Sunday, March 15, 2009

A worrystorm

The Thursday before I started round four of chemo, my fingertips went tingly on me; half-numb, like a dentist's shot wearing off. It hurt to operate the cap on my toothpaste; I ended up washing out the inside of the cap so it went on and off more easily. It hurt to button things; I figured out how to work buttons without using the tips of my fingers. It hurt to open flip-top bottles; I started just unscrewing the lids. All day at work, preparing samples, I started to think I'd really been taking my fingertips too much for granted.

Neuropathy - nerve damage, a common side effect of one of my chemo drugs. It can continue to get worse for months after treatment, affecting the entire hand and foot. Almost all cases are reversible, although it's common for it to take years to heal. I was fairly freaked out. I sent the partner out to the grocery store to by vitamin B6 and B12, which my oncology nurses had recommended if this happened.

It cleared up on Saturday. Sunday and Monday, just my left thumbtip was affected again; all fingers have felt normal since then. That in itself was tremendously reassuring. My doctor reduced the dose of vincristine (oncovin, the O drug) by 25%. I've wondered if I'm now getting less than the optimal cancer-killing dosage, but my worries about nerve damage are basically abated. It feels good not to worry.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Wow - nerve damage is scary! I'm glad you're able to tackle the little things - like buttons and toothpaste caps again.