Monday, 31 October 2011

Paclitaxel update

Some patients - about 10% according to the chemotherapy nurse - have a severe allergic reaction to paclitaxel.  To ameliorate this, before the chemotherapy itself the patient is given a steroid, an antihistamine, and pyridoxine. But H seemed to have no problems.  Now we wait to see what effect the paclitaxel has on the cancer.

She's having an MRI scan tomorrow in preparation for a microdiscectomy.  She doesn't complain much, but it would be a big improvement to her quality of life if her arm could be settled down.

Friday, 21 October 2011


H is done with Caelyx.  She's having a week off and will start on Paclitaxel next week.   This will be a weekly treatment with a break every fourth week.  Unless she has a bad reaction to it, in which case we'll consider alternatives - her colleague S, who does a lot of breast cancer treatment, suggests Abraxane as a version of the drug which is less likely to educe an allergic reaction.

One disadvantage is that she may lose her beautiful hair, which is already thinner than it was.  She's philosophical about that, she's had plenty of enjoyment from it already.

Her hands, elbows, knees and feet (which got beaten up by the run) should recover under the new treatment.  We don't know how effective it will be against the disease.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


The side effects of Caelyx have been getting worse - H has very sore hands, elbows and knees.  She passes all bottles and containers to me to open.  And she's got a chronic infection under a big toenail.  And the effectiveness of the treatment seems to have decreased - the second lump on her scalp has been growing.  We're seeing her oncologist today and we'll discuss changing to a different treatment.

Also, she's had some bleeding from the newly irradiated lump on her scalp.  She says this is a consequence of skin damage from the radiotherapy, not the cancer itself.

8k in Amsterdam

We went to Amsterdam for a long weekend.  We've been twice before at this time of year, mainly for me to run the marathon, but this time we ran the 8km event together.  H was worried that she'd finish last, or nearly so, but we were well up the field, finishing in 52 minutes flat.  That is an awesome achievement considering the handicaps H faces.

She's been below her best for a couple of days since - sore feet and fatigue - but it's worth it for her to feel alive running.