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Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

19 REPLIES 19
Ellen10
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

No TAX until July, but I've been told to start preparing nails now. Someone suggested chewing a jelly cube daily as the gelatine helps the nails. I have done this in the past and my nails did improve and strengthen. However as I am now a diabetic, I'm trying sugar - free jelly and having that 3/4 times a week. Another friend who got through TAX with her nails fairly well intact (apart from the discolouration) swore by Sally Hanson Vitamin E nail and cuticle oil every night and instead of washing it off after massaging it it, she kept it on all night using cotton gloves. She also used a nail strengthened/hardener - not sure if it was Sally Hanson or Avon. Although there seem to be no guarantees whatever you do, I'll be trying the lot and keeping my fingers and toes crossed.

Like others, I had been using a Hair, skin and nail supplement for years, the consultant couldn't say whether this would interact with the chemo, so I stopped them. Not keen on painting my nails black, although this in the only advice the chemo unit gave. I think a nice shade of pink will still cover the discolouration! However will be wary of varnish removers as they are very harsh. B
Maryland
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

Hi SML1903......I had a fluffy head of hair by the end of October enough so I could ditch the 'caps'. Never got on with the wig, especially as it nearly flew off in Morrison's car park!!! Using a volumising shampoo and conditioner (Ojon products were good) and regular trims seemed to help growth and condition. First hair trim was mega exciting!!! Wishing you all the very best for your surgery tomorrow...hope all goes well and that your daughter enjoys a lovely birthday with you next week. You take care xx

SML1903
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

Hi Maryland

Thank you for the warning about toe nails. I will definitely be keeping a close eye on mine now as I thought I had got away with it. I thought taking the hair, nail and skin supplement would help my hair when it starts to grow back as well along with the skin especially on my hands. I also have a balanced diet more so now I have finished chemo. Like you say taste during chemo really effects what you can eat. At one point I had terrible trouble chewing and swollowing as I was so dry, 

I have my surgery tomorrow so feeling a bit nervous although I know it will be a good thing to get it over with. Just have to keep focusing on the positive and my daughter"s  birthday next Sunday.

Take care x

Maryland
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

Hi SML1903......good news that your toe nails are fine. However, just a little note of caution......I lost a few fingernails in August/September, and no toe nails until December (finished chemo in July 2012) when a couple of my toe nails started to flake and split, then fall off 😞 As toe nails grow 4 times more slowly than finger nails, there may be a delayed reaction, so wise to keep an eye on them. It took until this June, nearly 18 months for my toe nails to grow back properly. Obviously just my experience, and we're all affected differently. You are right about playing safe and not taking supplements during chemo as there doesn't seem to be any research anout the impact of many supplements. However, my eating habits were bizarre during chemo, definitely not a balanced diet!!! All the best x

SML1903
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

Hi Ladies

I finished FEC-T at the end of july. I have read conflicting advice about wearing dark nail varnish so I didn't wear it on my finger nails but did on my toe nails. The result is I have currently lost 3  fingernails, 2 in the process of coming off and the rest looking like they could come off. My toe nails are fine not even discoloured so I have come to the conclusion that may be there is some truth in wearing dark nail varnish. I would say though to be careful about what sort of varnish remover you use as it can dry out already vulnerable nails. Now I have finished chemo I am taking hair, nail and skin supplement which I used to take before I started chemo. I asked the hospital pharmiscist if I could continue taking them during chemo but they wouldn't say if it would affect the chemo or not so decided to play safe and not take it.

Good luck x

Bali2001
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

Sorry for jumping in on this one! Just reading up as scared stiff fec-t still 4 weeks away ! Nail thing is horrible urghhhh!! I am going to try everything I can and hope they stay on,!
Anyway just wanted to say my onc gave me difflam mouthwash on prescription ( but you can buy it) and it was great .... My ulcers were horrendous size of 2 pence piece 😞 ...... But my mum always swears by salt water ...... Just another option , but the one thing it did for me was numb my mouth enough for me to eat ! Xx
Maryland
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

Hi Nicky.....forgot something helpful.....pineapple! Kept pineapple chunks in the fridge which were very soothing and bought some Del Monte, I think, 100% pineapple iced lollies to suck which again really helped calm the soreness...x

Maryland
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

Hi joan47......I lost many of my nails following FEC-T 2 years ago. I kept them short as they came away, and used a nail moisuriser kit from Nailtiques, which definitely strengthened them and stopped them flaking. Available at some beauty salons and online. Took a hair, skin and nails supplement and slathered my hands and nails in good quality hand cream (Crabtree and Evelyn gardeners hand care works a treat!) at night wearing cotton gloves to bed! Although this didn't make my nails grow any quicker it did protect them and they looked much more healthy as they grew back. I would say it took about 4 months before my nails were long and strong again, so hang on in there.

