"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." Brother David Steindl-Rast

Friday, January 16, 2015

Taxotere

Today I am grateful for a comfortable recliner to rest and read in and I am also grateful to have slept in a little this morning.

Time to head into the letter "T." TAXOTERE was one of the two chemotherapy drugs I was given over four treatments in the fall of 2008 for breast cancer. The other drug was Cytoxan. I received them through IV infusions. I took pre-treatment Decadron, a corticosteroid, prior to each round of chemo. Then I got what was a relatively new anti-nausea drug at the time-Aloxi-in my IV before they brought out the big guns.

I have never taken so many different drugs at the same time before or since. I am grateful that the Decadron and Aloxi, though having their own side effects, did a good job lessening the negative effects of the chemo drugs. And I am grateful for the Taxotere and Cytoxan, two chemotherapies well-established in the treatment of breast cancer.

Unlike the better known and more feared Adriamyacin, a.k.a. "The Red Devil," Taxotere and Cytoxan were colorless in their IV bags. They seemed pretty mild for being killers. I distinctly remember my first chemotherapy treatment and watching the Taxotere, which was given before the Cytoxan, move through the IV and enter my body.

I had wondered if I would notice anything different when it first arrived. I didn't. Though at the beginning of the Taxotere infusion for round 2, I felt pain and discomfort as the drug first moved through the IV in my arm, chest, stomach, and mid-section. The IV pump was likely pumping too fast. They made sure it didn't happen again.

Four rounds of the Taxotere and Cytoxan regimen were bearable. There was something of a cumulative effect though, and I felt a little more exhausted, a little less like myself, after each round. I lost most of the hair on my body, but avoided other side effects like nausea, mouth sores, and peripheral neuropathy for the most part. I was exhausted in a way that I can't really describe and you probably wouldn't understand unless you have experienced it yourself. I felt out of sorts. But who wouldn't? Chemo drugs are out to kill roaming cancer cells. There is collateral damage. I was okay with that because I felt having the chemo was the right action in my treatment.

In ways, it seems so long ago and only a distant memory, this Taxotere and Cytoxan. But I am grateful to write about them. Grateful I had the medical care I did at the time. Grateful to be here living life fully today. Simply grateful.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Lisa. I can imagine what you felt like with the Taxotere, as I'm still feeling the fading effects of it. But it's refreshing to see someone giving thanks for chemo, when it's so tempting to complain about it. I like how you always highlight the positives :-)

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    1. Rethink Street I hope your post-chemo recovery has you feeling better and stronger. It all takes time . . . including time to be able to put it all in perspective. Go ahead and complain, but if you do, keep it short and save that energy for more healing and regaining strength. Thanks for commenting!

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