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  • Nathira Salim

Back after a break

Welcome back to my site peeps. Been a while and have a couple of stuffs to update here.

First of all- Abraxane sucks big time - for me.

The side effects have been a tad too much for my body in the month of March.


You see - every three weekly chemo infusions I get is considered a cycle. If I had my first infusion of this Abraxane, its called Cycle1Day1. As of drafting this, I am in my C4D1. So I have completed almost 10 infusions and have 2 more to go to end Chemo. Like finally!


What happened when I first started on the Abraxane was that my doc put me on a back to back chemo session - which meant I had 4 infusions before I met up with the doc. By right, I should have seen her after my 3rd. By the 4th infusion ( C2D1), these were the side effects I had:


  • Severe pain waist down

  • Bone and muscle pain on left leg

  • Lack of balance when walking

  • Weak knees

  • Fatigue

  • Bloating

  • No feeling to clear gut

  • Severe abdominal pain

  • Peripheral neuropathy in fingers and toes


The abdominal pain was the straw that broke the back actually. The tummy bloated, but it wasn't due to food and it was painful to the touch. I couldn't feel the need to clear my gut. I was not able to wear anything tight on me - under garments all hurt my body. It was hard to describe what I went through actually, but I felt as if my tummy would fall to the ground - for it felt very heavy whenever I stood up. It was as if the entire gravity was acting on my tummy.


I figured maybe - since I was always on my butt on the couch lying and not walking much, the strain was on my tummy. But I wasn't so sure, for I was not able to walk as well. My knees don't feel the same anymore. If I walk fast, I sway to my right. All I know was it was not going well for me. I just can't move. I couldn't even walk to my study room to work on my blog. I just couldn't bring myself to do it.


On the day of my appointment with the doc, I was heavily dependent on my hubby to walk, I had to hold on to him because I didn't feel confident on walking on my own. I felt as if I was going for a gynae appointment instead of a oncological appointment. I was walking like a duck, my hands on my bloated and painful tummy and struggling with the pain. The moment my doc saw me waddling into her room she was worried. She said my blood works were bad again, my wbc was way too low, my liver works were worrying and asked about me and I said I was in pain. She checked my tummy and was worried when I said it was painful when she felt my sides. She called for an urgent X ray to check on my insides. Two hours later the doc said there was nothing worrying from the X ray, said there was probably some infections happening somewhere inside my body and that I need to let the body recover. So no chemo for the week. I was pretty upset by that actually for I really wanted all this to end. This pain and heaviness I felt that was ruining my ease - have to stop. The doc said she will see my frequently now to keep tabs on my side effects.


NCC has a distress call helpline. That department usually sends an sms asking me to fill in a survey on how I feel for the week. That particular week before I visited the doc I rated my distress as 7 from a scale of 0 to 10 - 10 being in extreme distress. I listed out whatever I was feeling and submitted. Days later I received call from a Nurse Neela who asked me what was going on. I explained to her all my symptoms and she took note of them and told me of some of the ways I can alleviate my pain.


To clear my gut and bloating - I was advised to take the tablets that was prescribed earlier on for my bloating. Instead of taking only one tablet I was advised to take two the night before and sleep. Upon waking the following morning I am to drink warm water and have prunes in the morning and whenever. I am to drink fruit juices such as papaya milk to try to clear my gut. Because I am not walking, I can't clear the gut well.


For my tingling toes - I am advised to wear socks and covered soft slippers at home at all times. I was advised to continue with the antibiotics that was prescribed till my next doc visit and that she will meet up with me then.


By the next visit the following week - I was much better with rest. The abdominal pain was gone. The changes were visible to the doc who said that my wbc was also getting better. I also met up with the nice Nurse Neela who explained in length what else I can do to alleviate my side effects. If my tingling and numbness in my finger and toes don't go away after chemo I am to go for a chemo reform program to help me gain the feelings back. For now - I can't do anything much such as unpacking any food containers, write using a pen or type in my usual speed in both my phone and in my Macbook. But the moment if cups or glasses keep falling when I pick them, I am to call in for help she said.


After that visit I had two more chemo session and by the end of C3D3, I could feel the fatigue creeping up on me. Did you know I almost fainted at a mall? Now thats a post for another day. The sad and unavoidable issue is that my chemo end date has been delayed to almost a month. I realised that I have to make peace with that.


You see, what I failed to realise is that chemo is not killing me per se, its killing all the cancer cells it could find and the rest of the normal cells that are healthy and thriving have to sacrifice a bit or longer. I cannot rush the process for if I do, some other organs will fail and I will end up being in more pain. I am in pain - thats a fact. I can't handle the discomfort I have every night and I can't handle the emotional pressure inside of me to want this to end. I am at it for more than six months and I can't see the end of it. It hurts to think negatively but I need to accept the fact that I need the rest. So I rest as much as I can. What else can I do?


After another one more week of break since my liver reading was low again - my C4D1 started this week. I also spoke to Nurse Neela who emphasised on the need to get my gut cleared and eat up as much fibre rich food I can. This week I am eliminating the food that I think trigger the heaviness I have in my diet. I will write more about it later.


Cancer is hard but it's not the cancer that is hurting me, it's the cure. Learning to live with the grind is hard, but I am working on it. Please help and pray that I will get through all this and come out stronger than before. Ameen.









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