Wednesday, August 11, 2010

tell all the medical professionals you visit that you are taking this drug...

Well I am back from Okanogan and had both my nutrition and physical therapist appointment today, both went well but with the traveling and not feeling so well yesterday I am pretty exhausted. I was fortunate enough when I was in Okanogan to be invited to a dinner with some pretty amazing women. All are currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer or are survivors, or support people of a loved one with breast cancer. It was a gracious invitation and I am so thankful the timing worked for me to attend. Thanks to all the ladies!!

I read through my folder of information from the oncologist today to bone up for my chemo teach tomorrow. It is with horror that I read my mom may not be able to be with me, she had a live vaccine given to her a week ago--the information says I have to avoid people given a live vaccine for 30 days!! We will get the final decision tomorrow but for now I have the worry knot in my stomach......

Here is a bit of info on one of the drugs I am getting (docetaxel) so you all can bone up to:

This drug can cause allergic reactions in some people when the drug is given, especially with the first few treatments. Although you will be given medicine ahead of time to lower this risk, reactions are still possible. Mild reactions may consist of fever, chills, skin itching, or feeling flushed. More serious reactions happen rarely, but can be dangerous. Symptoms can include feeling lightheaded or dizzy (due to low blood pressure), chest tightness, shortness of breath, back pain, or swelling of the face, tongue, or throat. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you notice any of these symptoms during or after being given the drug.

This drug may cause your body to retain fluid. This can lead to swelling in your hands or feet. Fluid may also collect in your abdomen, which could make you feel bloated. In more serious cases, fluid may collect in your chest, which can lead to trouble breathing. Let your doctor or nurse know right away if you suddenly gain weight, notice swelling in any part of your body, or develop shortness of breath.

You may have nausea and vomiting on the day you receive this drug or in the first few days afterward. Your doctor may give you medicine before your treatment to help prevent nausea and vomiting. You will likely also get a prescription for an anti-nausea medicine that you can take at home. It is important to have these medicines on hand and to take them as prescribed by your doctor.

This drug may cause sores in the mouth or on the lips, which often occur within the first few weeks after starting treatment. This can cause mouth pain, bleeding, or even trouble eating. Your doctor or nurse can suggest ways to reduce this, such as changing the way you eat or how you brush your teeth. If needed, your doctor can prescribe medicine to help with the pain.

This drug can cause diarrhea, which in some cases may be severe. If left unchecked, this could lead to dehydration and chemical imbalances in the body. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to help prevent or control this side effect. It is very important that you take this medicine as prescribed. Make sure you get the medicine right away, so that you will have it at home when you need it.

This drug may cause damage to certain nerves in the body, which can lead to a condition called peripheral neuropathy. This can cause numbness, weakness, pain, or sensations of burning or tingling, usually in the hands or feet. These are sometimes related to being exposed to hot or cold temperatures. These symptoms can sometimes worsen to include trouble walking or holding something in your hands. You will be watched closely for these symptoms. Let your doctor know right away if you notice any of them. If your symptoms are severe enough, this drug may need to be stopped or the dose reduced until they get better.

This drug may increase liver enzyme levels in your blood. Your doctor will likely check your liver function with blood tests on a regular basis. The drug may need to be stopped if the changes are severe. If you have liver metastasis or other liver problems before starting treatment, the doctor may need to monitor you more carefully.

This drug can cause a condition known as hand-foot syndrome, in which a person may experience pain, numbness, tingling, reddening, or swelling in the hands or feet. Peeling, blistering, or sores on the skin in these areas are also possible. Let your doctor know right away if you notice any of these symptoms.

Your doctor will likely test your blood frequently throughout your treatment, looking for possible effects of the drug on blood counts or on blood chemistry levels. Based on the test results, you may be given medicines to help treat any effects. Your doctor may also need to reduce or delay your next dose of this drug, or even stop it altogether. Be sure to keep all appointments for lab work and doctor visits.

This drug can lower your white blood cell count, especially in the weeks after the drug is given. This can increase your chance of getting a serious, or even life-threatening, infection. Be sure to let your doctor or nurse know right away if you have any signs of infection, such as fever (100.5° or higher), chills, pain when passing urine, a new cough, or bringing up sputum.

This drug may lower your red blood cell count. If this occurs, it is usually a few months after starting treatment. A low red blood cell count (known as anemia) can cause shortness of breath, or make you to feel weak or tired all the time. Your doctor may give you medicines to help prevent or treat this condition, or you may need to get blood transfusions.

In rare cases, this drug may lower your platelet count in the weeks after it is given, which can increase your risk of bleeding. Speak with your doctor before taking any drugs or supplements that might affect your body’s ability to stop bleeding, such as aspirin or aspirin-containing medicines, warfarin (Coumadin), or vitamin E. Tell your doctor right away if you have unusual bruising, or bleeding such as nosebleeds, bleeding gums when you brush your teeth, or black, tarry stools.

Do not get any immunizations (vaccines), either during or after treatment with this drug, without your doctor’s OK. This drug may affect your immune system, which could make vaccinations ineffective, or could even lead to serious infections. Try to avoid contact with people who have recently received a live virus vaccine, such as the oral polio vaccine or smallpox vaccine. Check with your doctor about this.

Possible side effects
You will probably not have most of the following side effects, but if you have any talk to your doctor or nurse. They can help you understand the side effects and cope with them.

•low white blood cell count with increased risk of serious infection*
•retaining fluid (may include swelling in hands or feet, shortness of breath)*
•hair loss, including face and body hair
•feeling weak
•low red blood cell count (anemia)*
•stopping of menstrual cycles (periods) in women
•rash, which can be severe
Less common
•allergic reaction (fever, flushing, itching, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, throat swelling, dizziness)*
•numbness, tingling, or pain in the hands, feet, or elsewhere*
•weakness in the hands and feet
•sores in the mouth or on the lips*
•feeling tired
•change in how things taste
•loss of appetite
•nails changing color or becoming brittle
•skin rash
•abnormal blood tests which suggest that the drug is affecting the liver (Your doctor will discuss the importance of this finding, if any.)*
•low blood platelet count with increased risk of bleeding*
•redness, pain, swelling, or blisters on hands or feet (hand-foot syndrome)*
•muscle or joint pain
•shortness of breath
•excess tears from the eyes
•darkening of skin where prior radiation was given (radiation recall)
•death from infection, bleeding, or other complication


  1. and the unlisted side effect that I am hoping tops all the others! KILLS THE CANCER! thinking of you!