Recovery from chemotherapy (week 4)

It’s been a hectic week, what with one thing or another, but when I reflect on my side-effects and symptoms, there haven’t been any startling changes to report.

My peripheral neuropathy is feeling worse this week than last, which I suspect is related to the fact that it seems to be quite a bit colder weather this week. My fingers, hands, feet and toes all feel numb and uncomfortable. Still, the problems with my larynx haven’t resurfaced, so at least I don’t have that to worry about. From talking to a colleague who’s now recovered from his chemotherapy, I now know I could have many more months left before the peripheral neuropathy really goes away. Although that’s a bit depressing it also gives me a better idea of what to expect, and at least I know I’m likely to be in for a long haul on this.

My tiredness generally seems to be a little better, though as it’s been a busy week where I’ve burned the candle at both ends, it’s hard to tell for sure. I’m also cutting back on my codeine now, which should also affect my tiredness (positively) so there is a lot in the mix here. Next week is (if anything) going to be even busier, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see me thinking that my tiredness was getting worse, when in actual fact, it’s getting better and I’m just doing a lot more.

My sense of taste is still weird. No change.

My dry skin, and all the resulting flaking and peeling has remained annoyingly pronounced this week; again, I suspect the change to colder weather may have played a part here. I’m back on the “new man” regime of moisturise, moisturise, moisturise.

I am FROZEN. All the time. I just can’t get warm. Admittedly the weather is definitely colder, but even so, despite becoming an expert on layering, I just don’t seem able to get or keep warm; T-shirt, thick overshirt, fleece and ski-jacket, and I’m still shivering. I keep over-riding the programmable thermostat at home too, bumping the house temperature up a couple of degrees to get comfortable. I’m doing it sufficiently regularly that I may just give in and reprogramme the temperatures.

The problems with my ileostomy, hernia and stoma haven’t changed, though fortunately the status of my reversal operation has. I only need to cope with them for another 9 days, and then I’ll be in for the surgery to remove and resolve them. However, in the interim I’m finding dealing with the problems more difficult, simply because I’m now reducing my codeine dose. The consequences are that the output of my ileostomy is rising, and I’m now experiencing more pain from the stoma where it is chafing on my waistbands/belts when previously that pain was controlled by the codeine. Speaking of which, I’ve reduced my codeine dose by 25% over the last week, and will reduce it by another 25% (of the original dose) this week. I’m assuming that when I have the reversal operation I will be taken off the remaining codeine completely, so I really need to reduce it as much as possible before that.

Being forced to go “cold-turkey” on the day of the operation doesn’t sound particularly clever!

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