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Starting Chemo Monday - Trying not to freak out

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denise07 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote denise07 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 31 2017 at 11:39pm
Allison,
Hope you are feeling better! A thought just came to me, I had steroids for three days before my chemo and was wondering if you get them before yours?I also had anti nausea meds that I took for a few days before chemo and one pill in the office the day I had chemo took it about 1/2 hour before chemo started.Did do the neulasta shot the day after chemo I noticed you get that to,I did drink alot of water during chemo and after to flush it out of the bladder and kidneys and lots of gingerale.Just was wondering about the steroids I don't think you mentioned any thing about steroids.Hope you feel better soon and may be check on the steroid situation.
Denise
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote snugltz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2017 at 12:48am
To me chemo was hell.  I wanted to quit but my doc and family wouldn't let me.  And as so many said, just when I was feeling a bit better it was time for the next chemo treatment.  The Neulasta was awful.  I think worse than the chemo or probably the combination.  But stick it through  You will be glad later.  It will end.  And you will know you did what you could.  And time goes by and you will forget how bad it was. I was 58 when diagnosed.  But I was lucky and was already  retired.  I know for myself I could  never have gone to work.  So you have my sympathy and prayers.
1 cm, 0/2 neg nodes, lumpectomy 6/16/10, cytoxin/taxotere 4x every three weeks, rad start 11/8 33X
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AllisonH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2017 at 12:55am
Yes, I get steroids but the 2 days after chemo, not before. Just sent question about that to dr. Heard from dr today, and she's going to give me different anti-nausea, olanzepine (Zyprexa). Hope it works better. Oh, crap. I just looked this up. It's an anti-psychotic for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Two of its most common side effects are headache and dizziness. Um, not sure this is the right drug. I just messaged dr office about it. Anyway, thanks for the suggestion about taking the drugs early.

Thanks, Snugltz, for the alternative viewpoint and honesty. It has been very unpleasant so far, and I'm really not sure how I'm going to make it through this. I'm also still the caregiver for my 89 year-old mother, and that's not going to change. She's doing the best she can for me, but it's a struggle for both of us. I'm hoping the plans I've put in place for next week will help, and it won't be as bad.

Thanks, everyone!
Allison
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote AnnL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2017 at 12:31pm
Allison, I'm new to the chemo world, too. I'm on 6 rounds of TAC and just had my first on May 24. I had a lot of trouble with nausea, too. My doctor had given me Compazine and Zofran. The Compazine didn't really help, but I found that if I took the Zofran like clockwork every 8 hours BEFORE I felt much nausea, it really helped. My doctor has switched the Compazine to Phenergan, and I'm scheduled to receive an injection of Sustol at my next chemo instead of Aloxi. She said Sustol is new and has shown to be very helpful! Perhaps you could ask about it? It's a time-released medicine that gives you the protection for 5 days. I'm willing to give it a try! Today is the 8th day after my chemotherapy, and my stomach is just now beginning to feel hungry. I feel like I have a fist up under my ribcage, so I'm taking Nexium. I've never had acid reflux or heartburn before, so I had no idea that it feels like this. When I described the symptoms, that's what the doctor said it was. Hopefully the Nexium helps. Good luck with your next treatment! Let us know how it goes :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote snugltz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2017 at 2:20pm
allison
1 cm, 0/2 neg nodes, lumpectomy 6/16/10, cytoxin/taxotere 4x every three weeks, rad start 11/8 33X
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote snugltz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2017 at 2:27pm
oops  sorry I was so negative.  I know you want positive.  And there is positive.  Time goes fast.  You will get though.  It must be extremely difficult taking care of your mom too.  My daughter had her first baby during my chemo.  I had to wait an extra week between treatments so I could be with her.  She lived three hours  away.  But it was hard to not help her after the initial delivery because Doc said I should not go out much due to the chance of catching something because of the low blood count we get with chemo.  So I do at least somewhat understand and empathize and sympathize with you.  But do it.  You can make it.  Its been over 6 years since my last chemo.  I always wonder why it was so bad. I forget how it was, I just know I felt awful.  You will make it.  Hang in. It may seem like forever now but it really flies by.  If you ever want to talk about it to someone who gets it you can give me a call. let me know and I will give you my number.  Just keep going one day at a time. 
1 cm, 0/2 neg nodes, lumpectomy 6/16/10, cytoxin/taxotere 4x every three weeks, rad start 11/8 33X
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote SusaninVA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 01 2017 at 10:40pm
Allison, I didn't realize you are taking care of your elderly Mom.  Have you talked to a medical Social Worker at your hospital?  She/He may have some resources to help you with your Mom's care.  I hope the changes to your anti-nausea meds will work.  Have you found some foods you can eat?  Please eat and drink as best you can.  And rest!  Easier said than done, but you have to make your care a priority to get through this.  If you get to the end of your rope, please let me know if you want to private message me.  I live close by and could help you on my days off.  And I really mean that - chemo is tough and I don't know what I would have done without some help.  Please take care of yourself!  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AllisonH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 09 2017 at 11:55pm
Hi, everyone! Checking back in after round two. I absolutely love reading everybody's comments. Can you tell I'm feeling better?

