Yesterday, I met with my new medical oncologist (my prior one moved to a different practice and I decided to stay with the practice) and while the jury is still out on whether or not I’ll stay with her or the practice, I did learn something pretty troubling. It seems that the worst of the side effects I’m experiencing that I thought was due to the aromatase inhibitor I’m taking is actually a side effect of my chemo regimen. And to think that I thought chemo was behind me.
I was on a cocktail that included the drug Taxotere and it seems that it can cause permanent peripheral neuropathy. It’s a bit confusing, since I ended chemo in December of 2018, but apparently this particular issue generally doesn’t show up until several months after chemo, and happened to dovetail with the start of the aromatase inhibitor. I was sure it was due to the latter, and I don’t recall my last oncologist talking about permanent side effects, but then again, I’m also sure it was somewhere in the 12-page handout I received on each of the two chemo drugs that comprised my regimen. Not that I would have stopped chemo because of some possible side effect down the road, but I’m also not happy that I might have to live with this. It’s possible that it will go away after about a year, or diminish, but it’s also possible that I’ll have this permanently. Sure, it’s better than having cancer, and acupuncture and a B-complex seem to be working to lessen the symptoms, but I think I still get to be angry.
It also did not help that the new oncologist is questioning the advice given to me by my old oncologist, and might not have recommended chemo or might have strongly urged additional testing prior to making that decision, but what’s done is done. Frankly, I’m not at all regretful that I did absolutely everything to kill the cancer in my body, and I would hate to live with the idea that I could have done more, but I’m also not sure how this questioning by the new doctor was helpful.
I had chemo, I may have permanent neural damage, but with any luck when I have my first scans next month, I’ll be cancer-free and unapologetic about the path I took to get there.