Chemo – Part 3 (My fingers have become comfortably numb)

by shaysemmens

I’m currently in the middle of the shortest ‘gap’ between chemo cycles that I’ve experienced so far. I had chemo on the 25th (4 days ago) and will be having it again on the 11th. That’s 4 days less break time than the usual 3 weeks.  This wasn’t really done deliberately, it just seems to have kind of fallen this way after some rearranging with my upcoming stem cell collection. I’m not going to go into too many details about the stem cell collection process just yet (as I’ll do a blog post dedicated solely to that once it’s done) but I can say that if you like needles, you have a lot to look forward to.

One thing I had somehow forgotten to write about in the process recounting of my chemo sessions was the effect of one of the drugs – cyclophopshamide. When this particular chemotherapy drug is being pumped into me, there is a somewhat horrible sensation in my eyes. Not just at the forefront of my eyes though, but all over, and mostly behind them. It is a lot like I’ve opened my eyes in a pool that’s been too heavily chlorinated, except that being that it’s focused mainly behind my eyes, there seems to be no way to wash the feeling away. It’s quite unpleasant. It certainly takes away the option of reading a book while it’s happening. Fortunately though, this drug takes no longer than 30 minutes (usually less) and as soon as the bag is empty, the feeling in my eyes always goes away pretty much instantly. And in case you’re wondering, it wasn’t hard to remember which of the drugs was causing this after I asked – since it starts with ‘cyclop’ and kind of makes me want to tear my own eyes out during the process.

I’ve also been suffering a side effect caused by another of the 4 drugs, this one being vincristine. While it’s not an overly serious issue, the tips of my fingers have been feeling slightly numb, or at least kind of ‘pins and needles-y’ for a few weeks now. Due to this, and due to the fact that the numbness remained right up until the last chemo dose, they actually cut the drug back by 50%. I should point out this is a pretty insignificant side effect. My fingers still work fine, they’re just numb. It’s quite easy to feel strange lack of sensation during some tasks (such as right now, typing on this keyboard). It kind of feels like the very ends of my fingers, and only the very ends of my fingers, are drunk. Really drunk. So drunk that they don’t care anymore and everything is fine by them. Go ahead and pound away at this here keyboard. They don’t care. They just want a burrito.

Other than that, everything is carrying on pretty much as normal. This week is somewhat hellish due to 7:30am starts, but again, that will all be explained in due time. I had a PET scan yesterday and actually fell asleep inside the machine. I remember a Queen song came on and then next minute it was a Gold FM commercial so I’d obviously fallen asleep. The machine operators didn’t say anything and I’m hoping they didn’t notice. I just have to hope the results from this scan are as positive as the last one.

More updates coming soon. Take care.