My Xelada treatments have continued on for over a year now. I am still on the treatment plan of taking two, 500 mgs. in the morning and two more in the evening for two weeks and then having one full week off.
In addition, my Oncologist has me on a few other medications. I now get Vitamin B12 shots every other week. This was originally every week, with a goal of getting them once a month, but I’m just not there yet…. Special note: I get these shots at home – my husband gives them to me. I think it’s the highlight of his day, when he gives me a shot … ha!
I have an appointment every month with my Oncologist. They do a full lab profile prior to my actual appointment with the doctor. After the doctor’s visit, I go down the hall to the Infusion Treatment Room and received my scheduled “injection” of Xgeva. I refer to it as an injection as it takes a bit longer to administer than a regular shot. (And, YES, that’s lots of medications that start with an “X.”)
For the last five years, I received shots of Prolia several times a year. With the new chemo treatments, my doctor wanted to “up” the strength of the medication to help my bones. To explain, the chemo can really do some damage to your bones. As it goes through your body to attack the cancer cells, it can easily cause unwanted damage to good cells, mainly my bones. The Xgeva is supposed to help in keeping the outer shell of my bones healthy and strong.
A bit more help to keep my bones healthy comes by taking the 1,000 mg of Vitamin D every day…. AND, I have just recently added 50 mgs. of Vitamin B6 each day. The Vitamin B6 is supposed to be helpful in calming down the constant dry, cracking skin of my hands and feet.
As time has gone on with my treatments, I have become more and more aware of the side effects from the Xelada that build up or accumulate the longer I take the chemo treatments. So, for right now I normally start off my 14 days regiment of Xelada feeling pretty well. However, by the end, or last 3 days, of the regiment, I begin to feel more tired, a bit run down. I’ve learned to pace myself. I try to “sit down” at least 30 minutes every afternoon. Sometimes, I have to just give in to being tired. On those days, I actually lay down and take a nap! Rest and sleep is essential to your health taking any chemo.
TIP: As the chemo meds and all the other medication and vitamins I take can be a lot to keep up with every day, I recreated my own pill/medication organization. I bought a one week, 4 times a day pill organizer. I printed off my own labels for each day of the week, Sunday through Saturday, “Sunday morning, Sunday night,” and so on. This makes it very easy to keep track of what I need to take and when.
ANOTHER TIP: I have a calelndar/planner that I write each chemo treatment by cycle number in it. When I started my chemo, I recorded on a Monday, “1/8 in the morning and 1/8 in the evening. That meant that it was my first or number 1 cycle and I took 8 chemo pills at that time. As my number of pills has decreased over the last year and the number of treatment cycles I have been through has increased, my entry looks more like, “18/2 in the morning and 18/2 in the evening.” Meaning, I am on my 18th cycle and I take 2 chemo pills morning and night. I always take my planner to my doctor’s visits. My doctor and I always compare what cycle we each show me to be on. It’s really helpful and important to me to be organized and informed in my treatment plan.
I try very hard to stay upbeat and go about life as usual on a daily basis. However, on those days that I am feeling down, maybe not feeling too well and/or feeling sorry for myself, I REMIND myself that I am lucky, very lucky, in fact. The medical advances for treating Metastatic Bone Disease are getting better every day. This makes me feel hopeful that a cure is out there somewhere ….