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  • All about Gertrude

    Gertrude is the name we decided to call my cancerous breast hence the title of this blog. Although I had to keep my breast through chemo and radiation due to the nature of IBC - once it 'blew up' it no longer looked like my breast and I couldn't wait to get rid of it. Calling it Gertrude was a way of seperating it from myself. This main page is where I write about the general goings on that relate to Gertrude, there is another page that are more a diary of treatments etc This blog is a public blog so although I am being very honest about my battle with Gertrude I have "changed names to protect the innocent" - because everyone can see it if you write comments on the blog pages please use the same abbreviations for other family member or friends that I do. Please feel free to ask questions if you want clarification because then other people who might have been wondering the same thing can read your question and our answers.
  • Abbreviations

    OH- Other Half (Hubby), OD- Oldest Daughter, MD- Middle Daugher, YD- Youngest Daughter, SB- soulja boi MD's fiance in the army (now ex fiance), OD's R OD's partner, BS- Breast surgeon whose initials just happen to be BS as well, BC- our GP (family doctor), Dr H- my medical oncologist, all other friends family etc will be referred to as initials etc
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    No Princess Alone button

Getting on my nerves

This chemo (Taxol) is literally getting on my nerves.

One of the major side-effects of chemotherapy treatment with Taxanes –  Taxol (Paclitaxel) or Taxotere (Docitaxel)  – is that as well as hair loss, nausea and all the other usual side effects you hear about,  they cause peripheral neuropathy which is that they damage the nerves in your extremities such as your fingers, feet and toes.

It builds up gradually and at first you dont notice it other than the occasional little tingly feeling in your fingers or toes.

How much peripheral neuropathy I get will be one of the deciding factors on how long I stay on Taxol.

It has been getting worse over the last month and especially in the last couple of weeks.  I lie awake at night with a tingling burning feeling in my toes and the balls of my feet – its ‘tingly burning’ to the point of being painful.  I can feel it in my fingers as I type these blog posts with each key stroke feeling simutaneously slightly numb and slightly more painful.

Holding a pen to make notes at uni on Tuesday was another time when I realised it was getting worse, and it made me wonder how well I am going to be able to write in my upcoming exam (middle of June), as well as having quite a lot of work on an assignment to type up in the next week.

I struggled to do buttons up on OH’s work shirts after I washed them – I dont tend to wear things with a lot of buttons myself –  thank goodness.

What it comes down to is whether I am getting enough benefit from the Taxol versus the quality of life while I am on it.

My next oncologist assessment appointment will be the first week of June, and I know it is going to come up for discussion then.  Ordinarily my next appointment would be on the 30th May but because of OD’s wedding on the 1st of June we have delayed the oncologist appointment and taken that week off chemo as well so we can concentrate on the wedding and family.


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  1. Karyn @ kloppenmum

     /  May 19, 2012

    Oh that’s tough.

  2. I had Taxol, too, and neuropathy is one of my lingering side effects so I understand your frustration and how this is quite literally “getting on your nerves.” Good luck with that upcoming appointment and getting this addressed further.

  3. Hi,

    I really hope that you have a wonderful time at your daughter’s wedding. A week off from chemo will be a gift…. I just wanted to mention that my doctor has stated to me that Taxotere is less associated with peripheral neuropathy than Taxol is. Perhaps, Taxol is a better drug for you, but you might want to ask if what my oncologist said is true and if it is true, could you be on Taxotere instead?

  4. Slavica

     /  May 21, 2012

    I red all your blogs and was getting update from OH.
    Have a wonderful time at your daughter’s wedding.
    I’ll be overseas from Friday. Like to see a photo from the wedding.
    Good luck!

  5. Gillian

     /  June 2, 2012

    He Jen I had docetaxal three years ago and I still have some tingling in my fingers and some days they are numb. I started beading to try and get the feeling back. It helped, I can now thread my own needles and pick up tiny beads. Some days when it was really bad I would get a bowl of tiny beads and rub my fingers through them.
    Its worth a try 🙂


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