I have completed chemo session six — the half-way point!
I would like to tell you that this went much better than previous since I am not infusing Oxaliplatin in my cocktail. It wasn’t, and in fact, some ways it was worse.
I know the different poisons stay in one’s system for a time, and the more treatments one gets, the longer it lingers in the body. This is on purpose and, concerning eliminating cancer, a good thing. However, since I am still getting Leucovorin to enhance the effects of the Fluoroscopic, I suspect the Leucovorin also kind of “re-activated” the residual Oxaliplatin in my system. This resulted in my neuropathy — hands, feet, and mouth — coming back stronger than ever.
The nurse practitioner did ensure me that any neuropathy and sores around the mouth (yes, that flared back up as well) are temporary. However, we all know the neuropathy in the hands and feet can be permanent. So far, the neuropathy I am feeling in my hands and feet fades over the two weeks to the next treatment; it never goes completely away (it might have after the first and maybe second treatments) though.
This worries me, not only because all of us (Julie, me, and the team at the VA) do not want to see any permanent neuropathy. And during this treatment we had a consult with the nurse practitioner, the VA team would like to re-introduce the Oxaliplatin only in a reduced dosage (20% less, though I am not sure if that is in strength or amount).
To compound the irritation and worry I felt associated with the returning symptoms, we had a small party with family and friends on the Saturday after my treatment. Though I felt good enough to socialize and man the smoker/BBQ, I did not feel good enough to participate in any of the activities we had lined up. I also didn’t help that Corrina and I were dancing (my chemo pump). Ironically, I had insisted we do not start the reduced Oxaliplatin this treatment because I wanted to feel good for the party.
Lots of questions before I agree to add back in the reduced dosage Oxaliplatin:
- Confirm my theory on why the symptoms returned so strong and the way I believe the cocktail works.
- How do we tell when we are at the line where one side is “neuropathy is temporary” and the other is “neuropathy is permanent;” what are we looking for to determine this?
- How long can I expect it to take for the neuropathy to completely go away after all treatments are complete?
Based on the answers to these questions (and probably others I just can’t think of at the moment) will determine if I allow them to re-introduce the Oxaliplatin. And we must keep in mind the difference of re-occurrence is less than 5% (50% vs less than 55%) between adding the Oxaliplatin back in or not. At the moment, permanent neuropathy is not worth the added less than 5%.