The more I find out about Taxol on the internet, the more afraid I am.
I guess the solution is to stop reading about Taxol on the internet. I can’t help it, though. I need to know. I wish I’d known half the things I know now when I started. Knowing all about chemo and cancer treatment in general is one tiny way I can maintain some control over the situation.
Here’s a post I found on a cancer message board:
Taxol is given into a vein, but in order for the body to absorb the drug, it must first be dissolved in a solution. Taxol’s history began 43 years ago. It was found to be virtually insoluble in water. It had the solubility of a brick. The compound wouldn’t dissolve very much in any solution. Without a way to get it into a cancer patient, what good was it? It was discovered that something Taxol would dissove in that “might” work in a reasonably “safe” intravenous solution in humans. It was an elixir made of castor oil and marketed as Cremophor EL. It was the “only” answer (until synthetic compounds were introduced like Taxotere). However, this castor-oil carrier is suspected as the culprit behind the misery which includes nausea, vomiting, joint pain, appetite loss, brittle hair and tingling sensations in hands and feet (neuropathy). The much ballyhooed drug was no panacea.
The poster goes on to reveal that in order for the FDA to approve a drug, the drug needs only to be effective in 20 percent of patients. When Taxol was approved, it had managed to work in 30 percent of patients during trials.
I found this info in an attempt to find out if my new joint pain is normal. I’ve been taking two vicodin a day for about a week because my hands, knees, and elbows hurt so much. I hate taking pain meds. I want to hang on to them in case I really, really need them someday. I’m terrified of continuously refilling my prescription only to have my doctor tell me I can’t refill anymore.
I forgot to mention Melissa Etheridge.
Ryan somehow managed to win us tickets to Melissa’s show when she came to town in July. I was excited to see her, because she is a fellow survivor. I own a couple of Melissa’s CDs, but haven’t been following her career closely, so I wasn’t aware that she’d written a song about cancer and, more specifically, the race for the cure movement.
I was inspired by Melissa. I was inspired by the handful of women I saw who appeared to be in the same boat as me. Melissa sounded wonderful, and we had a great time. We went for a fun evening out, but I walked away feeling uplifted.