Friday, December 04, 2009

Kidney Cancer Connections

I attended today's KCC meeting and had the opportunity to meet Flo and her husband, with whom I have communicated via this blog and through emails now for sometime. It was a true delight to finally meet both of these wonderful people.

The meeting's presenter, Andrew the cancer center's pharmacist, provided great information on some of the more common KCC drugs of Sutent, Nexavar, Torisel and now Afinitor. His slideshow included topics about side effects that patients may or may not encounter while taking any of these treatments. For the most part, it was the ones which we are all familier with, such as diarrhea, constipation, hand/mouth soreness or rash. For new cancer patients who may be reading this, it is very important to note that when you see "possible" side effects listed under any cancer treatment, they are just that - "possible"! It does not mean that you will encounter ALL of the side effects....every treatment reacts differently on each patient, so I trust you will not get discouraged right from the start when you go over the list, as you may only encounter one or two side effects. It is best to know though what might work for you and once again here, the word to remember is "might", as it's trial and error for each patient on many of the side effect remedies. The focus on the presentation though was that PREVENTION IS THE it's much easier to prevent some of these side effects rather than treating them if they occur.

I'll list a couple of suggestions to help diminish some of these side effects as presented to us yesterday by Andrew......these are the ones that I had not heard of before. You can Google any of these to obtain additional information.

  • Constipation - "Senokot" may be an option for you or milk of magnesia
  • Diarrhea - watch what you eat and use the BRAT diet consisting of bananas, rice, applesauce, toast and plain pasta until your diarrhea begins to subside
  • Sore Mouth - Ask your doctor or pharmacist for the Magic Mouthwash
    formula and ask your dentist to do an untrasound cleaning next time
  • Hand/Foot Problems - Try the most recommended ointments such as Bag Balm, Udder Cream, Lanolin, Aveeno or Lubriderm; don't use HOT water when bathing as this will only increase your discomfort but use lukewarm instead. You might try to cool the affected areas with ice packs or sole gel inserts with cooling action. Another option for hand problems is to add B6 to your diet.
These are all suggestions and as always, check with your doctor or pharmacist first as you can explain the severity of your side effects to them.

At yesterday's luncheon I met other cancer patients along with another lady whom I previously had known some time ago. Sure makes you realize what a very small world we live in. I invited a couple of other cancer patients/caregivers that I knew to yesterday's luncheon, but unfortunately they did not attend. It is vital to have that connection with doctors, pharmacists, kidney cancer patients and caregivers.....believe me, this open line of communication via cancer websites, blogs, emails and personal meetings have been my husband's lifeline for survival and I want to impress that upon anyone reading this who does not have that support system. It is out there, you just need to reach out. One person cannot do this alone. You may have heard the phrase "it takes a village to raise a child"..............well, be assured that it most definitely takes a village to survive cancer and it's right there, you just need to reach out for it!!!

After supper last evening, I was informed of two new kidney cancer patients in my assured that I will connect with them to let them know of the wonderful support systems that are there if they should choose to avail of them.

Our first winter storm is forecasted for tomorrow with approximately 20-30cm of snow overnight...ouch!!! Guess it is inevitable now that we are in winter.....I've got my snow scoop ready though, along with my snow boots and outerwear......

I can't prevent it from happening but.......

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