One of the annoying side effects from the chemo I’m getting ( Gemcetibine and Docetaxel) is the damage I’m now seeing to my nails. Researching online, it seems the Docetaxel could be the main culprit but having a double whammy dose of chemo probably doesn’t help matters. Having spent sooo long getting my nails up to par (if you’ve read my earlier posts you’ll know I’ve battled with nail biting for years up until a couple of years ago when I decided enough was enough) and to watch my hard work go down the drain as the drugs took hold has been a bit of a blow. Still, never one to sit down and give up, I’ve researched chemo nail care and delved into products which could help restore my nails to some sort of normality. Hopefully, this might help some of you in the same position.
Re-hydration is my main aim as my nails have gone so dry, despite using cuticle oil by the gallon. The white bits have gradually crept down my nails but strangely enough, just on both ring fingers! I’m not sure what I can do about those though …..
I’ve had no problem growing my nails throughout my ongoing chemo treatment – in fact they’ve grown like mad. I read that some people lose their nails due to Docetaxel so I guess I’m lucky in that respect.
give them a whirl – after all I’ve got nothing to lose but healthy nails to gain. The two products I plumped for were the Nail Balsam and Nail Repair and then their Keratin Nail Restorer and Keratin Nail Protector. I’ve had the first two products for about a week now and the latter have just arrived. Whilst ferreting around online I was reminded that nails are basically made of keratin and that restoring your nails to health meant restoring the keratin levels. Having seen that TRIND also have keratin products I went and checked these out and decided that having some extras in my arsenal wasn’t a bad thing.
Using the products is easy: you simply apply a coat of the Balsam to clean, dry nails and leave for two minutes to soak in, then gently rub any excess into your nails. I can see my nails absorbing the balsam! Then, you apply a coat of the Nail Repair and allow to dry. This helps seal in the balsam and helps strengthen your nails. Each day, you simply remove the products with a non-acetone polish remover and start the two-step process again.
Already I can see some improvement in the condition of my nails and they are definitely more hydrated. On first applying the Keratin Nail Restorer, I’m really impressed at how quickly it’s absorbed and how incredibly soft and smooth my nails feel, even after one shot. I’ve left off applying the Nail Protector for a few hours as I want to apply some more of the keratin goodness throughout the day.
The keratin products are formaldehyde free although the Nail Repair does contain this. I’m not a fan of formaldehyde but on this occasion, I’m prepared to overlook this if it means my nails stand any chance of getting back to how they were pre-chemo!!
I’ll update on the progress ……..
Well, we’ve had a great summer this year down here in the south of England. Plenty of hot summer sun and hot sticky nights and it looks like we are enjoying an Indian summer as the temperatures are still brilliant as we hit the second week of September!
I’ve not been able to fully enjoy the lazy days of summer, having to travel to London three weeks out of four for my ongoing cancer treatment but it’s been great to see our wonderful capital in its summer glory. Let’s hope the sun continues to shine and that autumn is late arriving this year!
Some good news: we are expecting our third grandson early in the New Year! Leah and Simon are having another boy, a little brother for Archie, who’s now 2. Can’t wait!
Apologies for the lack of posts written but this is due to my illness. I’ll try and get on here more, promise!
The new drugs are pretty intense and have knocked me for six but if they work, then it’ll all be worth it. Have a CT scan booked for a couple of weeks’ time to see how things are progressing. We know the prognosis isn’t good; the cancers are incurable but we just go from day to day and keep everything crossed.
On a brighter note, I managed to do the Race for Life back in July and completed the 6k in just over an hour with my daughters and two friends. It was a baking hot day, which didn’t help but we did it and raised quite a bit of money for a very worthwhile cause…
So…… back from another trip to the Royal Marsden, this time a two day stopover, as Tuesday I had my PICC line inserted, which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be (although I did keep my eyes shut for most of the procedure!!) Now sporting a very nifty little bandaged accessory on my left arm
Yesterday was the usual whole day of appointments, apart from having bloods, which was done through my line on Tuesday. So simple and no cannulas involved – yay!
Chemo was also very quick, following the line being cleaned and re-dressed and was out of the RM at least an hour earlier than we normally are. Only downside to the day was being told by my doctor that there are now at least two more nodules found and am now a Stage 4. Great.
Last Thursday I went to work with my hair intact, apart from being able to pull out loads of strands. By Sunday, it was getting pretty obvious it wasn’t going to be hanging around much longer and most of it has now gone, apart my fringe (helpful) and quite a bit left on top. I refuse to look like Max Wall and it’s going to have to go. Thank god I sorted out my new hair in time, plus my collection of hats/scarves etc!
Going into work for the first time with my new barnet was a little nerve-wracking but the only comment I received was from my colleague asking if I’d been to the hair dresser and that my hair looked so good! Other than that, I told everyone else who commented. No point keeping it to myself. Just in case the wind blew it off and then what an idio I’d look.
My “new hair” is an exact replica of my own hair, only looks sooo much better! It’s fooled a few people who think it’s my own and who am I to argue with that? The owner of the hair salon who supplies the hair is a fellow cancer sufferer so she knows exactly what we’re all going through when we lose our hair and want to look as “normal” as possible. Good on you, Chris.
The British summer has really kicked in over the last few days, which is great but the sticky heat gets a bit much, especially at night.
