“It’s raining aches, hallelujah!”

I asked my former oncologist once: “How long does it take for the chemo to get out of your joints?”. It was a legitimate question at the time because the pain was frequently excruciating. I knew the aches were coming from the Neulasta, but also knew it was a result from the chemotherapy itself. I was allergic to Taxol, and my oncologist didn’t figure it out until my second infusion of the drug. They still administered a third treatment before switching to Abraxane for the final dose. I have suffered severe muscle, joint, and bone aches, starting/continuing on from my third or fourth chemo infusion. The oncologist’s response to my question was, “The more you move around, the quicker it will exit your system; however, it could take years.”

It’s hard to move when your body doesn’t let you. Years? You can’t be freaking serious…

I read an article a few months ago that talked about how the weather has an effect on chemotherapy-related bone, joint, and muscle aches. And, most notably, how the barometric pressure plays a role in it all. Remember when your grandparents complained that they “knew it was going to rain” because their arthritis would “act up”? Well, they weren’t totally crazy: weather is a key performance indicator/contributor. Today, the weather is not just about my grandparents’ arthritis anymore…it has an impact on how I feel.

For the last several days, my hips, spine, knees, and wrists, have ached so bad that not even the medications I take provide much relief. I live in South Florida and it rains almost every day in the Spring and Summer. This isn’t anything atypical in our climate/weather pattern. In the summertime, it rains while the sun is still shining. And every once in a while, this area is so flat, that you can “see” the rain on one side of the street and not the other.

But these last few days have been unbearable…

I have a very close friend that seems to have severe headaches/migraines coincidentally at the same time my bone/muscle/joint aches set in. Our texts go something like this (I am the green text):

Then, in the next day or so, she says:

Goethe barometer (on the left)

I bought a Goethe barometer off the clearance rack at Walmart last year, and I have been watching it. When I walk out of my bedroom each morning, it is the first thing I see. If the liquid is high in the tube, I know I’m going to have a rough day. If it is low, then I know what to expect: it will be a day of “shuffling” my feet. Watching the barometer(s) makes me feel normal…that I am not crazy…that this is just part of the new normal

If they told you what they were going to do to you, would you still have done it?
When I look into the eyes of my husband, parents, friends, and family; I say “YES”.

I am considering keeping a journal of how I feel versus the barometer readings. I have a data analytics background, so why not try to trend this and find the “top offenders”? In addition to AC (Adriamycin and Cyclophosphamide), Taxol, and Abraxane, I also did Neulasta after each infusion. For the next 9 years, I am on an aromatase inhibitor, Anastrozole (aka Arimidex); it is a hormone-based chemotheraphy. I also take Lyrica for the nerve damage and neuropathy, caused by the Taxol. I list all that out, so that if folks provide feedback, we are comparing apples to apples. Have you considered doing the same, and if so, how did it work out for you? What did your findings reveal? I am sure this translates to other conditions/diseases, and I am curious to see if others are experiencing the same thing.

9 Comments

  1. Lee Santomauro

    Fibromyalgia is definitely affected by the barometer, only sleep and rest will help to ride this out. The meds provided to me do not include pain pills… so arnica, Epsom baths and ibuprofen will keep the edge tolerable.

    Reply
    1. newnormalgal (Post author)

      I have myalgia (not the Fibro)…I will definitely try the Epsom bath! Thanks for the information! Xoxoxo

      Reply
  2. Love Mom

    I remember mam mam telling us to wear our raincoats or take an umbrella because it was going to rain … and just like all kids… it cracked us up lol…she was always right.. !! The crazy old people on the bus said they could smell the rain coming ?…!! I had a barometer but, never knew how to use it… I’m curious to read your findings… Love you … keep blogging… ❤️!! And hope you feel better everyday..?!!

    Reply
    1. newnormalgal (Post author)

      Thanks, Mom! I am going to start keeping the journal and will post a follow-up to this. Lee suggested an Epsom salt bath. Lisa Harris had sent me some EOs once to put in my bath water during the last part of the chemo when it was REALLY bad. I have also tried Magnesium oil from Whole Foods that Adrienne picked up for me.

      Reply
  3. newnormalgal (Post author)

    I found this helpful link from the Arthritis Foundation:
    http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/tools-resources/weather/

    You put in your zip code and it predicts your joint pain, based in where you live.

    Reply
  4. Alexis

    Dana,

    I don’t know if you remember my brother, Jason. He had a germ-cell seminoma on his heart. It was discovered when he was 16. He went through over a year of inpatient chemo-one week admitted and treatment, three weeks off and home. He then had surgery on his heart to remove the remainder of the tumor. He has been in remission since age 18. He is 38 now, and still has joint and bone pain and inflammation. Similar to you, and others, the weather seems to exacerbate things. He took various medications initially, but I do not remember the names. Clearly, he had a different type of cancer; different infusions/course of treatment (we are talking about 22+ years ago); yet still has similar long-lasting effects. Also similar to you, he does not let it define him.

    I think that a journal would be very helpful to you. From what I can glean of your willingness to share your journey to assist others, it will benefit many lives.

    I’m glad I reconnected with you, and am looking forward to seeing that tour bus this summer.

    Alexis

    Reply
    1. newnormalgal (Post author)

      I don’t remember that happening to your brother, but I have much empathy for him. Yes, I believe the journal will help…today, is just as bad as yesterday…

      I am glad we reconnected as well! Do you have any pictures of us when we were younger? It’s looking like the bus will be up there around August. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Stacey

    Girlfriend my back has been killing me. Every time it gets humid and rains my legs don’t want to work either. It’s kind of hard to move when it hurts ?

    Reply
    1. newnormalgal (Post author)

      I feel you! The weather is not so good right now…feel better…xoxoxo

      Reply

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