Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wild, Wacky Chemo

Today was the third treatment in this chemo cycle. I received the trio; avastin, taxol and carboplatin (carbo). All went along well, and we were actually a little ahead of schedule with an estimated departure time of around 1:30 p.m. (We got there at 8:00).

While I was receiving the carbo, the last chemo drug, my hands felt strange, tingly, not quite itchy. I looked down to find red splotches on my palms, and my fingertips were turning red. There was also a tingly sensation around my mouth. I got the nurse's attention and she came over right away. It appears I developed an allergic reaction to the carbo. The redness traveled to my face around my mouth and nose and my eyes started to swell a bit with the rims turning red, along with the tips of my ears. It was a really interesting look. And I was wearing my silver-fox wig with a white blouse - so the color really popped!

The nurse brought along the CRNP (or nurse practitioner), and they stopped the IV, shot me up with Benadryl, pepcid which acts as an antihistamine, and a steroid. My nurse was very calm and matter-of-fact. I was calm, Thierry was calm and reading his magazine - it was all pretty weird - but after about a half-hour, 45 minutes all the redness was gone. I guess this could have been serious (duh!). They checked all my vitals a couple of times - all was well.

Apparently this is not uncommon, to develop a reaction to carbo after receiving several treatments. The nurse said what usually happens in the future is to try and re-acclimate the body to the drug, starting out the next cycle at a lower dosage, then gradually increasing the amount to the recommended level. I really don't know what they will do if it happens again. The carbo is not typically part of the avastin/taxol treatment plan - although the Dr. at Fox Chase did say it is given if the treatment is not working. My doctor believes it helps in the treatment of Triple Negative cancers.

So, some excitment today - and oddly enough - even though it was long and a bit tiring (we got home at 4:00p.m), it was an ok day.

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