Saturday, January 5, 2013

Side Effect

Mum has been taking a trial drug over the past three months. Conventional chemo now no longer has any positive effects, and the only thing we are putting real hope in is this phase 3 trial medication. Phase 3 is the final phase of testing before the drug is marketed and is basically where the kinks get ironed out and dosages etc. are established. 
At first, it was pretty nerve racking. There was a 50/50 chance that she would not get the real medication at all and end up on a placebo, but shortly after taking the meds, the side effects kicked in. Acne, uti, and swollen fingernails where the trade off for an effective drug. Her airway cleared, her coughing minimised, and she had much more energy. Unfortunately, the side effects grew worse. Soon, she couldn't open drawers, and had to wear gloves to do basic things. The side effects grew unmanageable and soon she found herself taking a break from the meds. The symptoms subsided, and after a week, she resumed the meds on a lower dosage.
That was about a month ago (maybe a little under). Her symptoms flared up again, and soon, even driving a car started making her fingernails bleed. Again, we found ourselves on a break from the meds. Over new years, doctors monitored her closely, and gave her some steroid cream for her fingers and doxycycline for her acne (an antibiotic and effective anti-malarial). She started again on meds two days ago. Yesterday, I noticed her breathing heavily and coughing lightly - something which leaves me with a heavy heart. Today, she walked 4 kms and seems to be full of energy.

Mum talking to her doctor at the Footscray General.

Footscray General - one of the most underfunded hospitals in Aust. 

Clinic, Footscray General. 

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