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It is essential when having chemotherapy, especially if Oxaliplatin is part of your regime, to keep warm and always avoid cold air. That’s not so easy when your treatment is in the middle of winter.
St Luke’s Hospital is one of the warmest places on the planet. I’m sure their heating bill must be enormous, not to mention what it must be contributing to global warming, but believe me, it’s absolutely necessary. All our nerve endings are shot, and in my case, it is in both my hands and feet. When cold, the sensation is like being constantly stabbed by sharp pins. Pins and needles it is not. Painful it most definitely is. My feet also suffer terribly with feeling like I have ice blocks on the end of my legs. My feet may be warm to the touch, but I feel they are frozen.
Wearing socks all day and all night is a must. It is only now, over a year since the end of my chemo, that I can sometimes wear shoes with no socks or tights, but it has to be a very warm day.
During the winter months of my treatment, I would arrive in a coat, which I immediately took off once inside as the hospital was toasty warm.
In my bag I would have my chemo snood for later. This was essential. I was warned by my oncologist and a friend who was on the same treatment, that you must wrap up covering your mouth and nose as the cold will be unbearable. They were not wrong.
My first session done, just before we headed out the door into the cold night air, I put on my snood, making sure that my mouth and nose were firmly covered and went outside. My eyes tingled, but there was nothing I could do about that if I wanted to see where I was going and walked over to the car.
Once inside I pushed the snood down – BIG MISTAKE. The air inside the car was cold and I took in a lungful. The sensation was like nothing I’ve had before or since. My throat started to close, my nose started stinging. I had a pain in my chest. I can only think that this is what a heart or asthma attack must feel like. I quickly pulled up my snood and started gasping for air through it which thankfully blocked out most of the cold and kept me warm.
After that, I made sure that my trusty snood was always with me. It’s also very versatile. I can wear it around my neck like a scarf or pull it up over my mouth and nose as well. I can wear it like a balaclava or just as a hat.
If you want to know more about why ‘Oxaliplatin Hates the Cold’, this article from ONCOLOGY NURSING SOCIETY explains why in greater detail: Outpatient Oncology Drug Series: Oxaliplatin Hates the Cold.