Hope that helps, take care xx

joan47
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

Jay, just come across your post. I finished chemo in July (3 Sessions FEC, 3 TAX). I religiously painted my nails purple and my nails were very good then suddenly started going brown and In the last couple of weeks I have lost three and expect to lose more. Very disappointing. I did suffer quite badly, however, from numbness in my fingers especially (I think they call it peripheral neuropathy) so it is probably not surprising. I did look into ice mitts but my hospital doesn't use them and they were very expensive to buy so I didn't pursue it. There also wasn't a freezer on the ward so immersing my fingers and toes in ice cold water didn't seem to be feasible. The oncologist also wasn't keen on that idea because, he said, you can get cancer cells anywhere. I do wonder now, however, whether I should have been more persistent because I am finding losing my nails quite difficult, oddly enough worse than losing my hair.
Maryland
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

Hi Nicky.....glad my post has helped a little...simply taken from diary, as I would never remember all that!! As you say, side effects are unique to each of us, and I hope that your treatment does the trick and is kind to you.

Mouth ulcers......Gelclair was the most effective used before bed. Got a free sample online and then prescribed. However the length of time I had to keep the vile tasting solution in my mouth was a challenge! Hospital prescribed Difflam, which was OKish, just had to remember to use it twice a day. Tried Corsodyl a couple of times, but a tad too strong for me. When ulcers weren't too serious, my Mum (like Rodent) suggested boiled salted water, which worked well and diluted TCP which tasted/smelt vile and I was sure everyone thought I was hiding the smell of gin lol. Liquorice, the soft stuff you get from health food stores was very soothing and I think took the edge off the soreness, as did drinking soda water. Bit of trial and error, but with combination didn't suffer too much; however surprised I still have a lining to my mouth!!!

All the very best to you.....take care xx

Rodent
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

Apparently salt and water is the simplest and the best, I haven't needed it yet but that's apparently worth a try!
nicky08
Community Champion

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

Hi ladies

I hope you dont mind me joining is as I come from the 'dark' side in other words I have secondaries!  

I had FEC chemo 6 years ago when my secondaries were first diagnosed and I've now just started Docetaxel, Herceptin and Perjeta.  I found your post really helpful Maryland as it mimics what I have found over the past week or so having had the first Tax last week.  I know we don't all get all the side effects but its been useful to note when and what might happen.  So far lots of aches and pains as well as mouth ulcers - just as you've said plus the lack of taste.  As to nails mine never look good anyway so I'm reluctant to draw attention to them by suddenly wearing nail polish especially dark ones.  The nurses on my chemo ward did mention about having to use nail polish remover which could dry them out even further so I am keeping them moisturised and strengthened and hope they hold on.  Waiting for the hair to drop in a week or so (or that's when I expect it to happen) but I dealt with it before and am already stocked up with a wig and head covers - much better choice than 6 years ago btw!

Good luck everyone with your treatment and hope it is kind to you but kicks the little uggers into touch.

Nicky x

ps although I logged on to trawl through the Top Tips for chemo thread I came across this one so would like to ask - what's best for helping with the mouth ulcers other than gelclair?  I didn't get them at all last time on FEC, and generally don't get them, so any mouthwashes, other lotions and potions would be helpful to know about, especailly if you can get them prescribd from the hospital/GP.  Otherwise I have a lot of reading to do Smiley Wink

Rodent
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

I have had 2 tax so far and the last few days my fingertips/nails have been sore, does anybody know if that's a precursor to them leaving me?!?!

Also, glad to read from somebody else that their hair has started to grow back on tax, my head hair seems to be getting thicker but loosing eyelashes, eyebrows and some "other(!) places" hair...... Was worrying (and I know it's silly) that after amazing response to EC, the tax was doing nothing to me as my hair was growing back!
Jay2014
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

Thank you
Jay2014
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

Strange how different worries surface...day 4 after docetaxel.

Nails seem less of a worry. Redness for first couple of days, aching back and neck, uncomfortable mouth and lack of taste / interest in food seem to have taken over....
Jay2014
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

Thank you. Very helpful, what comprehensive notes you kept. Day 4 today. Less red, more achy. Thank you.
Kess
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

I suffered quite badly with my first of 4 Tax. The others were much easier to cope with. For my nails I just moisturised them when I remembered and was lucky enough to keep them. Not everyone loses them. Also my hair started growing back on Tax.
mogs33
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

Hi, just to say my chemo nurse said they would use the ice hand mits and toe mits when I start my docetaxel in 4 weeks. . It's supposed to help prevent nail loss . Maybe you could ask at your next review or session. I will definitely be making sure I get to use them . Apparently after each docetaxel session your nail bed stops growing and this may lead to ridged nails , and even nail loss. The dark nail Polish is to stop the sun light from damaging your nails further and also covers up the discolouration you may get. I have only read / been told all this so please don't take it as gospel. Also I get very flushed after my fec so I think this may just be another side effect ,I wouldn't panic but if you are really worried I would phone the chemo unit. I'm sure they will put your mind at rest.
Good luck with everything. X morag
Maryland
Member

Re: Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

Hi Jay2014.....I had FEC-T Mar to Jul 2012 and hope some of this may help, although I would stress that SEs are unique to everyone....this short novel is just my personal experience!!!!!

