Taxotere and Xeloda

I am recovering from my fourth cycle of Xeloda and Taxotere, and I’d like to talk about how things are going. This treatment plan is for a recurrence, a 5 cm tumor that showed up during my annual MRI in March of this year. The goal is to shrink this tumor in order to make it operable, and therefore remove it.

I receive Taxotere every three weeks, and, on the same day as the infusion, begin a two-week cycle of 4000 mg of Xeloda. Four pills in the morning, four at night.

As of today my eyes water constantly. My nose is an incessantly dripping faucet, causing me to wipe, drip, wipe, drip, and because of this I’ve become wary of cooking and paperwork. Restless legs make it difficult to fall asleep, leading to a cycle of fatigue and sleeping until 9 or 10 AM that has thrown my summer for a loop.

bed bedroom blanket clean
This is not my bed. Artfully decaying foliage plays no role in my sense of decor.

So far, I feel fortunate that I haven’t experienced Hand/Foot Syndrome, a common and difficult side effect that causes peeling, itching, and can cause the permanent removal of fingerprints. And so far, I have no neuropathy. Knock wood.

But the fatigue. I’m writing this to share with others in treatment, other survivors – you will know what I mean when I talk about the crash, the far, low tide that comes with waking and feeling as if some deep core of bones and blood has been removed, and all that remains is an easily-toppled monument of skin. You become a heap of unmoving muscle, resolved only to rest. Rest and sleep are what the body orders. Mail opening or reading an email becomes an orbit of language that revolves but does not land – I can’t wrap my head around any cognitively demanding tasks after infusions. Give me TV, give me easy magazines. Youtube cat videos and naps.

close up portrait of cat yawning
The National Enquirer!

I find myself cueing up bingeworthy shows: old episodes of The Office, Handmaid’s Tale, Sherlock Holmes, and soon the latest Orange is the New Black. Some of these I watch at night when my husband and daughter sleep. Others I fall asleep to. Dr. Phil is another favorite. After all my losses, I can at least assure myself that I am not duped by internet Don Juans, or that no one in my family has been kidnapped by a cult.

The fatigue, it comes and goes. It is unpredictable and when it comes it must be honored. This is one of the many lessons of cancer: Listen to your body. It is its own untameable animal that requires tending, and if you listen it will lead you well.

How do you deal with fatigue? What are some ways you pass the time when your body says Stay?


2 thoughts on “Taxotere and Xeloda”

  1. Hi Pink Stinks! I didn’t realize you were on Xeloda…..tough stuff for sure! You are AMAZING and you at 4 months have already surpassed the 3 months that I could stand it! As for chemo induced fatigue, I used to play Words with Friends on my phone with my husband and WordWarp by myself. You can just lay around and play the games, but they keep your mind engaged! My mind was so foggy that we tried to make sure that I had to think everyday in the hopes that when it was over I would still have brain cells left! I think it worked!!! I also binge watched Shameless! It’s terrible and tacky, unpolitically correct and the characters are all SHAMELESS, which just makes you laugh and laugh! (NOTE: DO NOT watch if children are around!!!)

    You are also correct that when the fatigue sets in… just is…..and all you can do is sleep. I think that is the body trying to reset from having to fight to heal itself again. Be kind to yourself during this time and do what has to be done. If that means sleep, than just do that. Soon these tired, groggy days and that awful feeling of frustration will be in your rearview mirror. As for now, smile & laugh as often as you can muster, trade a negative word or thought for a positive, eat well and drink loads of water because you have to rebuild yourself during this time. Try to walk as much as possible…..even if it is just to the front door (don’t let your muscles atrophy!) and of course SLEEP knowing that your body is healing.

    Keep in touch with me Pink Stinks! Let’s journey together my friend!
    Sending hugs and prayers your way!
    Blessings Sister Survivor!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carol! Thank you so much for the support. Taxotere and Xeloda are a sloth-inducing combo for sure. Love the Shameless recommendation and the word games. Am also watching Orange is the New Black and Handmaid’s Tale when my kiddo isn’t around.
      Keep in touch, and thank you again for your kind words.


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