Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cancer Treatment and Winter Cold

Good Morning Cancer Patients;
The winter cold makes cancer treatment more abusive. I think its because the treatment kills many of the body's heat receptors and therefore you feel the cold more. I always enjoyed the winters and the cold and could deal with them effectively but when I started chemo treatment of Taxol, Cisplatin and 5FU, I was always cold. I started treatment in the summer and began to notice I would get cold. When I started treatment again in January after recovering from surgery, I really noticed the cold. To compound it even further, the dry heated air coupled with dry skin from the treatment and the neuropathy in my hands and feet made what was a reasonable winter very cold for me. Staying warm became a challenge in public places. I began dressing differently to stay warm. The neuropathy in my hands and feet got so bad I had to be very careful to not get frost-bitten when I was out in the cold. My fingers would turn white down to the middle knuckles before I could feel they were cold, and by that time, frost-bite was setting in. My feet were the same way.

I encourage you not to let the winter cold deter you from living while in treatment but you need to protect yourself and safeguard against frost-bite. Do everything possible to stay warm and to get warm when you're cold. Layer on your clothes, cover your hands, wear a scarf around your neck, use heat packets in your gloves and heavy coat, wear a hat. It's not about how you look it's about staying warm. I found when I couldn't get warm from the cold, a hot shower worked to take the chill out of my body.

I haven't been in cancer treatment for several years now but the cold still bothers me and with the neuropathy in my hands and feet I must be real careful not to get frost-bite. My hands are also very dry and coupled with the neuropathy in them, still today, it makes even simple tasks like buttoning shirt buttons, grabbing small items with your fingers or separating papers are a major task in the winter with cold and dry hands. Hand lotion helps with the dryness but not with the loss of the sense of feel I lost with the neuropathy.

I still enjoy winter and the cold months but I don't enjoy the cold like I used to before cancer treatment. Don't let your lower tolerance of the winter cold keep you from living your life. Even a cold winter day can be drowned out by the excitement of life.

Stay warm, keep your sense of humor and never ever give up.

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