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simplelife4real View Drop Down
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    Posted: Dec 11 2013 at 5:30am
Since AC is such a common form of chemo for TNBC, I thought it would be nice to have a thread on that topic.  

Just to get the ball rolling, I thought I would describe my experience with AC to date.

I just started AC last week.  Everyone reacts differently to it, but my experience with the first round has been that I slept almost non-stop for the first 7 days afterward.  I didn't feel sick, just extremely sleepy.  My blood pressure ran low (90/60 or slightly lower) almost all week.

They gave me Emend IV for the nausea and vomiting as a pre-med (along with dexamesone, zofran and claritin).  The Emend is supposed to last 5 days.  Apparently, it did exactly that because I threw up my dinner on day 5.   I was also taking Zofran and Phenergan round the clock as directed.  Fortunately, the vomiting was short-lived and not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  I'll let my MO know about it next week when I go for round 2.  I'm sure they will want to give me something to cover that.

One part of my experience with AC  is probably a little different than other people's because I live pretty far from where I get treatment.  Since I live so far from treatment, they let  me give the Neulasta injection  to myself 24 hours after chemo is completed.  It was a little nerve-racking to give myself an injection the first time, but it didn't hurt at all.  I haven't had any of the bone pain associated with the injection.  I've been taking Claritin twice a day as directed by my MO to avoid the bone pain.  It seems to be working.

I was surprised when the nurse manually pushed the Adriamycin part of the chemo instead of it being injected through an infusion pump.  She said it was to insure my port placement was correct throughout that part of the infusion since adriamycin is so hard on the vessels.  I was wondering if everyone else that has had AC  had the adriamycin manually pushed in.

One thing I'm doing that is a little odd, is that I asked my MO if I could take a statin while I'm getting AC.  I wanted to do it to try to help protect my heart.  There is some evidence that it might help.http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/20130114-3  My cholesterol had risen while I had previously gotten Taxol, so there was some justification to put me on the statin for that reason alone, but my MO wouldn't have done it without me asking for it.  She felt the study was too small to be conclusive and that my high cholesterol was chemo induced.  I don't disagree with her on either count, but I wanted to take the statin anyway and she was willing to let me do it.

Everyone seems to pee red shortly after getting adriamycin.  For some reason, I didn't!  I have no idea where the red went for me, but it wasn't in my peeBig smile.   I did drink a lot of water, so maybe it was just very diluted and I couldn't see it.

So....I hope this was enough to get the ball rolling as a place to discuss AC chemo.  I know we each react to chemo's differently, but it's still nice to have a place to come discuss it.

Kay
DX Aug 2013 @ age 60, Stage 2b, grade 3, 2.3 Cm, node positive, BRCA-; neoadjuvant taxolx12 and ACx4:
2/13/14 LX and ALND-2mm residual in 2 nodes
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MaryFox Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 11 2013 at 3:01pm
I finished A/C a couple of weeks ago and have now started on Taxol. Always had the Adriamycin through my port.

I took Emend 125/80 which is a 3-day regimen. Also took steroids on days 2,3 and 4 to prevent nausea. I never had any nausea.

Once I finished the steroids, I'd crash late on day 5 and into day 6. Other than that, fatigue was manageable with a couple of short naps each day.

Had no pain at all from the Neulasta.

My White Blood Cell count was low at either 0 or 1 - even with the Neulasta shot.

I've lost about 70% of my hair. Once it started to come out, I shaved my head because I didn't like waking up with hair all over my pillow and getting into my nose and mouth.

The most annoying side effect is that my taste buds went away. It makes eating a chore. I probably at least doubled my salt intake just to try to have some kind of taste from food.

Bottom line is that I had a pretty easy time with the A/C. I consider myself very lucky.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hopeful57 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 11 2013 at 4:08pm
Hi, SimpleLife4Real, I finished chemo in September and they push my Adriamycin through also, insteda of infusing it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote My threesomes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec 11 2013 at 7:39pm
Hi, I finished chemo on September 12th. I had 4 cycles of AC and 4cycles of Taxol. I also had my Adriamycin push through instead of infusing it. Not long after I had red urine (called red devil). It did not last long. I tolerated A/C very well. However I did not manageTaxol well.   I felt severe bone aches by the day 3. Each cycle the pain lasted longer. By my last cycle I was so happy that chemo was over I did not mind the pain at all.   I then started looking forward to my surgery.