So, so much better this time. Dr actually listened when I said I'm sure it's the Zolfran making me sick. Switched me to Ativan. Still got Zolfran as Aloxi in infusion and a migraine started fairly soon afterward. Onc pharmacist said take your migraine medicine now. Definitely helped, but I would like to get rid of the Aloxi, completely. AnnL, I'm going to ask about the Sustol. Took compazine and another migraine med Monday night and haven't needed anything since! Yea!!! So happy to have that constant sick feeling gone.

Next, the Neulasta shot - took both Allegra and Claritin and took Claritin consistently through tonight with tylenol. Still some pain in back, neck, collarbone but nowhere near as bad as before. Again, so much better than last time.

Fatigue wearing me down a little more this time because it's not masked by all the feeling sick, if that makes sense. Previously told my boss that fourth day would be my day off, but I think I'm changing that to 3 ½ days. Didn't think I was going to get through the end of shift last night and was pretty much worthless the last couple of hours. I talked to my boss and told him I would need to be early shift on Thursday and probably short shift, too, off by 2 PM or so.

So, the next question is for everyone who has done this - how different is one set of chemo from the other? I'm doing the AC now, have two more rounds. Then I start the TC, 12 weeks. Were they about the same, AC harder, TC harder? What was it like for you?

Final note for people new to this who are reading this post for enlightenment and encouragement: I wasn't prepared for how sore and sensitive my scalp was going to be particularly these last few days. I'd already picked out my wig, so today was the day - shaved my head and put on the wig. My scalp's still sore, so I may not be able to wear the wig full time quite yet, but I did pick up a couple of caps. One more milestone down.

Thanks, everyone!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AllisonH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 09 2017 at 11:59pm
Thanks, Susan. I will definitely let you know. So far, it's okay, but I can see where this is going to be very, very wearing as time goes on. Some of my friends are actually helping with my mom, bringing her lunch, etc. which is very helpful.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote SusaninVA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun 13 2017 at 2:09pm
Allison, so glad to hear your second infusion went better.  Glad to hear that you have your wig, and hope you quickly get used to wearing it.  I think when I was wearing my wig, I actually looked younger Smile.  I don't have any feedback to give on your protocol of chemo because I had the TAC (all three at one time every three weeks).  Hopefully, someone can come along to tell you about specifics on your protocol.  How is your Mom doing?  I'm glad to hear that your friends are offering to help.  I am still touched by all my friends who offered me help during that time.  They were like angels!  I hope your supervisor is understanding and helpful as well.  Remember to make your care a priority -  you have to take care of yourself in order to endure through all your treatments!  I hope you and your Mom will be OK.  Do the best you can, and one day you can look back at all this and wonder how you got through it!  Sending you my best!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AllisonH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 18 2017 at 7:04pm
Thought I would check back in and let you all know how it's going. Hope this helps others going through this, too.

Unfortunately, 3rd and 4th AC treatments did not go as well as 2nd. Still having trouble with drinking enough so went in for extra IV fluids which helped greatly. Took off from work the week of the 4th treatment because the cumulative effects were really wearing me down. That was a very smart move on my part. I wound up working one evening because no one else was available, but that was fine.

Started TC cycle yesterday, first of 12 weekly infusions. Feeling just fine today though a little tired. Took this week off, too, since I didn't know how I would react. Have to see how the rest of the week goes. My boss is being very accommodating. In fact, corporate is sending someone down to work this week because I'm off and my boss is on vacation. Everybody helping out.

Note for anybody else having trouble getting enough fluids: watermelon! One of the nurses mentioned that watermelon is, of course, very wet. I got a big container and have already eaten most of it. I think it's helping.

