e-Patient finds henna relief for Hand-Foot Syndrome

Update 8/9/08: Monique posted the detailed instructions she uses at the blog she started for Xeloda side effects.

Monique Doyle Spencer, author of the fabulous book The Courage Muscle: A Chicken’s Guide to Living with Breast Cancer, is on Xeloda, and is experiencing a painful side effect called Hand-Foot Syndrome (HFS), which happens with some other cancer treatments too.

Doing classic e-patient-style research, her husband found an amazingly simple and effective relief – a paste of henna, lemon juice, and hot water. She was skeptical (“I don’t even own a single Enya CD”), but it worked.

She notified Roche, maker of Xeloda, and was rather unhappy about their form-letter lack of interest in telling anyone else.

Her op-ed about it in the Boston Globe is here, and the discussion on Paul Levy’s “Running A Hospital” blog is here.

Be sure to read the extensive comments, which show the vigorous patient-centered dialog that often happens on Levy’s blog, even though it roams to other subjects, as often happens on a blog where people actually get to say what they think.

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