Itching is one of the most insidious ailments an individual can have at any time. A mosquito bite -one small tiny spot- can send us into traumatic contortions trying to scratch or better yet, not to scratch a spot the size of a pea. We all know what happens once you start scratching you cannot stop, you itch more, you scratch more, a never ending vicious cycle some of us feel will only be stopped once blood is drawn. My nephew just does not start scratching thereby not even starting the cycle and getting past the itch much faster. I wish I had such self control.
This chemo treatment has given new meaning to the words itch and scratch. Starting out with a rash on the back of both hands, I have been trying desperately not to scratch. Did you know you can scratch in your sleep? Apparently I did causing a red raw patch on the back of one hand. Tom scared the crap out of me when he saw the patch and admonished me and mentioned scratching like that is a guaranteed trip to the hospital for cellulitis. Whoa, trip to hospital no thanks, cellulitis please no, so began my inner mantra to try and control the scratch itch cycle. Don’t scratch, don’t scratch, it doesn’t itch, it feels fine. The h-ll it does!!!
I lost control and found myself one night scratching parts of my body where I didn’t realize I itched. The more I scratched, the more I itched and there I was caught in the cycle with no way out. In desperation I jumped into the shower and turned the water on as hot as possible. As the hot water hit each itchy spot the pain was almost unbearable, yet at the same time it was as if I were scratching the itch without actually touching the spot. I couldn’t figure this out but did not care, it gave me momentary relief and after I got out of the shower relief for a few hours.
I keep putting off calling the oncologists office because I keep thinking it is getting better, yet it seems to be getting worse. I take benedryl every day but it doesn’t seem to do the trick, so tomorrow I will call and find out what else I can do. Actually my bigger concern is this is a huge allergic reaction to the Taxotere and it will somehow knock me off track for my last three infusions. The end is in sight don’t stop me now.
I did not know how to compare this itch /scratch issue to anything else I’ve ever experienced until tonight when I was talking with Mimi at break fast. When I told her how the hot water hurt terribly but somehow relieved it she said, sure I know exactly what you are talking about.
She reminded me of what happens in the cold, when you’ve been outside and whatever you are wearing doesn’t keep your thighs and butt warm enough. You come inside and as your freezing skins meets the warmth of the house you begin to tingle and ITCH, uncontrollably. Then to warm up you take either a warm shower or bath. You hit the water and the pain is unbearable for a minute or two and then the whole thing calms down, you stop itching and you start to warm up. I am sure there is a perfectly logical physiological reaction/reason for this but for the moment, this is what I feel like without the numbing cold portion.
I hope this stops, I hope this doesn’t interfere with my therapy and most of all I hope never to itch like this, ever again.