Good luck with your chemo treatments.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote brandymarie52 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 09 2014 at 10:40pm
Hi guys. My name is brandy Percy. I was recently diagnosed with tnbc on 1/15. I don't have all the info you guys have. What I do know is that it is type 3, stage 3 (as far as they know it hasn't spread after doing a pet scan). After a MRI they have determined that it is at least 8 cm which is why I have to do chemo before surgery. I start chemo tomorrow. Do the a/c every other week for 4 cycles then weekly taxol for 12 weeks. I really appreciate this forum and you guys posting all the info you do. Needless to say I'm a little freaked about what tomorrow has in store but I'm trying to look at it with a positive point of view that this is what I need to get better.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote simplelife4real Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 10 2014 at 8:49am
Hi Brandy!
I'm glad you found us and this thread.  By the time you read this, you may already be done with your first infusion of AC and have a lot of your questions answered and your fears abated.   I just finished my chemo on Jan. 14th, four weeks ago.  I started with weekly taxol and finished with ac every other week.   I was quite nervous during my first  infusion.  I think everyone is....because we don't know what to expect. I got a little nervous again with the first infusion of AC.  Hopefully, your infusion went smoothly.  Everyone reacts a little differently.  It's a normal reaction to be a little nervous with the first infusion of any new chemo.

I made it through all my chemo without any major issues and without any delays.  Most people get through AC and taxol without complications. Even if you have a complication, it's not the end of the world.  The complications can be handled.

My biggest complication with AC was that my blood pressure dropped with the first infusion of AC for some reason.  It stayed low for about a week.  After the first infusion, they always gave me an additional liter of fluid for the BP and it worked perfectly.  I don't think my experience with low BP is a particularly common reaction, but it's common enough that they knew exactly what to do about it.

I was just thinking yesterday, that the one thing that I wish I had known with AC is that sometimes keeping a little food in my stomach would have helped with the nausea better.  I didn't realize that having an empty stomach actually could bring on the nausea for me.  Everyone is different, but that is my tip....if the nausea meds aren't completely doing the trick for you....it may help to actually eat a bit of food.

If they gave you IV Emend before your infusion, you may not have much nausea the first 5 days because that is how long the Emend lasts.  Be particuarly careful on the 5th day about taking your other antinausea meds on schedule so that you are covered as the Emend wears off.  I wasn't the first infusion, and ended up throwing up my dinner that night.  It was the only time I ever actually threw up, and hindsight tells me it was my own fault.  I had been sleeping and was late taking my Zofran.  When I woke up, I ate and took the Zofran at the same time.  I didn't give the Zofran a chance to work.  After that, I was much more careful!

breastcancer.org  has a new chemo thread that starts each month.  I'm sure there is a thread for people starting chemo in feb. 2014.  It's a great place for support.  I'm a member of the Sept. 2013 chemo thread there because that was my chemo start date.  Although almost everyone is done with chemo now, we still post a lot as we go through surgery etc.  There will be women on the thread with all different kinds of BC, but most of them will be doing AC to start out with since it's a common initial  treatment for women with BC needing chemo.

Hair...I have none now, four weeks out from finishing AC.  It's shocking to see yourself without it for the first time, but you will get used to it and it WILL grow back (at least that's what I tell myself).  

I hope things go well for you.  Let us know how it goes.

