June 9, 2012
It’s time for me to take a little break and write about side effects of Chemo-Therapy and CyBorD therapy, in particular, and my experiences with it.
CyBorD is: cyclophosphamide (Cytoxin – a cytotoxic), Bortezomib (Velcade – a cytotoxic) and dexamethasone (Decagon – a potent steroid). In addition, I am also being given zoledronic acid (Zometa – a bisphophonate), acyclovir (Zovirax – an anti-viral to prevent shingles) and prochlorperazine maleate (Compazine – anti-nausea, when I need it). All of these are part of a standard therapy for myeloma.
I have experienced the following side effects so far:
- Fatigue: from Cytoxin, Velcade and Zometa;
- Jitters and sleeplessness: from Decagon;
- Nausea: from Cytoxin and Velcade;
- Diarrhea and constipation: from Cytoxin and Velcade;
- Rough, scaly skin on lower legs: from Decagon
- Dysgeusia (reduced ability to taste salt and sour): from Velcade; and, most recently
- Peripheral Neuropathy (PN): from Velcade. This started only last Friday, June 1st.
And this is what I have been doing with each of these side-effects:
- Fatigue: Living with it. Most of the fatigue is on my Velcade dosing days that also correspond with days I take Cytoxin and Zometa. So, I come home to rest, and nap, as I need. The next day, I have been feeling quite good.
- Jitters and sleepnessness: As reported in another post, my doctor, Warren, and I agreed to try one-half my initial dose of the Decagon. This has helped a lot. The jitters seem to have mostly faded away and I am sleeping better.
- Nausea: this has only happened a half-dozen times, usually in the evening or before bed and the prochloraperazine has taken care of it.
- Diarrhea and constipation: According to Warren, the fact that I have experienced both is normal with Cytoxin and Velcade because these have gastrointestinal toxicity. My experience was that I tried to adjust my diet to my symptoms, and I would alternate between diarrhea and constipation, with constipation winning most of the time. Earlier, I had tried Senokot-S, which helped the constipation some, but I really didn’t like it. In late May, I had the idea of prune juice. Since then, every night before going to bed, I have an 8-oz glass of prune juice and this has, thankfully, kept me quite regular. I know there are lots of jokes about prune juice, but when you become that uncomfortable, you swallow your pride and drink some. According to Wikipedia: “Prunes and their juice contain mild laxatives including phenolic compounds (mainly as neochlorogenic acids and chlorogenic acids) and sorbitol. Prunes also contain dietary fiber (about 6%, or 0.06 g per gram of prune). Prunes and prune juice are thus common home remedies for constipation. Prunes also have a high antioxidant content.“. I heartily recommend this natural approach.
- Rough, scaly skin on lower legs: When this arises, I have found that the simple application of body lotion to the affected area seems to take care of it.
- Dysgeusia: There seems to be nothing to do about this one, except to wait for my off weeks and observe that these two senses of taste, salt and sour, do return as my taste buds seem to grow back or come back in some way.
- Peripheral Neuropathy (PN): Of all of them, this was the scariest. The one I really didn’t want. Elsewhere, I have posted (June 3, 2012) about my experience in being treated by Neil, my chiropractor. Neil explains that the function of chiropractic therapy for PN is to keep the nerve communication lines open and clear. I saw Neil again yesterday, June 8th, and I am happy to report that my PN seems to remain in control and I do not currently feel the PN effects, except very lightly and occasionally.