Friday, February 27, 2009

Neuropathic pain

Somehow Taxol manages to temporarily inflame the nerves. This seems to take two forms: peripheral neuropathy in which the fingers and toes are numb or tingling and myalgia in which the muscle fibers feel inflamed. My thighs feel swollen and tender even though I did nothing to injure the muscles themselves. Usually sore muscles can be soothed by rest, massage, hot baths, NSAIDs, etc but the myalgia caused by nerve damage is completely different. As for the peripheral neuropathy, I have a very mild case. Some people lose their fine motor skills e.g. can't button their clothes. Somehow it includes tingling gums for me.

During the last 2 cycles, I had only 3 bad days of this and am hoping that it doesn't last longer for this cycle or the last cycle. The vicodin cuts down on some of the pain (but causes nausea, spaciness and possible liver damage) but I was hoping for something that specifically targets the myalgia so I called as soon as possible yesterday begging for Neurotin (gabapentin). Two hours later, the nurse calls and says it isn't appropriate for me as it takes up to a week to work but she would discuss my case with Dr. Henry and eventually get back to me with some alternatives. Ten hours after my original call, I get a call saying that I can have my Neurotin but if it doesn't work, I might need to have weekly Taxols instead of the dose dense protocol. I said I would tough it out as I don't want my days extended in chemoland for any reason. The Neurotin seemed to cut down on the tingling (which really doesn't bother me too much) and I felt a little better. Also I was able to sleep until 5 am when the myalgia woke me up.

I was able to walk fairly well before the myalgia kicked in yesterday. I am taking as little vicodin as possible, I am to gradually increase the Gabapentin but if the myalgia goes away by tomorrow, I don't really need it.

I did a little research yesterday. Calcitonin is also made in the gut so it doesn't matter that my thyroid doesn't manufacture it anymore. Still investigating the role of the parathyroids.

Rainy, drab day today. Josh will take me out to lunch, which I am looking forward to and later, it is the final bball game of the season. They are having a special ceremony to honor the 4 seniors of which Naomi is one. We will have to make more concrete plans for her future.

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