Today I received my first treatment of Doxil (doxorubicin). First they gave me a new anti-nausea drug called Emend (given by IV), then i took Decadron (a steroid) and Ativan (for anxiety) orally. Then they finally set up the Doxil. Two chemo nurses sat with me to monitor how well I reacted and to make sure there were no problems. They gave it very slowly at first, then began increasing the speed. It took about 90 minutes - two hours for the whole infusion.
Doxil is a bright peach color, or as one nurse put it, exactly the shade of peach Jello. I don't eat too much Jello but I liked her softer imagery.
I felt quite chatty, especially compared with my morose behavior of the past few days. Either the Zoloft (anti-depressant( is kicking in quickly, or the steroids gave me just enough lift. D and C came to visit and I was able to have good interactive conversations with them both. D called me "perky." Either way, I rose to the occasion and provided the nurses with information they needed.
One bit was about the interaction of lymphedema with hand-foot syndrome. Evidently, if you get this, it comes on for a few days immediately after treatment and then eases. You can help prevent it by taking tepid showers; not using knives or tools; not kneeling or leaning on your arms. So far none of the providers recalls treating anyone with hand-foot syndrome who also has lymphedema. I have left a message with my physical therapist asking about her experience and I'm sure she will call back if she has a solution to offer.
Meanwhile we have decided that for these first three or so days post-Doxil, I will cease all lymphedema management to avoid putting undue pressure on my palms, and then return to night-time bandaging more loosely (if I can do this). At least I have a plan.
We came home with two prescriptions: Emend is given via IV on treatment day, and then via oral pill on each of the next two days. I have oral Zofran to manage additional nausea, should I experience any. And despite his not wanting to order me additional Ativan last week, Dr G wrote a new scrip for Ativan today, so I am covered for both anxiety and nausea.
It all went very smoothly. I was surprised that my counts were high enough to permit starting this treatment, but Dr G thinks it's best to start asap and he's the boss of my cancer. And last Thursday he said in plain words, "Your cancer is going to get better."