Thursday, September 20, 2012

Frustrations and Rarities

Lately I have been feeling a frustration of sorts.  It is an odd one....but here it is.  Most, if not many, people who are on the oral chemotherapy Xeloda describe it as an "easy drug."

For me, it has been far from easy...and I sometimes cringe and am saddened when a new person is talking about taking it and I hesitate to say what my experience has been.  I am currently on a month's break because the hand/foot syndrome was so severe that I couldn't walk.  I couldn't wear my shoes.  My fingertips were so sore that I couldn't do the everyday tasks I needed to.  This doesn't count the change in taste, dry mouth, thining hair, dry eyes, dry nose, cramps and joint pain, and other side effects I have been having.  But not being able to walk or use my hands was the worse. While on the 4,000 dose (the above effects are on a reduced dosage of 3,000 mgs. daily), I also had nausea and diarrhea.

Each of us react to chemo-therapies in different ways.  It is useful to know what others have experienced, but it is important to bear in mind that we might not have as hard of a time as others, and that the reverse is also true....we may be saddled with every (or almost every) side effect listed in the manufacturer's list of side effects.  In addition, chemo-therapy tends to be cumulative, meaning that as time goes on, the body is hit harder and harder as the levels of the drug increase in our systems.

With Xeloda, and I suppose other oral chemotherapies, it is easy to think of it as being a benign drug.  It isn't.  By it's nature, it is hard on our systems.  Just because it isn't an IV doesn't mean that it isn't as strong or as dangerous as other chemos.

Just because you found one drug difficult doesn't mean that you will have just as hard a time on the next drug.'s OK to feel sad or a little jealous when others talk about the wonderful results they are getting when you're not, or when an "easy" drug turns out to be hard for you.  We are human. That's the rub as well as the glory.


  1. It would be nice if we could just stop comparing ourselves to others wouldn't it? Each of us tolerates every aspect of this cancer stuff in our own individual way. It's definitely okay to feel a bit jealous or sad when your experience doesn't "match up" to someone else's. "We are human. That's the rub as well as the glory." Well said.

    1. Thanks, Nancy. It is tough...although I think I fall into the more wistful category rather than just comparing myself....I WISH I would have it as easy as some of the people, and then there is the other I dare tell them how severe my side effects have been? Will that make them want to throw in the towel, or will it just prepare them for what might be their experience?

      I'm also just amazed at how often when I say that I am not going to go on the one week on/one week off because my oncologist doesn't feel that enough data has been gathered for the effect on the CANCER for BREAST CANCER patients....(the results have been posted for this protocol for colon cancer patients and has been only looked at for the side effects, not for the efficacy of the cancer killing properties in a larger study).

  2. Xeloda is not that easy so never feel bad Nancy! I threw-up every day on Letrozole even though every one said that it was "the easiest drug ever". Who the heck knows why these things happen anyhow?

    Cailey Renaud
    26 year old metastatic survivor and blogger too :)

    1. Lol...Thanks for your comment Cail, but I'm Lisa, Not Nancy. ;)