How I got through Taxol Chemotherapy
I got a text from a friend. She wanted to know how I got through Taxol chemotherapy during my breast cancer treatment. Taxol is a common chemotherapy drug used on patients with breast cancer. I did one dose every week for 12 weeks.
Looking back on it, I don’t remember much. The A+C were so harsh that’s where my memory goes. Back to the mouth sores, the hair falling out, the complete cocktail of drugs I took. The hospital gave me a spreadsheet to keep track of them.
Taking Taxol chemotherapy was different.
Grace & Ease Sidebar
DISCLAIMER ALERT – Please know that I am not a licensed anything. Not a doctor, counselor or shrink. I am a trained Life Coach, but I don’t need a license to practice. On Grace & Ease, I offer up what helped me get through breast cancer treatment. Definitely consult with your care team and your heart to find the right answer for you.
…suggested taking once a week doses for 12 weeks were slightly more effective than doing “dose dense” a.k.a. taking Taxol chemotherapy every other week. However, sometimes that’s not an option. I have a friend who did the Taxol every other week because she lived far from the hospital. Circumstances matter.
Luckily for me, I’m down the road from UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Care Center, one of only 49 in the U.S. as designated by the National Cancer Institute.
Where was I? (chemo brain)
Yes, how I got through Taxol chemotherapy.
3 Things That Got Me Through Taxol Chemotherapy
I wanted to write this post for my friend in case something I remember helps her. A way to send Grace & Ease by blog.
Looking back, here are the three things that got me through Taxol chemotherapy:
- Taking the Dose Day Off
#1 – My Taxol Chemotherapy Dosing Day
My Taxol dosing was slightly different than the A + C dosing. Here’s how it went down…
- Got up. Showered. It always made me feel better to know rub off chemo saturated skin. A cleanse every morning.
- Got in comfy clothes for sleeping later.
- Numbed port
- Drank lemon tea
- Drank green juice
- Made organic green smoothie
- Ordered Uber driver. My husband took our daughter to school. Later, either he or my mom or a friend would pick me up.
- On the way to the hospital, I’d drank my smoothie and enjoyed being chauffeured. My bag was packed with essentials to get through the appointments.
The hospital day unfolded like this with one exception. During the Taxol chemotherapy dosing, protocol at my hospital included taking Benadryl. I don’t know about you, but Benadryl knocks me out. It takes a bit of time, but soon I’m either fast asleep or in a fog.
Grace & Ease Sidebar
When I was in the Peace Corps in Yemen, I took a lot of Benadryl. It’s not great for you BTW. But because mosquitoes love me, I’d wake up with a bite swollen face. I ended up being the only volunteer who used their mosquito net. It was pitched over my bed like a tent. Mosquitoes lined up at the top waiting to get in.
#2 – Benadryl
Benadryl is given to prevent an allergic reaction. Some patients are allergic to Taxol chemotherapy. It’s derived from a plant.
Grace & Ease Sidebar
From the National Cancer Institute’s web site:
Paclitaxel, the most well-known natural-source cancer drug in the United States, is derived from the bark of the Pacific yew tree (Taxus brevifolia) and is used in the treatment of breast, lung, and ovarian cancer, as well as Kaposi’s sarcoma. Link – https://dtp.cancer.gov/timeline/flash/success_stories/s2_taxol.htm
Until the hospital knew I wasn’t allergic to the plant, they gave me Benadryl. The thing is, and I think I remember this correctly, once the hospital determined I wasn’t allergic to Taxol chemotherapy, I could stop taking it.
But, I didn’t.
To me slipping into that semi-altered state felt good. I decided to go with it. I needed more rest. I liked alone time. Giving myself that every week was a blessing.
#3 Taking Dosing Day Off
What I remember is that on my dosing days, Thursdays, I took the day off. Not just from work though there were a few email exchanges. I took the day off from everything. From being a mom, a wife, a creative, a daughter, etc. etc.
Every role I played was on hiatus come Thursday morning. This was not a decision I made going into it. It was something that evolved over treatment. I see it now looking back.
I realize I’m lucky. My husband carried the burden of this for us. My clients knew I was unavailable. My family knew when I got home, I was going straight to bed. Thank you, Benadryl. Even if I woke up and my daughter was downstairs, I stayed in bed.
Every other day during the week, I got up, dressed and moved. My daughter was three. I had too. But taking that one day a week felt so good. It gave me the respite I needed to make it through the other six days.
It’s funny, I never want to go back but, I miss that day off. Maybe I can look for ways to take a day off for me now. Sounds healthy.
Hope this helps you or someone you love.
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[Images sourced at Pixabay if not my own.]