The 1st TAX hit me quite hard, but my Onc said that was because I still had FEC, particularly the 'E' bit in my system, that the body needs time to adjust to the change of chemo regime and that all my SEs were 'common'!!! I coped with FEC really well.

The flushed face is down to combination of TAX and steroids and will ease, although it may take a few days. Bit old-fashioned and definitely not attractive, but I slapped a bit of calamine lotion on and took an anti-histamine which helped loads,

Side effects, personal to me, included major bone aches and pains on days 5 - 7, however this may have been exacerbated by the GCSF white blood cell boosting injections. I had oral thrush and mouth ulcers on days 5 - 10, mild cystitis days 7 - 10, mild diarrhoea days 9 - 11, small nose bleeds from day 8 - 15, red patches between my fingers on and off (not painful), sore nails on and off, feet painful to walk on days 5 - 10, and virtually no taste (or everything tasted vile!) from day 3 - 14. All unpleasant, but manageable with paracetamol, ibuprofen, cranberry juice, barley water, immodium, nystan (prescribed) for thrush, gelclair for ulcers and doublebase cream for hands and feet! Soaking hands and feet in cold water helped too. My nails slightly discoloured, so I cut them very short and wore clear basecoat as the tips became tender and made using my hands uncomfortable. They also had little black dots on them. Lost a few bits of fingernails up to 6 weeks post chemo; all long and strong again 4 months later. You san see that I kept a diary.......

Onc said to pre-empt SEs for TAX 2....which in her experience was likely to be 'easier'.....don't think she's ever had chemo lol...you could start taking painkillers now in case you get the aches and pains, which can be debilitating (hit by a truck is one way I could describe them). Up to you obviously.

HOWEVER.....TAX 2 was MUCH better . Started taking painkillers on day 3, but didn't really need them much at all, and stopped on day 6 as aches and pains very minor.

The biggest issue was fatigue but guess that's the same for everyone......it's just that I'm a fit, healthy, busy person who hadn't had a day off sick for 30 years, so becoming SLOW was a shock to the system!!! However I completed the Race for Life in a very respectable 60 mins a year after chemo finished.....

As I said, this is very personal to me, and I'm sure others will have different experiences, but hopefully forewarned is forearmed?

There is a real split of opinion, in chemo units and on this forum, on the issue of whether to wear dark nail varnish or not! For every 'I used dark nail varnish' there will be a 'I didn't use dark nail varnish' and every outcome is likely to be different despite wearing dark nail varnish or not! As TAX affects everyone differently no-one can safely say how it will be for you. To be honest I would just go with what feels right for you, as there doesn't appear to be any decent research available. Taking extra care of your hands and nails is the best idea. Dark nail varnish may mask underlying infection and using nail varnish remover may not be helpful to fragile nails.

My cousin, a Consultant Dermatologist, offers this advice "You may notice nail discolouration (particularly on taxanes) as the nail root cells are killed by the chemotherapy. These dead cells push out as new cells are produced, leaving the discolouration. The effect of chemotherapy affects keratin production, the protein that gives nails their strength and rigidity, which can cause brittle nails. sometimes the nail may separate from the nail bed. There is growing evidence that wearing 'ice gloves' or immersing finger tips in iced water during infusion may help to limit damage, as the chemotherapy is the most 'toxic' to cells during administration." Not sure if ice gloves are available in the UK; however you could ask to immerse your fingers in iced water at the start of treatment? Worth asking.

All the very best for the rest of your treatment........hope some of this helps, and be kind to yourself 🙂 xx

Jay2014
Member

Docetaxel ...bright red! Nails and ice mitts.

Hi, this is my very first post on here.I apologise if it is in the wrong place or already answered.
I have had four chemo sessions so far
1 x FEC 75
2 x FEC 100

Yesterday I had the fists of three docetaxel
I have a very flushed appearance this morning....is this anything to worry about? ( did not happen on fec)
Any advice on docetaxel appreciated.
On an Australian site I read about people advised to paint their nails with a dark colour and wearing ice gloves and ice mitts. I have not heard any mention of these here..have you?
Thank you to anyone who can help me out here.