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Initially diagnosed June 4, 2009 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stage II,Grade II tumor size: 2-3 cm node positive ER/PR postive HER2 Neu - negative Current Diagnosis: Metastatic Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Grade 3 Mets: Scalp/skin, Liver, Spine, Bone ER/PR + HER2/NEU -

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Taxol - Neuropathy

For the last few days I've been experiencing a new and annoying symptom called Sensory Peripheral Neuropathy. Taxol causes this side effect by damaging the nerve endings.

The most common symptoms of sensory neuropathy are:

  • Tingling and numbness: These symptoms are similar to diabetic neuropathy but it tends to affect the palmar/plantar aspect of fingers and toes more. With oxalipaltin (Eloxatin®) it may also affect the area around the lips.
  • Difficulty manipulating small objects like buttons, keys, needlework, etc.
  • Worsening of handwriting.
  • Paradoxical burning pain on touching cold objects.
  • Propensity to fall, particularly when bending down or trying to pick up objects from the floor.
I am experiencing the first symptom of tingling and numbness. My calves, feet, forearms, fingers and tongue were all numb most of yesterday. They weren't so numb as to cause me to not be able to function, but enough to be annoying. I called the oncologists office and left a message with the nurse regarding this issue, and she called back and didn't offer me any options for relief. She told me to let her know if it got worse or didn't go away before my next treatment, but left me to suffer. So I called up a neurologist that I'd used before for other issues, explained that it was taxol induced sensory peripheral neuropathy and asked if there was anything he could do to help that wouldn't interfere with the effects of the chemo. He called me in a prescription for Gabapentin. He has me taking 100 mg 3 x a day for 5 days to see if it helps. I can try two 3x a day if it doesn't, and even go up to three 3 x a day if necessary. I took one last night, one this morning and one this afternoon. So far it seems to be helping quite a bit. It does make me a little spacey, but seems to have no other serious side effects.

Of course I did the research on the drug and you can see that it has been through multiple trials if you do a google search on the keywords: gabapentin chemo neuropathy

I'm hoping it might also help with the achiness. I believe the achiness is caused by nerve damage as well. I have chemo tomorrow, so I guess I'll find out how well it works when I hit my two really bad days (friday and saturday).


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