So Tuesday evening I had a slight fever and really awful chills. I bundled up in bed and the fever broke overnight, but I decided to go to the doctor Wednesday morning anyway. When you are on chemo, fever can be a bad sign, sometimes requiring IV antibiotics or even hospitalization because chemo generally kills any rapidly dividing cells, which includes cancer cells but also white blood cells that fight infection. (This is also the reason chemo can cause hair loss and stomach problems because those cells divide rapidly too.) I had my blood counts checked and my white blood cells are at a normal level, I’m still mildly anemic and have low platelets (the blood cells that help your blood clot). Bottom line is I have a garden variety virus and the doctor prescribed rest, fluids, and soup. This is good news compared to what it might have been. I called in reinforcements at home (thanks Jolene and Cheryl) to help with the kids and got lots of rest yesterday, so I’m doing better today. I decided to work from home today to avoid spreading my germs and just rest a bit more.
While I was at the doctor, she took a look at my hands and said we need to lower my dosage of Xeloda. My previous checkups with her happened to be scheduled on days when my hands and feet were not so bad, so this was the first time she saw them at their worst. I told her that it’s hard for me to know when to call her and when to just suck it up. The last few days I’ve been having trouble opening things (pill bottles, cans of soup, even peeling a banana) and she said that is definitely a sign we need to make a change. I have been at the highest dose for my size and a modified schedule, one week on, one week off. She recommended I take an extra week off to allow my hands and feet to heal and then decrease the dose from 4000 mg to 3000 mg per day. I’m a little nervous making a change to something that’s working, but it would be great to get to the point where we have maximum cancer fighting power and minimum side effects.