It's chemo day - the first of two days of infusions. First up is Caelyx (pegylated liposomal doxorubicin) - a "stealth drug" - it's a slow release product meant to seek, embed and destroy cancer cells over a 28 day period of time. Caelyx carries some potentially nasty side effects including most of the topics covered on the SunflowerSisters.ca website under Coping with Chemo.
The procedure for the infusion includes an unpleasant technique whereby they wrap your hands and feet in ice-filled mitts and booties. I say unpleasant in that it really causes you to freeze - not only your hands and feet. This is supposedly done to prevent the chemo from being overly active in one's peripheries. One of the common side effects of this chemo is Palmar/Plantar Syndrome - a skin reaction on your hands and feet - blistering, burning, cracking.
Being a chemo-veteran, I'm ready with my armament of side-effect preventions. For the first week following treatment, one is prohibited washing dishes - even with rubber gloves on , doing anything with their hands which could cause abrasion - chopping, gardening, rubbing - same for feet - minimum walking - no socks, no loose fitting shoes/slippers. It may sound like spa-luxury - but you need to elevate your feet - lathered in lotion - for several hours a day; put ice bags around your feet as tolerated; wear spa gloves for retaining hand cream; hold frozen bags as tolerated and drink lots and lots of water, teas and juices.
Lindi Skincare products are the only ones I have been able to find which were specifically developed to soothe and relieve the effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Although pricey, the results were clinically proven in a study conducted at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine.
This morning I started my day with IP6 & Inositol. It is a chemo-enhancing supplement which must be taken on an empty stomach. You will find that most major hospitals in the USA have given the the thumbs-up to this protocol.
I'm about to prepare my green juice - it will contain wheatgrass, kale, celery, spinach, apple and most importantly a beet to prevent the constipation which accompanies the steroidal meds needed tonight.
My final and most pleasurable prep this morning is the mind-body-spirit work. I will practise yoga and then meditate.
The start of a chemo session is a new beginning - a chance to do it differently - a chance for more understanding - a chance for better awareness and acceptance. One of my favorite quotes is by the Dalai Lama "Pain is inevitable; suffering is not." I offer up my chemo today for all of my sisters who are suffering - may they realise that it's only pain.