Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Red Devil or How I Make Do With Linen Toe Wraps

Remember my previous mention of the "Red Devil"?   My new red Kool-Aid of a chemo?

Well, today is day 16 post chemo and the Red Devil is living up to its name.  Doxil (or in my case, Lipodox) is well known in chemo circles (betcha don't want to join THAT clique, do ya!) for its vicious side-effect to the skin.

I belong to an online ovarian cancer forum and some of my friends tell me their skin blistering is so severe they can wear only the loosest of clothing, a muumuu type dress, with no bindings or restrictions on the skin. That means no undies, either upper or lower! Just a muumuu! So far I am not needing to do that! I'm still wearing my normal clothing including undies.

In my case I get red welts and blistering on the palms of my hands and between my toes.  The skin turns an ugly purple-red and unless protected will blister badly.  After about a week it begins to heal (and peel) just about the time I get my next infusion. So the cycle seems to be about ten days of really sore skin...then ten days of healing...then sore again after the next chemo.

I used to think that those "old people" you see hobbling about do so due to knee or hip problems.  But no...very sore feet cause the same hobbling gait. Fancy that!

The toes seem to be the worst where they rest against each other.  I've used bandages on some but don't like to have the sticky part of the bandaid on tender red skin.

So yesterday I had one of my amazing, brilliant, lightbulb moments.  Remember last week's blouse project? The one where I shortened the sleeves?  That blouse is linen.  I took the cut-off sleeves and cut one-inch strips of fabric and tied them around my toes.  Of course, I can't wear shoes with them. (I can't wear shoes without them, either, due to the skin problems.)  The linen fabric protects the sore sides of the toes from rubbing up against the next toe, causing friction.  I know it's weird. But it works.

Other remedies?  I use cold packs on my hands and feet (and chew on ice chips) during the chemo infusion.  I soak my feet and hands in cold water now and then in the days following chemo.  And I take a couple cold packs to bed with me.  Wrapped in a linen tea towel they comfort my feet and my hands. And, in theory at least, they reduce the amount of doxil seeping into the capillaries under the skin, thereby reducing the blistering.

I'm thinking by tomorrow or the day after, the healing will begin.  I must be patient, I must be patient, I must....Wait a minute!  I AM a patient!  Just not a very patient patient!

As Christians we know that we are not exempt from the ailments of this fallen world.  But we do not despair! In the midst of affliction, physical and otherwise, we know that when we leave this earth, we will forever be at home with the Lord. That is where we must keep our focus. I will leave you with these encouraging words in James 1:2-3 " Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance."  Endurance! Ah, that is what I need! And patience, too!


Diane said...

What a brilliant idea! The toe wraps actually look pretty stylish, though I can see your poor toes aren't at all happy. I'm praying for you, sweet sister, though I don't say much. How many treatments of the Red Devil are left?

Caroline said...

What if you went further with the cloth strips and wind them between all your toes - like a salon does when you get a pedicure? I hated Taxol. It did a number on my finger and toe nails and some neuropathy.

Linda said...

Holding you in my prayers...Your toe wraps just might become the newest fad in the fashion world! They already wear toe rings why not toe bows!

Maryann said...

Creative solution to a not so great problem...praying that God will sustain you and keep you in perfect peace during this time

Beth L. Gainer said...

I'm so sorry that you are suffering from the side effects of the Red Devil. It is truly awful. My prayers and hopes are with you for quicker recoveries.

Debby said...

You know what I love about look at every problem with an eye towards solving it. When the going gets tough, a lot of folks simply stop and waffle about in despair. You do not.

Debby said...

Have you ever tried just slathering on aloe vera straight from the fridge?

Laurie M. said...

I hate so much that you're hurting, but I love your heart, your attitude, and your faith. You remain a blessing and inspiration to me.

Tina said...

That is a brilliant idea! Hope the pain subsides soon.
I've heard of others using ice chips during infusion and it seemed to work for them. I was thankful my mouth sores never got too bad; I rinsed with baking soda and that helped. I eventually switched to baking soda toothpaste and I think that helped too!
Prayers for you during these tough days!

Karen Ingalls said...

I agree with Debby about your wonderful spirit and attitude about every challenge you face. I am so sorry you are going through this. I will keep you in my prayers and thoughts.