So today I wanted to start talking about what specifically I am doing to support myself during chemotherapy. The doctors say I am tolerating it very well. Aside from the nutrition and supplementation I will detail in my next post, I also am trying something to prevent nerve damage / neuropathy. Here's the background story.
During my first visit with Dr. Isakoff to discuss chemotherapy and the risks and side effects, I asked about the cold cap therapy to prevent hair loss. He said some of his patients had tried it but they were not set up at MGH to accommodate. I would have to rent equipment (a very cold freezer). It seemed to be a bit of an undertaking and so I resigned myself to the fact that I would lose my thick hair for a while and I cut most of it off. The on the 2nd visit he told me a speaker had presented something he found to be intriging. It was called Elastogel provided by a company called Southwest Technologies. My Aunt Eileen was visiting from SC and she said "You should call them and tell them who you are and work your marketing magic." Isakoff agreed and suggested I tell them I would like to demo the product and that my doc at MGH said it is not being used yet on their hospital infusion floor. He also said what was even more interesting was the data on how cold therapy protects the hands and feet by constricting the nerves and preventing the drugs from hitting those areas as strongly. That was all I needed to hear..although I wished it was a couple weeks earlier before my hair was cut:(
I googled the company and wrote a note on their inquiry page to make my request that very evening! The next day there was a letter in my email box! I spoke with Kimbra Sabine that very day and they agreed to send me 2 sets to try. In addition I put them in touch with Dr. Isakoff and now they are involving more patients to do a larger trial at MGH! . No need for a freezer, just dry ice and a cooler on wheels does the trick.. In Hooksett I found a place, New England Dry Ice, which provides my 10 lbs on the day before or the morning of treatment. They were so sweet and would not let me purchase the ice, saying I have enough to deal with right now... yet another example of the kindness I have seen.
Anyway, I have had 6 of the 12 weekly treatments of Taxol and I have absolutely no signs of neuropathy! I asked the company if I could put a link up here for interested patients. It's also not very expensive to purchase a set of mitts or booties, or a cold cap, so interested patients should check them out. http://www.elastogel.com/product-catalog/cancer-care/hypothermia-products
Feeling strong after today's treatment and I thank my friend Hope, also a brave beast cancer survivor for taking me today!