A dear friend of mine is starting Xeloda (a chemo pill) this weekend, and she asked me for my experience. After writing her an email summary, I thought I’d share it with you in case other people are looking for a summary of how it might affect you as well. As I found this summer, there’s not much on the ‘net:
Xeloda is much easier on you than IV chemo. I have blogged my experience over the last 4 weeks, but really there’s not much to tell. I’ve been slightly more tired than when not on chemo, but nothing like I was on IV chemo. Otherwise, I had no symptoms at all the first week. The second and third weeks, I lost my appetite and had gastrointestinal symptoms as my body adjusted to the new chemicals and the linings of my gut were affected. The fourth week, it hit me hard and I was doing too much and I needed to stop and rest. After I did, things got much better and I’m up and around and doing everything just like I used to (some people never learn). My feet and fingertips are tender and red and dry, and my feet have begun to tingle and burn. Walking is annoying, but short stretches are easily doable, and my feet haven’t yet started to peel.
That said — everyone responds differently. Some people have hardly any symptoms at all, and my doctor would not even tell me what severity of symptoms to expect (helpful, that). So your response may be different, but I’ll tell you one other thing she said: “just because Xeloda doesn’t knock you out, doesn’t mean it’s not working. Treatments don’t have to make you suffer to work.”