I Made it to the Couch Today

by Debbie Twomey on July 15, 2017


I was hoping to be writing a positive or funny blog this week but just getting this one written has taken me 2 weeks. I was so excited to be off the “red devil” that I let go of the possibility that I could have other side effects that were just as bad as the sickness and constipation. Silly me.

I am now on my 3rd round of my newest chemotherapy cocktail (Heceptin, Taxol and Perjeta) and as was expected, I get the terrible side effects. I have had serious diarrhea for over two weeks now and no sign of letting up despite the Imodium I am taking to counteract it. My new normal is waking up (when I manage to fall asleep which is still a major issue), getting sick to my stomach so my Ondansetron and Prochloperazine, and Young Living Peppermint with Digize roll on are always right next to my bed and waiting till they calm my stomach. Then it is a mad dash to the bathroom for the first of at least three and up to seven episodes of diarrhea. Sound fun?

I start to feel human about 1-2 in the afternoon after I finally stop and get to shower and face my day. Luckily, I got to attend a family picnic last Saturday because the runs stopped about 1 pm and I had a free afternoon, free of that drama anyway. I got to see my siblings and let McKenna play in the pool with her cousins. It was like a vacation for me. And of course the next day I was out for the whole damn day but it was worth it.                                 

My reality is not the same as others going through the same treatment plan. We all have different side effects but the other ladies I have met lately usually only have the general fatigue or as we call it—bone tiredness. I just happen to be one of the fortunate ones who has to experience all of it, I am just so thrilled with it all.



Here is what just one of my drugs do for me * marking my side effects.

The most common side effects of PERJETA when given with Herceptin and docetaxel for treatment of breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic) are:

  • Diarrhea *
  • Hair loss *
  • Low levels of white blood cells with or without a fever
  • Nausea *
  • Feeling tired *
  • Rash *
  • Damage to the nerves (numbness, tingling, pain in hands/feet) *


I am now on Gabapentin for the neuropathy in my feet (where it is the worst) and for the first time in weeks I can lay down and not have the severe pain and numbness but of course it comes at a cost too. There is some controversy surrounding this drug which they want to classify as an opiate because addicts are finding ways to get high with it. Well, addicts are finding a way to get high with cocoa but you ain’t seeing me give that up to them. This is working for me and I am not an abuser so I resent any interference with its success for myself. I have so little that helps me right now.

Some of the more common side effects that can occur with use of gabapentin include:

  • Dizziness *
  • tiredness or drowsiness *
  • loss of coordination
  • fever
  • jerky movements
  • nausea and vomiting *
  • trouble speaking
  • double vision
  • unusual eye movements
  • tremor
  • swelling of legs and feet

The RA is still dominating my joints and if I do not take the Predisone it will do the same to my lungs. I do not take painkillers and even if I did, because of the addicts, having it prescribed takes an Act of Congress. I would rather avoid but I am not thrilled that the options are taken away because of the rampant addiction culture we are now in. For me, having the choice of using painkillers short term should not be prevented because of the actions of addicted people but it is.

You know as I read this back I see I now find myself on many drugs which I had hoped to avoid. I always read the labels and wanted to stay away from those drugs with so many serious side effects and stick to holistic options. I use my oils religiously and eat healthier when I can eat. I add supplements and drinks that provide the vitamins and nutrients I am losing being so sick but it is not enough. And I know I kind of went into panic mode when I got my diagnosis because I have heard successes and not so successful stories utilizing one or the other or even both methods of treating cancers.

But, I know my mind and my heart and my goal is to be here so I chose to fight with the drugs they presented because I want to fight this battle well armed. I have a little girl depending on me and every night I pray that all this will get me to a quality of health that allows me to enjoy McKenna as much as possible and eventually be back to my normal self and plan many special outings with her and her baby sister Leah. Disney World comes to mind.

For now, feeling as crummy as I have lately, some days all I can say is “I made it to the couch.!” On those days I wonder if I am doing all I need to in this battle. I do not want to get discouraged and lose sight of the long term goal—no more cancer. And then Disney here we come after which I would love to go to Hawaii and just chill on the beach and visit dear friends. But for today, the couch looks best, just sayin’.



Live, Laugh, Love


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