The short term challenge with Taxol is not the medication, but the solvent (called Cremophor) used to create an injectable solution. Solvent-related hypersensitivity reactions are relatively common, so Kathy's pre-chemotherapy medications included:
*Dexamethasone 20 mg IV 30 minutes prior to chemotherapy.
*Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) 25-50 mg IV 30 - 60 minutes prior to chemotherapy. 50 mg for first dose. May reduce dose to 25 mg on subsequent doses if tolerated
*Famotidine (Pepcid) 20 mg IV infuse over 15 minutes. 30 minutes prior to chemotherapy.
She had no reaction of any kind, so tomorrow's Taxol dose will include 25mg of Diphenhydramine, yielding less Benadryl-induced sleepiness.
Her usual pattern of chemotherapy, one good day, one moderate day, two bad days, then back to good days has been replaced with chemotherapy followed by good, good, and good days. Since we're preparing our Wellesley house for sale (goes on the market April 1) as part of our move to a farm property in Sherborn, Massachusetts, she needs all the energy she can get. Our nights and weekends are filled with painting, cleaning, and boxing.
Her mood is good, our hope for cure is strong, and our optimism for an American Gothic future keeps us going every day.