FolFox

My chemo in the past I used to look forward to at the beginning. Knowing the cancer is in my body, I wanted to start the poisioning process as soon as possible. This past week was very different however. I have been feeling so good and so strong all summer, that I knew this was not going to be fun. If I do not have many years left I want to be able to live them, not stuck on a couch feeling so sick. I found out on Wednesday that FolFox (unlike Folfiri which I was on before), cannot be taken biweekly for life. The side effects are much more damaging and I have to have breaks built it. The amount of options I have are slightly overwhelming. Here are just a few scenerios:

– Take Folfox for 6 months, and then have a 1-3 month break

– 2 months on, 1 month off

– 3 months on, 3 months off

– Do not take Eloxatin, and just have Fluorouracil

– Take a lesser dose of Eloxatin

As you can see, it is very hard to know what is right and what will work. I will have to trial and error to find a balance between what works against my tumours, but what also does not make me a couch potato.
Now, let’s discuss this fun new drug called Eloxatin. It has the common symptons one would expect with chemo such as mouth sores, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, change in taste, fatigue, nose bleeding, etc. The fun thing is about chemo, you should fully expect to have all of these side effects. This list usually is not a “you may experience” and more of a “you will experience”. All of those I dealt with last time. The new fun one this drug brings is called Neuropathy. It is nerve changes that can cause tingling or numbness in the hands and feets, muscle weakness, or other altered sensations. This can hinder the patient from being able to even button up clothing, and can become permanent. The most common trigger of neuropathy is exposure to cold. So with the drug they actually provide the patient gloves. Not for the Canadian winters, but just to go in the fridge. Any time I need something from the fridge, I have to put on gloves. The nurses also warned me that I should never eat or drink ANYTHING cold. Having a cold substance can make it feel like my throat is closing in and simulate suffocation. Oh fun. This means everything must be consumed at room temperature. No cold drinks, fruit, veggies, yogurt, etc. How fun is this right? With the winter coming I have to wrap a scarf tightly around my mouth and nose to ensure I do not breathe in any cold air, as it will cause the same effects. On top of all that, it can also cause temporary vision loss.

So my last thought on all of this is – stop complaining about your regular lives. 

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2 thoughts on “FolFox

  1. Chrissy says:

    I remember that drug when I worked in chemo. It’s the fact that they gave you gloves that rang the bell…..and that was in southern CALIFORNIA!
    If I remember correctly once that neuropathy starts you need to tell them right away because I think they decrease your dose or stop it……also…..I think they gave IV magnesium to help prevent it…..but this was like 6 years ago so my memory could be tricking me.
    I hope you have great nurses in the chemo clinic!
    I’m Really sorry you are going through this, it’s Bullshit that’s for sure. I agree with you on your last post, you deserve a discount on your supplements. Your not on disability d/t back pain……it’s sad that the few ruin it for the ones who really need it

    • Jamie says:

      I’ll definitely have to ask about the magnesium. I’ve already called to ask for a lower dose next time because I am still extremely nauseous and cannot even sip water.

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