I've learned that caffeine may slighty inhibit the efficacy (I love that word) of topotecan. I didn't know that after my first dosage. But by my second, I had come across that little tidbit of information and for the duration (of the topotecan treatments) I gave up my morning coffee which consists of two or three cups of instant Folgers. I'm not a caffeine fanatic as such...it's the ritual of selecting a cup, scooping and stirring the coffee granules, nuking in the microwave, sitting down with my Bible or sometimes yesterday's newspaper still lying unread on the table. I love that morning ritual. But I gave up my coffee for the duration until the topotecan, like all my previous chemo drugs, stopped working.
Day 28 of Cycle 3
Thanks to Google I'm quite well versed on peripheral neuropathy, ocular migraines, palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (PPE), and other side-effects of chemotherapy. PPE, otherwise known as hand/foot syndrome, is a widely known side-effect of the chemo drug Doxil. I'm not on Doxil, but I am on its virtual twin, a drug called Lipo-Dox imported from India. (Doxil, the American drug, is currently unavailable.)
I've learned that the lowly Bag Balm, a veterinary product originally intended to soothe the udders of milk cows, is a soothing balm for hand-foot syndrome. I buy mine at the local farm store on the edge of town and the past three weeks have slathered it twice daily on my poor, tender, reddened feet. Thanks to Bag Balm my toes healed and are now merely "red and tender" this time round.
Thanks to an online forum for ovarian cancer patients I've become knowledgeable about various treatments, supplements (some advised, some not advised, some ill-advised), the importance of staying active, and maintaining a positive attitude.
|Bag Balm, the farmer's friend (and mine)|
Lipo-Dox is my fifth chemo regimen (sixth if I count the few weeks of tamoxifen taken jointly with my third regimen). I use one drug until it stops working. When my tumor marker begins rising quickly, we know the chemo is no longer working. And we try the next drug.
Frankly I'm amazed. I've been on carbo/taxol, carbo/taxol/avastin, carbo/gemzar, topotecan, and now Lipo-Dox. I'm amazed my body is still in decent condition. Up until recently I've been walking two miles several times a week. Last month's hand-foot syndrome put the kibosh on walking. At least temporarily.
I'm trying to remain positive...not that the drugs will cure me. I know they won't. Not after so many recurrences, not unless there is a miracle from God Himself. Nevertheless, I remain positive that treatment will keep me stable for a good while yet.
Some of my online friends have achieved long months or even years of remission. But more of them are like myself, going through one chemo regimen after another, hoping for a few months in between to rest up for the next drug.
Many of these friends are Christians and recognize that the Bible tells us that God knows our every day before we are even born (Psalm 139:16). They know that Christians, like everyone else, go through the ordinary travails of life in this world, including cancer. They know, too, that God is the giver of courage and of faith itself (Ephesians 2:8-9). As Christians we know that God is with us as we walk through the fire (Isaiah 43:2). We will not be overwhelmed. Instead we will praise God until that very last drop of water in that proverbial half-full/half-empty glass is gone.
May your day be full of good things. As is mine.