Friday, November 13, 2020

These boots aren’t made for walking

Now if you get this title’s play on words, you’re a baby boomer like me!

Well after several days of hellish HFS (hand foot syndrome) side effects from my new treatment, I raised my hand and sent a message to Onc. As the day wore on, I decided to follow up the message with a phone call. One thing I’ve learned over these ten years since my initial diagnosis, you have to be your own advocate! Ask for what you need! Don’t brave soldier it. Follow up! Be a pest if you have to! I’m still learning!

My Onc office did get back to me and agreed I could lower my Xeloda dose, from 4000mg per day down to 3000mg. It took a couple days for the new lower dose to help, but it finally did. Although it continues to be challenging, it is tolerable. 

I’d like to give a shout out and a whoop whoop to my Hubby; it is not easy being a caregiver and witness to your partner’s pain, grief and  difficulties during cancer and treatment. After my shower breakdown and some cuddling reassurance, he got on his phone to find something to cool my feet down! 

These booties are a game changer for me!! Thank you Husband!! He had to search for a store that had them in stock and found one pair left at a local CVS store. The booties go into the freezer, and contain gel packs in the lining that cover the sole and heel of your foot. I slipped them on and it was amazing!! I almost thought steam would rise from my hot hot feet and fog up the family room. The booties need about two hours in the freezer before use, so that same night Hubby called around and went out again after finding another CVS that still had one in stock. That way I’d always have a backup! 

Sometimes love isn't roses or big gestures. Sometimes it’s profoundly kind and simple, like a Husband just trying to find a way to cool his wife’s burning feet. 

Overall folks I am doing considerably better. Walking is still tenuous, and I’m using the freezing booties often, but I am not in the overwhelming pain I was in. I have a few more days left on this first cycle, and then have a week off before starting cycle 2. Can’t wait for my off week and sure hope it’s a bit of a reprieve before getting back up on the pony. 

Giddy up! Onward!

Stinkinpinktink! That’s me!


Here’s some info on why Xeloda is one of the drugs that causes HFS, and helpful remedies for dealing with it.


Some cancer drugs affect the growth of skin cells or small blood vessels in the hands and feet. This causes hand-foot syndrome. Once a drug is out of the blood vessels, it damages the surrounding tissues. This causes symptoms that range from redness and swelling to problems walking.

If you notice early signs of hand-foot syndrome, or if you notice your symptoms worsening, call your doctor’s office. Your health care team may need to change your treatment or help you manage the symptom. The following tips may help:

  • Limit the use of hot water on your hands and feet when washing dishes or bathing.

  • Take cool showers or baths. Carefully pat your skin dry after washing or bathing.

  • Cool your hands and feet. Use ice packs, cool running water, or a wet towel for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Avoid applying ice directly to the skin.

  • Avoid sources of heat, including saunas, sitting in the sun, or sitting in front of a sunny window.

  • Avoid activities that cause force or rubbing on the hands or feet during the first 6 weeks of treatment. This includes jogging, aerobics, and racquet sports.

  • Avoid contact with harsh chemicals used in laundry detergents or household cleaning products.

  • Avoid using rubber or vinyl gloves without a liner to clean with hot water. Rubber traps heat and sweat against your skin. Try using white cotton gloves underneath rubber gloves.

  • Avoid using tools or household items that require you to press your hand against a hard surface. Examples include garden tools, knives, and screwdrivers.

  • Gently apply skin care creams to keep your hands moist. Avoid rubbing or massaging lotion into your hands and feet. This type of movement can create friction.

  • Wear loose fitting, well-ventilated shoes and clothes so air can move freely against your skin.

  • Try not to walk barefoot. Use soft slippers and thick socks to reduce friction on your feet.

  • Consider visiting a podiatrist to remove any thick calluses and thick nails before you begin cancer treatment. A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in conditions of the feet. He or she can also recommend products that lower friction and put less pressure on the feet.

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