Sunday, September 9, 2012
Presently, I am taking a month's break from Xeloda. Like most chemo-therapies, Xeloda's side effects build up over time. I started Xeloda in April, accidentally taking a half a dose, 2000 mgs a day two weeks on , one week off, when I was supposed to be taking 4000 milligrams daily. At 2000, I didn't really know I was on it. For the next series, I took the proper dosage of 4,000 mgs. That threw me for a loop as I had nausea, diarrhea, hand and foot syndrome, dry mouth, etc.
But it was working.
The next series, I was dropped to 3,000 mg.s a day, two weeks on, one week off. I have been on that for several series...the hand and foot syndrome got worse...my feet and hands swelled and the pain was so much that I couldn't do much. Walking hurt. My feet burned as well as cracked and sloughed off pieces of skin which ranged from 2" x 3" to smaller bits. The week "off" the pain abated somewhat...but then it was time to start again.
This last series, it didn't even lighten up then. Two days before I was to start the treatment again, I could barely walk, and when my husband accidentally kicked my foot in bed it sent me through the ceiling. My big toe cracked so deeply it was bleeding. I told the oncologist that we had to change something.
His response was to give me a break, and then start back on at a half dose....and we would adjust and see how it went.
Taking a break is scary. Will the cancer take this opportunity to really grow and multiply, or will the 5FU in my system continue to kill it off. Will my hands and feet recover enough to really do any good? This is the end of the second week off and I am only now beginning to be able to walk without pain. My feet are still shedding, and the skin is still thin but I have finally found some stuff to help stop the cracking. My feet are still swollen and I can't wear shoes yet...
But...I will keep in mind that even if my markers rise while I'm off, they can't rise that much, and I will work hard at trying to find the right combination of dosage and dosing protocols. With Xeloda, there are a lot of different things you can try....while Genintech is still gathering information, I hope that one of the methods...one week on, one week off, or daily doses of 1500 mgs with no break will work.
After all....even things which break can be put to use again in a different way.