Chemo Sucks

The Spa visit yesterday was uneventful.  Dr. Loukas was quite surprised at how badly the Vectibix had affected Maggie’s skin.  He said that Maggie’s reaction was the worst he’d ever seen, calling it a Grade 4 reaction.  But, he reassured, if her skin reacted badly then the tumors were being affected similarly.  He did not, however, order another dose of the stuff, suggesting instead a more scientific wait-and-see approach.  But he was very clear to leave the ultimate choice of if and when again up to us.

He also told us that for as long as Maggie’s skin is reacting then the drug is still in her system and is still doing its job, which is also comforting.  According to him, as soon as the drug was out of her system the blemishes and rash would clear up quickly.  Maggie breathed an audible sigh on that.  And, over the last few weeks, we’ve seen some hint of how sudden the disappearance can be with the use of the steroid.

Maggie has developed two sores in her mouth, like canker sores.  You’ve had these same type of things before and, to say the least, they hurt.  They are a fairly common side effect of Xeloda, one we’ve been thus far blessed to almost completely avoid up until now.  But because of these sores, Dr. Loukas has asked her to discontinue the Xeloda until these clear up.  Unfortunately, Maggie said she believed she was developing yet another on the roof of her mouth.

He also thinks that we’ll do anther CT scan mid-Oct to see if any of this stuff is actually working.  Remember, there’s a very real chance that the CPT-11 ain’t doin’ squat for good.  But we’ll worry about that when and if we have to.

Maggie’s mom, Mary joined us for the doctor visit and at The Spa.  She took over watchful-eye duties for me while Maggie received treatment.  Denise came to visit, too, so for a while we had a full house, much to the displeasure of the nursing staff trying to do their job.  Whoops.

Our friend Deena was also there for her treatment.  She, like Maggie, is Stage IV although I believe she has breast cancer.  The cancer has now spread to her bones and is the source of great deal of pain and discomfort.  It’s tough to watch, both from a friend-suffering perspective and from a foreshadowing perspective.  I’m sure it’s even tougher for her and her husband to live it.

When Maggie and Mary got home at about 2PM, Maggie crashed.  Her last few words before sleep were “I forgot how badly CPT-11 makes me feel.”

Around 6:30PM an angel named Martha May showed up with fixin’s.  She, Mary and Martha’s roommate Whitney fixed us a wonderful supper and cleaned up the kitchen, too.  A fantastic gift for us.  Thank you!  They wrapped up the with some light TV sprinkled with girl talk.

Part of the chemo process includes getting a steroid.  I’m not sure what the reason but the lasting effect is that of a slight stimulant.  Not enough to counteract the crappy but just enough to keep Maggie from sleeping.  So when I finally hit the sheets at about 2:00AM Maggie was still wide awake despite the two sleeping pills she had taken.  And the rest of the night didn’t go much better.

CPT-11 is rough.  This morning is tough going.  She’s still very nauseated and generally unhappy.  She wants to badly to do something, be active, be herself but her body just says no.  Any sudden movement and, blam!  Bending at the waist, tilting the head, standing – all of these are triggers for sickness.  So she took a long bath but that’s about the extent of her capabilities.  There’s been no small amount of hacking, gagging and spitting this morning.

Right now she’s laying in bed, slathered in baby lotion to stave off the dry skin if just for a few minutes, wrapped in her robe to keep the baby lotion off the sheets, and snuggled with the dogs.

9 thoughts on “Chemo Sucks

  1. Praying for you guys. Hopefully all of these nasty side effects mean that the chemo is doing its job and killing off the bad stuff!

  2. Once again …. I have no words to express how sad I feel that Maggie has to go through this. Sending love and happy thoughts and many prayers are good, but sometimes a mom just wants to DO something to help! My heart is breaking …. again.

  3. Popsicles can help numb the mouth sores. Our bodies seem to adjust to changes. I sometimes have trouble a day or two after I start or stop Xeloda. Stay hydrated, keep nourished and hurl proudly till your body comes to balance, like a freshman after a keg party, with its poisons.

    Hold Fast, You will feel better

    Don MacLeod

  4. I hope and pray you’re feeling better today. As for the canker sores. I am prone to them and ouch do they hurt. My dentist gave me a RX for a dental paste called Triamcin. Put this on at night and they’re sometimes gone in the morning, at least after night 2.

  5. Hi, You are in my thoughts all The time as I continue to wear the bracelet. Still going to run on your behalf. Wish next time I have a better bike.

    Our journey will prevail.


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