Sunday, June 29, 2008

Did you know..?

Did you know that diarrhea can lead to really low levels of magnesium and/or calcium and that in turn can cause your toes to sieze up and curl in on themselves completely out of your control?
Did you know how freakish it can be when your own body parts take on a life of their own and move without you trying or wanting them to?
Did you know that you can eat tums for a quick fix of calcium?

Yea, fun weekend.

I woke up this morning and while laying in bed I began to yawn and stretch out. Immediately when I stretched my legs out, my calf muscle just spasmed and cramped up out of no where. I thought it must be something like a charlie horse, although I've never had one. It remained siezed up for a good couple minutes with me just whispering "ow ow ow ow owwww". NOT a fun way to start the day.

Then later in the evening I was just laying on the couch and again out of no where my foot just took on a mind of its own. I literally could watch my toes very slowly fold themselves under each other. and I couldn't make them not do it. I massaged my foot, I put it flat on the floor, I tried to flex my toes upwards. Nope, they just went right on back. Freakish.

I called my doc's office, because this brought back memories of oxaliplatin's nasty neuropathy side effects from two winters ago. And I'm not ON oxaliplatin now.

Luckily my doc happened to be the one on call, and he enlightened me that Erbitux (that wonderful beast) has been known to cause drops in magnesium and potassium etc, and that you can also have low levels from diarrhea. Which, in my own special kpoucher kinda way, I guess you could say I've had. I knew I wasn't gettiing the fluids that I should be. But damn it's hard to drink alot.
Anywho, that's been the focal point of my sunday. For now I'm just keeping an eye out. Doc is gonna check the bloodwork I got done on friday to see if they also checked my magnesium levels.

aaahhhh. the good life.


  1. I know you dont remember me at all but I use to go to the jpouch site a lot and always followed your "STORY". I was asking a member of the site about you and he advised me of whats been going on (your post). I just want to say that you are a wonderful women, a fighter and someone I have always admired. So a big State Police Hug From Pa... and prayers always sent your way. Hang in there kiddo - Oh ya.. btw... I agree with others your still a cutie - Now fight the fight! I went through 8 operations in 14 months and always felt like it was never going to end... I am back to work (gunbelt and all) and back to playing hockey... just a few new things sticking out of my gut :-P

  2. As I was looking for ideas on the web for some fun ideas on how to help a friend with cancer I found your blog. I read a few of your last posts. Kudos to you for you for trying to find the fun and funny about the rotten cancer. Blessings to you on your journey. If you want a fun experience check out - it's an onc camp in Montana. I work with kids and we have sent many over the years. They have a cool women's retreat in the fall.
    Kick cancer's butt....
    a friend in Michigan...

  3. Hope the side effects pass soon...what's the chemo countdown for you? Any chance you're over the hump? :)

  4. Thanks you guys. (Jason...I remember you from jpouch! I don't post a ton there anymore, but I do read here and there)

    Anonymous, I checked out the site, the october retreat sounds fun. I actually spent lots of summers in montana just outside of missoula as a kid since I had family up there. I may try to go, depending on my impending surgery.

    Sugarmouth (loooovve the name btw). Chemo countdown as of riht now is I have one more treatment that starts this thursday. So i'll be spending my fourth of july gettin chemo-fried. yay. Buuuuttt, I'll get scanned after that to see where we're at with it and where to go from there. eek...

  5. Eh, sorry to hear about the cramps. That would have scared the shit out of me. Hope you are doing better. What's the news on the Chemo front?

  6. I had this happen recently and really freaked when my hands started involuntary cramping the same way. Bloodwork revealed low B-12. Hope you're getting relief.

  7. Hi Becca - it is Blanca your myspace friend - anyway - I have experienced the same thing with spasms. I did not know they were related to that. I guess now I have explaination for the strange tingling feeling I get in the center of my legs. My fingers get numb too and I have been off oxaliplantin 2 years now. I don't think this ever ends. I truly hope you get better!

  8. The following adverse reactions are discussed in greater detail in other sections of the label:

    * Infusion reactions [See BOXED WARNING and Warnings and PRECAUTIONS.]
    * Cardiopulmonary arrest [See BOXED WARNING and Warnings and PRECAUTIONS.]
    * Pulmonary toxicity [See Warnings and PRECAUTIONS.]
    * Dermatologic toxicity [See Warnings and PRECAUTIONS.]
    * Hypomagnesemia and Electrolyte Abnormalities [See Warnings and PRECAUTIONS.]

    The most common adverse reactions with Erbitux® (incidence ≥ 25%) are cutaneous adverse reactions (including rash, pruritus, and nail changes), headache, diarrhea, and infection.

    The most serious adverse reactions with Erbitux® are infusion reactions, cardiopulmonary arrest, dermatologic toxicity and radiation dermatitis, sepsis, renal failure, interstitial lung disease, and pulmonary embolus.

    Across all studies, Erbitux® was discontinued in 3-10% of patients because of adverse reactions.
    Clinical Trials Experience

    Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

    The data below reflect exposure to Erbitux® in 1373 patients with colorectal cancer or SCCHN in randomized phase 3 (Studies 1 and 3) or phase 2 (Studies 2 and 4) trials treated at the recommended dose and schedule for a median of 7 to 14 weeks. [See Clinical Studies.]

    Infusion reactions: Infusion reactions, which included pyrexia, chills, rigors, dyspnea, bronchospasm, angioedema, urticaria, hypertension, and hypotension occurred in 15- 21% of patients across studies. Grades 3 and 4 infusion reactions occurred in 2-5% of patients; infusion reactions were fatal in 1 patient.

    Infections: The incidence of infection was variable across studies, ranging from 13-35%. Sepsis occurred in 1-4% of patients.

  9. Hi Rebecca,

    I'm OTS Ed's friend. [For anyone else reading this, I'm a 61 year old curmudgeon who had my colon removed 8 1/2 years ago because of ulcerative colitis that had morphed into a Stage 3(T3N2) rectal cancer, requiring chemo and radiation therapy.] A rising CEA [a blood marker for certain tumors] led to a follow-up CT in 9/2001 that indicated I had a metastasis in my peritoneum [lining of the abdominal cavity] about 2.5x3.5 centimeters in size. My oncologist at the time told me to go away, enjoy myself, and when the pain got too bad to come back and she'd give me palliative care. Having a mother from the "Show Me" state, I was disinclined to accept this as the final word, went to my surgeon [Dr. Fabrizio Michelassi, now of the Cornell University School of Medicine]who performed an exploratory surgery and discovered that the tumor imaged on the scan was not a metastasis but a benign desmoid tumor, which would have strangled my small bowel had he not removed it.

    So the reprieve I got on the colorectal CA front gave me time to develop Gleason 8 prostate CA, for which I'm currently on hormone treatment. I won't get started on THAT, but the point I'm trying to make is you shouldn't take one specialist's prognosis as gospel.

    Treatment for the prostate CA was complicated by the fact that past radiation makes the standard treatment, radical prostatectomy, extremely difficult. After getting four opinions that were all over the map, I ended up going to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for treatment of my urological disease.

    I gotta tell you, that place is something else. It's only 325 miles from Chicago, and I'd bet you could get an appointment up there in two weeks for an initial consult.

    Ed gave you my phone number, I wish you would give me a call. Come on, help make an old man feel useful.