Hugs,
Kay
DX Aug 2013 @ age 60, Stage 2b, grade 3, 2.3 Cm, node positive, BRCA-; neoadjuvant taxolx12 and ACx4:
2/13/14 LX and ALND-2mm residual in 2 nodes
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kellyless Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 10 2014 at 10:40am
I agree Kay, It reminded me of morning sickness (which I had round the clock for 4 months) in that respect - empty stomach was bad. On the days I really had no appetite I nibbled crackers, speed smoothies or milkshakes. 
Brandy - you should NOT vomit. Queasy and nauseous sure, but if you actually vomit call in. There are a few different drugs to try for chemo nausea, they work differently, most people will find one that works. 
Drink water!lots of it! Flushing your system helps!
Of course being hairless is weird. I tried to enjoy the little upsides. No shaving!!! My arms and legs were so smooth and lovely :) showering is so easy, no shampoo, no shaving, and I felt smooth and clean. I hated the wig, I amassed a big collection of beautiful scarves. I found long dangly earrings helped me feel more female, friends would buy these long earrings and leave email in my mailbox :) it was fun seeing what they'd brought (it gave them something to "do" for me, I told them CHEAP earrings!) 
The anemia really saps your energy. If you overdo while anemic your heart pounds and you get short of breath. Rest! Think of resting as letting your body have time to heal :)  
IDC, 2.2 cm, Stage IIb,lumpectomy 1/30/09 ACx4,Tx4 36 rads
6/1/16 Local recurrence same breast, same spot 1.8cm Carb.4x every 3 wks, Taxol 12x once wk. Dbl Mast. PCR!! Reconstruction fail, NED!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote brandymarie52 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 10 2014 at 4:39pm
Thank you guys for all the advise and words of encouragement. The first treatment went ok. Only thing I have noticed is the pink pee of course and a horrible taste in my mouth. Hopefully this is all the side effects besides hair loss. Wouldn't that be wonderful. Will keep everyone updated as my treatment progresses. Once again thank you all for being here. It's so nice to know there are people you can talk to that understand what you are going through.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote brandymarie52 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 10 2014 at 5:51pm
One question I have is how long does this horrible taste in your mouth last? If you guys experienced it with the ac treatment
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote simplelife4real Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 10 2014 at 7:04pm
Brandy, I'm glad to hear your first infusion went okay.  Unfortunately, your tastebuds will most likely be muted pretty much throughout chemo.  Some people say it's better with Taxol, but it was about the same for me with both.  Just try to eat anyway even when you have no appetite.  I found on days when I couldn't stand anything else, I could always manage to get down some peanut butter on whole grain toast.  At least it had a lot of calories in it.  You will find your own foods that you can tolerate.  

You might also notice you can't stand the smell of foods cooking (I did).  I just had to stay out of the kitchen if something particularly smelly was being cooked.

I think my taste buds came back really fast when chemo was over.  I had my appetite back in a couple weeks and every thing tastes perfectly normal to me now and seemed that way by at least three weeks out from the end.  Since you are finishing with Taxol, it will probably be even faster for you.
DX Aug 2013 @ age 60, Stage 2b, grade 3, 2.3 Cm, node positive, BRCA-; neoadjuvant taxolx12 and ACx4:
2/13/14 LX and ALND-2mm residual in 2 nodes
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lillie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 10 2014 at 8:16pm
Hello,
7 years ago when I had AC the adriamycin was pushed.  The nurse sat there and timed the push as it was supposed to be done within a certain number of minutes.  I have volunteered at the oncology clinic almost 5 years now and adriamycin is always done in a push.
 
Kay I like your no-hair picture.  It reminds me of myself a few years ago. 
 
God Bless,
Lillie
Dx 6/06 age 65,IDC-TNBC
Stage IIb,Gr3,2cm,BRCA-
6/06 L/Mast/w/SNB,1of3 Nodes+
6/06 Axl. 9 nodes-
8/8 thru 11/15 Chemo (Clin-Trial) DD A/Cx4 -- DD taxol+gemzar x4
No Rads.
No RECON - 11/2018-12 yrs NED
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lillie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 11 2014 at 8:03pm
Hello All,
A follow-up on the adriamycin push.  I quizzed the nurses today at the oncology clinic.  They all said it is for Safety.  Adriamycin is not supposed to touch the skin and that is why they push it.  Every so often during the push they pull back to make sure blood can be brought out.  This assures them that the chemo is going into the port and directly into the blood stream and not under the skin accidentally.  Sometimes during an infusion a port can get out of place and send the chemo under the skin instead of into the bloodstream.  This is very rare, but it can happen. 
This makes the name "Red Devil" name for Adriamycin more understandable.  It is one tough drug, but I credit it with saving my life.
 
