ritaxis: (hat)
I think I better start this by saying no, there's no reason to think the cancer treatment isn't doing its job. This is all about side effects and strategies.

I didn't start out thinking "I want to be the perfect cancer patient"--I didn't think much at all about it, just put one foot before the other. Then it was going so well--my side effects were minimal, and the kind of thing I could tolerate well. Surgery went swimmingly. I got through the usually more-toxic Adriamycin/Cytoxan cocktail with a wee bit of nausea and minimal anemia, with a slow-motion painless sloughing of the skin on the bottom of my feet (& now I'm shedding my toenails, two and three months later, but the new toenails are in before the old ones fall off, so it's not a problem).

The taxol infusions were presented to me as less toxic to the body than the Adriamycin/Cytoxan. Neuropathy was a potential issue, I was told, and therefore I made the choice to take the "less dense" route--more infusions with less drug in each--because after going through several surgeries and years of physical therapy to have normal function in my hands and legs I didn't want to sacrifice it easily. Once we were about to start taxol, my doctor explained that most of her patients made it to nine or ten of the twelve treatments before stopping due to neuropathy.

This is when I started feeling like I wanted to be the perfect cancer patient--not something I wanted to think, just something that happened. Anyway, you can guess how that's working out.

I just had my seventh treatment this week, after skipping a week to see if the mild neuropathy I've been having would recede. It did recede on the skipped week. But it's spreading. It's still very mild, and only sensation--no function is disturbed at this point--but there's more of it. We dropped the dose twice, so it can't be dropped again. Dr. Wang will probably feel that I've had enough taxol, and at this point I do too, but I'm disappointed not to go farther.

Apparently the taxol is almost extra anyway: it enhances the survival rate but it's not a bright line. But still.

Today's the check-in day. The next thing is probably a break of a couple of weeks, and then I start daily radiation for seven and a half weeks.

And this has pushed the other medical thing out of the headlines: I'm joining the hordes of CPAP users in a week or so.

September 2017

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