And then there are the ulcers. I’d read about this lovely side-effect but really hoped I would avoid them but I’ve got a couple of ulcers now, together with sore lips so the pineapple ice-cubes have come into their own….
Can’t wait to see what else is in store for me
But I did manage to find my jelly sweets at the local market. Bargain.
Even plain water has lost its oomph so I’ve ordered a new Brita filter jug which should be here today. At least I’ll have some decent hydration that’s not full of contaminations. Got enough of those in me at the moment without adding more ……
Liquorice jelly buttons (the ones you get in allsorts) help too but the only place I can get these is at our local hospital’s shop!! And I avoid that place like the plague unless visiting mum! But I’ve found them online so no worries there! Drinking plenty of water and tea when I can stomach it but my tastebuds are definitely changing. My appetite’s disappearing although I’ve found that sometimes when I think I feel sick, I’m actually hungry but halfway through eating, I can’t take another mouthful.
The inside of my mouth seems to have a life of its own now so the mouthwash I was given has been well used. Also my lovely niece Rebecca reminded me that pineapple juice is a great antiseptic and I’ve taken her tip and frozen freshly-juiced pineapple juice cubes ready for when those dreaded mouth ulcers dare to show their face!
I’ve been tired for a long, long time but didn’t realise this would be getting worse. I can sleep for England and being back at work is only adding to the problem! But I try and stay awake in the evening as long I can but trying to socialise is now getting to be an effort. I just love my bed!
As most people are aware, one of the biggest side effects of chemo is hair loss. Not everyone loses their hair, it all depends on the drugs. I was told from the outset that I’d be losing my hair thanks to the Doxorubicin and even now, it’s starting to come away, a few strands each time but enough to notice. The whole texture of my hair’s changed too, so it’s baby shampoo all the way from now on! So how do I feel about the whole hair loss thing? To be honest, it’s only hair. If it means I have a better survival rate, then why should I or anyone else worry about it? Millions of people are going through exactly the same thing each and every day and it’s just one of the darker sides of cancer and chemo.
Spending so much time at home recovering this year has meant that I’ve had to find things to do that didn’t involve either driving/lifting/too much exertion. Luckily I’ve been able to stitch and make crafts for Jack’s upcoming Summer Fayre at Lee on Solent Infants School on Saturday 5th July. Hannah and I have a table there where I’ll be selling my goodies with a portion of the proceeds going to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
Come along and say hi to us, as well as supporting a great cause
Good thing we are fortified as there is, yet again, more bad news. The cancer has also spread to my liver and it’s pretty serious. Incurable serious. When that little bombshell has sunk in, we ask and get answered, all our questions, nothing’s too much trouble, we’re given leaflets on rare sarcomas, keyworker contact numbers …. Chemo is discussed and we decide this is the next step forward. I’m asked if I would like to have chemo locally or come up to RM every three weeks. \Have chemo locally/ You’re having a laugh, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the incompetence of our local hospital. I’d rather not put the remainder of my life back in their hands, thank you very much. There’s no question, our minds are made up. Yes, it’s a lot of travelling, especially when I start feeling really ill but there’s no comparison to the care we’re receiving from RM. Anyone who’s walked through their doors can’t fail to be impressed by the calm, positive attitude of everyone working there.
We are the last patients at the RM when we finally leave to catch the Tube back to our hotel and I can’t speak for Kev, but I feel as if it’s all happening to someone else. We now know the true extent of what’s happening to me and what’s been missed over the last two years and we are devastated. And angry.
And a think a gin and tonic is well in order, not sure about you …..
* I’m forced to return to this post and add that, actually, the hotel was absolutely CRAP! Building work going on, rooms badly in need of repair but we had no choice. Definitely will never go near this place again, for sure.
My timetable has been planned pretty methodically: Bloods 10.00, echocardiogram 10.30, doctor 11.50 then chemo 2.00. This is when we find out that things don’t always run to plan! First problem is trying to get bloods from me. My veins won’t play and it takes three attempts before the necessary tube is extracted from the back of my hand! The echo shows my heart is 100% healthy, which is great as it means I can go ahead with the chemo, provided my bloods are ok. In the gap between the echo and seeing the doctor, we head outside back into South Ken; It’s boiling hot, there’s the London buzz in the air which I love and we have plenty of time to spare before heading back for chemo.
This is where everyone plays the waiting game. The chemo suite is large, bright and airy with comfortable reclining chairs. It’s just a matter of getting in there! In the end, I only have to wait just over an hour and a half before I’m called in. And then I myself am the cause of more delays for other patients! Yep, it’s down to those old cannulas again! No cannula, no chemo. My poor nurse has three attempts, on both my arms and hands without success, even resorting to putting my arms into a yellow sharps bucket of hot water to soften my veins. Chaos erupts when another young nurse trips over the bucket which is on the floor, spilling a gallon of hot water everywhere! Kev is on his knees with towels, helping to mop up the river of water which has gone everywhere. Meanwhile, I am reclining back in my chair, just praying they can get the needle in so we can get going with the chemo! Finally, another nurse is called over who quickly and expertly inserts the cannula and we are away!
The actual chemo seems a bit of an anti-climax after all the excitement. Half an hour’s worth of bright pink Doxorubicin quickly and efficiently pumped into my veins from two large vials, followed by a few minutes of flushing and we’re all done. One quirky note to end with; your pee is bright pink straight away. What a party piece!