Now the decisions were out of the way, next for me is the road of discovery, challenges but probably more likely sickness is the route of FOLFOX. In ordinary terms this is a combination chemotherapy treatment, made up of three drugs: Folinic Acid – FOL, Fluorouracil (5FU) – F and Oxaliplatin – OX.
- Folinic Acid – this is simply an agent/vitamin that allows the 5FU to be more active against cancer cells, it used to be administered in a bag covered by a black bag as it is light sensitive, however apparently now this is not as important. This takes roughly an hour, sometimes 30 mins or if we get Megan 45 minutes 🙂
- Fluorouracil (5FU) – This drug is known as an anti metabolite, similar to normal molecules within your body, with a slightly different structure aiming to stop the cancer cells from working by stopping them creating and fixing DNA which cancer cells need to grow and multiply. This is the dreaded pump that i take home attached to me for over 46 hours, it slowly pumps 5FU through my system over the 46 hour period. We think this is the culprit for a lot of the previous sickness however, as we have been told, its also the best tool in the toolbox!!!
- Oxaliplatin – Wahheyyy this is platinum, no its based on platinum! This works similar to 5FU by creating toxins which inhibit DNA to replicate and repair, causing the cells to eventually die, fingers crossed! This takes about 2 hours.
So the side effects, well they are pretty similar to what i was having before as the 5FU part of the treatment has remained. The Oxaliplatin though provides its own unique likely side effects :(. These include:
- Tiredness/fatigue – no this isn’t the normal done to much or want a bit of a lazy day its exhaustion. It was safe to say the 1st round of Oxaliplatin caused this, feeling like id been hit by a bus and just not being able to get out of bed or focus on anything not even the TV.
- Numbness or tingling – predominantly in the fingers and toes, this has happened a little in round 2 but nothing too major to report at the moment. This is very common and most people experience this.
- Sensitivity to the cold – means i have to avoid the fridge and cold drinks – warm drinks are not as tasty and sensitivity to anything cold; the fridge/freezer, metal, cutlery, ice, cold air – hip hip hooray its the winter. The cold can then trigger tingling and numbness in fingers and toes, i now wear gloves for everyday activities straight after chemo and i wrap up warm for this couple of days.
- Difficulty swallowing or feeling of being unable to breath – this is again normally triggered by the cold, can happened 5 days after treatment, you can breath it just creates almost a spasm causing you to feel like you cant – scary stuff. Touch wood i have not had this so far my throat just felt like razor blades when i had anything cold.
This whole experience has, at times, made me feel like I’ve aged 20 years or I’ve reverted back to a child, so the introduction of plastic cutlery hasn’t helped this feeling but it stops my fingers from tingling and feeling sore.
Now i’ve got the baby hairbrush, baby comb, baby shampoo, plastic cutlery, plastic plate/bowls, plastic cup, making a little collection, although i have progressed back to a proper hair brush – YESSS to the hair regrowth!!