The herceptin drip is one of the more troubling aspects of cancer treatment.
No, I'm not talking drip like a needle/bag/infusion drip.
I'm talking about a well-known side-effect of herceptin - a runny nose.
Warning: The following may be TMI. It contains an in-depth discussion of nasal discharge. The squeamish and prim & proper should skip this post.
It started off slowly. For a few days after herceptin my nose would run, and I began packing tissues with me. Like your granny, I had crumpled tissues in my purse and my coat pockets.
But, it has gotten progressively worse each week. My nose, which first was like an occasionally drippy faucet, has now become a full-fledged, always-on shower. Stand under me and you are sure to get wet.
My laptop is wet as I type this.
I told you, TMI.
I now carry a tissue in my hand at all times. I can never be without as I must constantly stem the tide. I have a portable tissue packet in all purses, jackets, and in my car. I have a full-sized box on my dining room table, in my bathroom, on my coffee table, in the kitchen - anywhere I'm going to be for more than 30 seconds. I have crumpled tissues in my pockets, stuffed down the front of my shirt in my "cleavage" and always, always in my hand.
It's messy too. I have tissue lint on my clothes from forgetting to empty my pockets before the wash. Crumpled tissues are all over the house - on the floor, on the tables, on the counters, in my car. (Don't forget, I'm ADD - we forget where we leave stuff.)
Honestly, Kleenex needs to use me in their advertising.
Not that I can afford Kleenex at the rate I go through it. Generic all the way.
This herceptin drip is actually interfering in my life. If I move my head, the waterworks start. If I walk, the hose goes full force. Even if I sit still, I'll feel it running down my Philtrum. (Your word for the day.) I've avoided doing anything that causes me to bend over, because then it's the worst, a flood of epic proportions. Pairs of animals start following me; it's that bad.
Now, this nasal drip is not like when you have a cold. It is not thick, mucusy, or hopefully, full of germs. You can't sniff it up. It's watery, like tears - like when your eyes are watering from smoke or chopping onions and you can't control it. It's just water coming out of your nose and you really can't even tell it's going to happen until it's running down your face. Which it always is.
I just spent the last fifteen minutes trying to mop my floor.
I didn't need any mopping solution. That's how bad it is.
When you have a cold, blowing your nose can give you a minute or two - or more - of relief. But, no such luck with the Herceptin Drip. It's a chronic, constant, uncontrollable stream.
My eyes do it too, but so far, only when I go outside and then come in. I'm sure all the store clerks at my regular haunts think I have an emotional disorder by now, since I'm always showing up teary-eyed and nose running.
With all that water loss, no wonder I'm always thirsty.
I must say, it's a testament to the advances in cancer treatment that the worst long-term side effect I have is a dripping nose.
Soon, I will go back to work. And, I will have to type things, and file things, and walk around and do things. I will have to use two hands in my job.
I have a plan for doing that without wetting the front of my shirts and needing to go home to change, or without having to type while liquid streams down my chin. Since chemo has sent me into menopause, and since I have leftover tampons....well, you get the idea. If you see me walking around with strings hanging out my nose, just say hello and move along.
A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
PTSD and Cancer
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