Tracie Cone has always been a trailblazer. This award-winning journalist is the former California Newspaper Executive of the Year. She shares a Pulitzer Prize with fellow staff members at the Miami Herald for coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew and has twice been nominated individually. She has focused her writing on helping the underdog and empowering those without a strong voice of their own. Now she takes us on the fight of her life.
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So Far, Kind of OK

Today is Day 3 since my last round of chemo, the 25 percent reduction in Taxatere that we hope is the right balance for me. So far I am not experiencing the bone-aching pain that last time caused me to feel as if I had been beaten half to death with a tire iron.

Along with the Taxatere I’m taking Lapatinib, the pills that allow the chemo to go on its seek-and-destroy mission into places it otherwise could not access, like my brain. What a thought, right? The pills (5 a day on an empty stomach) have their own set of side effects, mostly numbness, pain and burning in my fingers and toes. My skin is peeling off my fingers and it hurts just to type. I’ve been taking them at dawn, an hour before my protein shake. I was feeling pretty good this morning before I took them, now I’m shaky, sore and weak.

So now I’ve got a new plan, backed up by Dr. Nice, aka Dr. Mollick, my replacement oncologist who called today (for the second time this week!!!!!) to see how I’m doing. My chemo overdose and hospitalization during the last go-round has caused some concern. It’s comforting that he checks in since I’ve had such a hard time with all of this.

I hate this Lapatinib feeling, or the feeling I’m blaming on the trial drugs. It’s weird because I actually felt kind of normal today at 5:30 a.m., before I took the pills. “Kind of normal” is not something I feel on Day 3 of chemo, so I was heartened. Not for long.

So tonight, with Dr. Mollick’s blessing, I’m going to take the pills before I go to bed. With a sleeping pill. Then I’ll see if I can pass out for the worst of the symptoms and wake up tomorrow feeling a little better. I have to take these “trial drug” pills every single day for the rest of my chemotherapy routine, and I don’t want to feel like this every day through the end of September.

I’ve got to find a way to make it as easy as possible to navigate this trial-and-error process that has become my cancer treatment protocol.

My sore, peeling fingers are crossed.

2 Responses to “So Far, Kind of OK”

  • Julia Prodis Sulek:

    Hi Tracie,
    Hope you’re feeling well today. My prayers are with you as well as my respect for writing in the dreaded first person!

  • maria:

    Hi Tracie!

    Hope the “so far, kind of ok” lasts throughout this round. I was a bit behind on your posts the last couple of days and have caught up! That was so cool ofyour friends to design that t-shirt for you and I know that motto is so appropriate!! I, along with the rest, believe that you can get through this and you will prevail!!!:). You are in my thoughts and prayers and I just hope I can get a chance to go see you soon!

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