Xeloda, Week 1

I've had my first 1-week round of Xeloda.  We are doing it on an an every-other-week basis, since Dr. Bouncy went to a conference wherein a specialist claimed that this resulted in fewer side effects (or less intense ones, I'm not sure) and similar results cancer-wise.

So far, I've found that the joint/muscle/bone pain, weakness, and fatigue are pretty (cripplingly) intense, that the gastro-intestinal upset is moderate, and that I am already getting some hand/foot syndrome symptoms.  On the other hand, I don't have the overall feeling of being really sick and miserable that I had with the Gemzar, and I don't have the depression - which of itself is very hard for me to deal with.  So on the whole, if the symptoms don't get significantly worse (ha, ha), I think I prefer the Xeloda to the Gemzar.

I am currently at a moderate dosage - 3,000mg.  Dr. Bouncy started me at 4,000, but when I asked about the high dosage, given my history with drugs in general and chemo drugs specifically, he lowered the dosage right away.  I don't know what the side effect level is at which they decide to try a lower dose.  I will be talking to a nurse practitioner next Monday, and will ask her about that.

It will be another couple weeks before we know if the Xeloda is doing anything to shrink the tumors... and even then, we'll just be using the blood markers as a guesstimate.  I won't be able to have another scan until the beginning of January - that will be the real test.

So for now, it's mostly hope that is holding things together... not the hope of a cure, but the hope that things will stay stable or get a little bit better, so that I can hold on long enough to meet and enjoy my new granddaughter, who is due in February.  Wish me luck!



This past couple weeks has been a waiting game, for the most part - waiting to see if we could get the financing set up for the new chemo.  Evidently my insurance company is cheerfully willing to spend tens  of thousands of dollars every month to have me get chemo by infusion, but won't spend less than a thousand per month for chemo I have to take orally.  So I had to apply to various private charitable orgs in order to get funding.  Funding that will work for this year (two months), but which will have to be applied for all over again in January, with no guarantee of approval.

Are we having fun yet?

So as of Friday, the funding is there for November and December, and the chemo (Xeloda) is on its way.  I'll start on Monday, theoretically.

I have reservations.  I've been having gastro-intestinal issues with the Gemzar, and the Xeloda is even more likely to cause issues there.  And they have me on a fairly high dosage, which seems unwise given my history with chemo (and drugs in general).  But we'll give it a shot, I guess - there aren't a lot of options available any more, so we've got to try what we can.

Wish me luck...