Friday, June 30, 2006

Xeloda Added to "the Cocktail"

As in Bridget Jones Diary . . .

Weight: 65 kilograms (about 142 pounds)

Alcohol Consumption: 0, Cigarettes: None for a long time

Hemoglobin: 12.3, up from 11.7 last week (normal 13 - 16)

White blood cells and platelets are normal.

Tumor Marker CA19-9: 3358 (normal 0 - 37)

I had my sixth infusion of Gemzar (gemcitabine) this past Tuesday. My oncologist added Xeloda (capecitabin) to my chemotherapy regimen, which I started in pill form on Wednesday morning. The Xeloda has more side effects - I have a headache, heartburn, achy joints, more queasiness, and just really tired. My pattern with Gemzar seems to be that I feel fatigue on Thursday and Friday after chemo on Tuesday, but I come out of it on the weekend. The Xeloda is adding to those symptoms, but so far I've not had any of its more serious side effects (extreme nausea or diarrhea, hand-foot syndrome, mouth sores, fever) which requires suspension of the drug.

My oncologist said I could quit taking the Xeloda next week, as I have a vacation scheduled for July 7th - 14th. I am taking a writing workshop in Taos, NM. I have such a headache today, which is making me cranky, that I don't think I could drive or sit in a class or do much of anything. This morning when I woke up with it, I didn't want to move at all. My cat Biscuit and I lay in bed and watched the hummingbirds. We have a feeder just outside the bedroom window, and each time one would land, Biscuit would make a slight chatter so I'd look up and see the hummer. Biscuit is a yellow tabby that sort of looks like Jabba the Hut - she's a hefty gal - but very good company. Our other cat is Dumplin', a calico, somewhat standoffish, but affectionate in her own way.

We started melodrama practice on Wednesday night. I have a small, but funny part: Mary Pickaxe. Our performances are August 2nd, 3rd, and 4th at 7pm. This is one of those things that will keep me going.

I did just eat breakfast and took all my medicine including some Tylenol which I hope will help my headache. I have felt "foggy" the last two mornings. I hope this goes away because I've got so much to get done. The Fourth of July is coming up which is our busiest week of the year.

I feel like such a chemistry experiment with all the medications I'm taking, but sometimes I think we just have to "embrace the medication" and let it work for us. The morning pill box now includes: Xeloda, Zoloft, Kytril, Prilosec, Tylenol, green tea extract, a multi-vitamin (Flintstones for me), Omega 3, Co-Q-10, and B-6. Most of these are repeated at night.

Just up here in Colorado, embracing the meds, watching hummingbirds and mule deer grazing in the yard, memorizing lines, and waiting for this headache to wear off.

Sincerely, Caroline

1 comment:

Hoskins Family said...

Hi Caroline,

My husband is also on Xeloda. The very first week of taking it, all he did was sleep. As of diarhea, it never fails of kicking in at the last day of the 2nd week. He always has a headache which I am not sure if it's from Xeloda since he had chronic headaches before he was dx. Good luck at this new cocktail you're taking.

This is our first 4th of July here in Maryland since we moved from San Diego the summer of 2003. We were in the Philippines last year and at Buggs Island,( NC/VA ) year before. It's gonna be interesting!

My thoughts and prayers for you always...Have a happy 4th!

Edith Hoskins