Finally, my hair and wig. Turns out, I don't mind going out in public bald. I really don't mind. Several friends have told me I have a well-shaped head. Big smile If you'd asked me, I would have said, no way. I got a couple of painter-style caps with shorter brims to wear to work or other places I feel I need to wear something on my head. Found a bunch of really cute ones on Amazon with sparkles and sequins and pretty colors. I also got a really cute mesh fedora. It's too big so I've been wearing a sweat band underneath it to hold it up. I haven't been able to wear the wig - it's scratchy, it slips on my head, and it's very hot. The hats are hot, too, but easier to take on and off.

So, that's where I am right now. Thanks for everyone's help and support.

Allison
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote gordon15 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 18 2017 at 7:53pm
My wife is finished with chemo but her blood tests lately showed low on potassium and sodium chloride (she drinks lots of water) She got some "Powerade Zero" it has sucralose as artificial sweetener but it has electrolites, fyi
wife: IDC/Lobular Stage2B 2008 lumpectomy/TAC+rads
TNBC Stage 3A/w/metaplastic/squamous Nov2015 Carboplatin-Gemzar chemo/masectomy Taxolchemo+rads 4-16
PET scan stable 9-2016/ 1-2017
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote SusaninVA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 23 2017 at 5:33pm
Hi Allison,
So good to hear your update!  Yes, the weather here in Richmond has been very hot - there is an article in today (Sunday) copy of Richmond Times Dispatch.  Apparently, the thermometer at Richmond International Airport hit 101 degrees yesterday afternoon.  Add to that our "Richmond humidity" and it can really pack a punch.  I'm glad you are trying watermelon, and hope you can keep down anything liquid.  You are much braver than me - I could never get my nerve up to go out of the house bald.  I'm glad you have found some comfortable caps you enjoy wearing.  When the weather was cold, I remember wearing a cap (knitted) which I picked up at the infusion center.  It kept me so warm - I am amazed at how insulating our hair is.  Being the hot Summer, I am glad you feel free to go as you are, or to wear a cap.  Glad to hear you took some time off from work too.  Your body needs rest, and there is no substitute for that.  I hope the next 11 weeks go by quickly for you so you can "graduate" from chemo.  Everyone is different, but for me, chemo was the hardest part (and I do hear other people say that as well).  Enjoy your watermelon and stay cool!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote LouWM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 06 2017 at 9:00pm
Allison H, this is Nana Lou, just checking in to see how things went with chemo. I had my first chemo with taxol on Monday, with my second treatment tomorrow. I am at the beginning of this long journey. My TN BC was stage 2a, a primary tumor of 1.9 cm with cancer in two lymph nodes. The surgeon wanted me to have chemo first to attempt to kill off the cancer prior to surgery. She was hoping for a complete pathological response. One week after my first chemo, the tumor is so small that I can barely feel it. Ha, take that, cancer! The good news with this result is that the surgeon will need to take fewer lymph nodes and there will be less risk of lymohedema. Yay. Second chemo session tomorrow. I took my iPad and happily did email and facebook all during the infusion. I plan to try to find ice chips to suck on for the next session because it is supposed to help protect taste buds. My food looks like Earth food, but it tastes like it is from Planet Zork. That was temporary, and food tasted normal again by Friday. Best wishes. Lou
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AllisonH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 06 2017 at 9:44pm
Thanks, Nana Lou! I had my first Taxol/Carboplatin three weeks ago. It went okay except for the benadryl part. They gave me way too much, and I went completely loopy. Later in the week, I started having this weird thing where it felt like the side of my head particularly my ear was filled with fluid. Caused dizziness and lightheadedness. When I went in for next Taxol, onc decided to send me to ER for MRI and CAT scan of head. they found absolutely nothing. By the time we were done, onc decided to skip chemo for that week.

Saw ENT who also couldn't find anything but gave me prednisone. That seemed to help some, but I'm still having the problem.

Went for Taxol last week, had long conversation with onc. She's decided to cut out the carboplatin completely (I was supposed to get it every third time with Taxol). When I was ready to get chemo, NP came in and said I couldn't have it because my platelets were too low. Normal range is 150-400. Mine were at 50. So, no chemo for second week. It really upset me because I feel like I'm getting behind.

We'll see how tomorrow goes.

The worst is that chocolate doesn't taste right. That makes me very sad. Cry
Allison
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