation too, have a bilateral mastectomy and be done with it. (Now mind you, at no point in time was I ever told I had to have chemo to save my life. It was more of an insurance against recurrence. I could have opted for just radiation after surgery. I have had 4 rounds of dose dense AC, and 7 of 12 rounds of Taxol. That’s a whole lot of chemo. But.. while I was initially more afraid of the chemo than the cancer, now I am afraid to stop.) All of these thoughts kept me awake and Friday I was dragging all day. I went to bed Friday night and while putting on my splints, realized I had worn them backwards the night before, essentially cutting off the circulation to my hands. Honestly, I should never be left alone with devices of any kind. I am happy to report that Friday and Saturday night I had no numbness at all. The splints do go flying in the wee hours when a hot flash hits and I can’t stand them, but they are working. When my oncologist asks how they are working out I will say “Fine” and leave it at that. If she wants to know what’s going on with me, she can read my blog. I want to continue the treatment if I can, but if she feels I’ve had enough that’s cool too. I’m all zen and shit about the whole thing now.
So apparently the numbness I am experiencing is concerning, even though it’s not the neuropathy we are warned about with Taxol and it’s cousins where the fingertips and bottom of the feet are numb. My oncologist said it was carpal tunnel but it is getting worse almost daily. I wake up to two completely numb hands and have to shake and flex them to get the blood circulating. I hadn’t put two and two together until she asked about my feet but I have noticed one or both will “fall asleep” when I’m watching television in the evening. I have had carpal tunnel in the past when I typed for 8-10 hours a day and it was painful. This is not. I was told I may not be able to complete the 12 rounds. I will wear these splints at night to prevent my nerves from compressing in the wrist causing numbness. If I still have it, then it’s the Taxol. Since I’ve had the complaint from week one and it’s been progressively getting worse she wants to stop so I don’t have permanent damage. I don’t want to stop. I have cancer. I was told I needed 16 rounds of chemo and I want 16 rounds. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I don’t want to be sitting in her office in 3 years and hear it’s back and we should have done more the first time. On the other hand I was told from the beginning I was likely getting too much chemo, but since there is no way to predict if the cancer will come back, mine is hormone receptive and I am relatively young and there was micro-metastasis in the sentinel node, we would throw everything at it.
She brought up my genetics appointment again too. It was moved back to June when I will be between chemo and radiation. I have mixed feelings about it. I need to do it, especially for my daughters, but I don’t want to open that can of worms just yet. I’m tired of thinking about cancer. I don’t want to be told I should have had a mastectomy after all and I did all this for nothing. I don’t want my 22 and 26 year old daughters to have to make decisions about their breasts and ovaries before they’ve had a family.
Otherwise, the appointment went well except for the unleashing of my paranoid obsessive disorder
I am normally a half full kind of person, though I definitely do have my half empty days. Don’t we all! Yesterday marked the halfway point of my chemotherapy. I have completed 8 of my scheduled 16 rounds, 4 AC and 4 out of 12 Taxol. I remain very lucky and grateful. My side effects are minimal. No neuropathy or nausea, some aches and pains that are easily taken care of with light exercise and a hot bath. I’ve had to take nothing stronger than the occasional Tylenol. I’ve even managed to keep a cold at bay so as to stay on track with treatments. And.. my hair has been coming in since a week before my last AC treatment! I fully expected to lose it again on the Taxol, but that hasn’t been the case. It initially was snow white and now has some color, but not the color I was hoping for. It’s definitely gray. But it is hair. And it is my hair. I’ll take it and learn to
dye love it.
I find myself feeling a little guilty these days at my good fortune. So many people at the cancer center look like they are not faring nearly so well with the side effects. Of course I don’t know what kind of cancer or what stage they are in but still… I wish I could share some of my luck with them. Yesterday while waiting to be called back after my labs were drawn I met Boomer, the center’s therapy dog. What a cutie! He approached each and every patient and brought smiles to all, even some that were looking pretty down trodden up until that moment. My husband and I got a good laugh at the thought of one of our hooligans being therapy dogs. It would certainly make it interesting for the staff!
Clover and Comet
I was catching up on my reading of the many blogs I follow before posting and one made mention of making lemonade out of lemons. My comment was that I always have preferred to open a bottle of vodka and drink until the lemons are gone but in light of my newly (forced) healthier lifestyle I will give that lemonade thing a try. We’ll see how that pans out.