I learned a valuable lesson today in the prevention and care of hand-foot syndrome, the casual name for Palmar-Plantar Erythrodysesthesia. My feet have been quite painful, though my hands are fine so far—I speak this second part in hushed tones lest the little demons of pain hear me and come running. I thought I was doing the right thing by slathering on the lotion, gently, without rubbing, and then covering up the feet with the first pair of socks (nylon) that I could find (I don’t wear socks at this time of year in SoCal). After about an hour the pain was enough to bring tears to the eyes. I resorted to putting my feet on ice, which helped ease the pain after the initial surge that happens any time you apply ice to painful areas. The relief was comforting.
In the meantime, I had called Sherri my oncology nurse about something unrelated, and while we were discussing that, I mentioned the feet. She inquired as to how I was handling it, and I told her. She promptly said, Get rid of the socks. They hold in the heat. It took maybe an hour till my feet started to feel better. Key: apply lotion without rubbing and do not enclose in anything that holds the heat, especially socks with any synthetic content that are snug. Once again, my oncology team comes to the rescue.
I have also begun taking Vitamin B6, another deterrent for hand-foot syndrome, which might also help the long-term neuropathy left over from a previous chemo (Taxol®). Who knows. Maybe it will also help the burning and numbness in my face. Some CAT (complementary and alternative) therapies are often very helpful for side effects.
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