Thanks,
Lillie
Dx 6/06 age 65,IDC-TNBC
Stage IIb,Gr3,2cm,BRCA-
6/06 L/Mast/w/SNB,1of3 Nodes+
6/06 Axl. 9 nodes-
8/8 thru 11/15 Chemo (Clin-Trial) DD A/Cx4 -- DD taxol+gemzar x4
No Rads.
No RECON - 11/2018-12 yrs NED
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TNinTN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 06 2014 at 11:44am
I remember that we were told that A/C can be hard on your heart and Susan has a friend that said she had some sort of heart scan after receiving A/C but doesn't remember the details. Has anyone else had something similar or know anything about it?

Thanks,

Martin
Wife age 53@dx TN IDC Stage IIA 7/10; BRCA1&2 Neg; BROCA Neg; LN Neg; taxol+cisplatin+/-RAD001x12(clinical trial); lumpectomy 12/10;ACx4; 33 Rads complete 4/11; NED 5/5/11
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MomMom44 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 06 2014 at 1:51pm
Hello - for any of you just getting into AC.  I finished my 4 rounds of DD AC about 3 1/2 weeks ago and had my first weekly dose of Taxol last week (12 weekly Taxol).  I was never nauseated on A/C but felt "pewey" - my word for it - throughout.  Anti nausea meds in IV prior to AC were strong, plus took Decadron steriod and Compazine in winnowing doses through Day 5.  Because AC can cause heart damage, had to have an ecocardiogram prior to beginning to make sure all was well there.  Managed to exercise every day through AC and ate at meal times although food taste off from the get-go on AC.  Wanted to brush my teeth immediately after eating to get rid of slimy feel in my mouth.  Felt very lucky that I wasn't nauseated and felt well enough to exercise thru AC, but after finishing, had sore mouth, ultra sensitive skin (especially hands and toes), lost one big toe nail and possibly second one.  My onc gave me an extra week to recover before I started my Taxol.  So far, feeling really good on Taxol!  My appetite is better thanks to no "pewey" feeling, although still down about 5 lbs from normal weight which had been perfect for me (may be partly due to daily exercise).  Felt well enough to travel out of town for a few days!  Less drugs post chemo on Taxol too and love that!  Since I didn't have an allergic reaction to my first Taxol (think it may happen to about 1 in 5?), I only have to take 2 Decadron the night before and 2 at 2 hrs prior to Taxol morning of (as opposed to 5 pm & am for the first one).  Really happy about that!  Am using tea tree oil on all nails and cyro therapy during Taxol to hopefully prevent more nail loss (previously posted about that) and help prevent neuropathy.
DX TNBC 1/14; age 66; Stage 1; Grade 2; 1.2 cm; 0/2 nodes; lumpectomy; BRAC Neg; 4 DD AC; Completed 12 weekly Taxol July 2014; Radiation August 2014
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lillie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2014 at 9:29am
Hi Martin,
I had a muga scan before getting adriamycian to see if my heart was strong enough to take it. I had another muga scan after finishing chemo to check my heart. I was told that a second scan needed to be done to make sure things were OK with my heart.
Maybe that is what your friend is talking about.
Tell Susan hello and I pray you guys are doing well.

God Bless,
Lillie
Dx 6/06 age 65,IDC-TNBC
Stage IIb,Gr3,2cm,BRCA-
6/06 L/Mast/w/SNB,1of3 Nodes+
6/06 Axl. 9 nodes-
8/8 thru 11/15 Chemo (Clin-Trial) DD A/Cx4 -- DD taxol+gemzar x4
No Rads.
No RECON - 11/2018-12 yrs NED
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote krabiek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 21 2014 at 10:59am
hello - i have a question in that anyone have issues with low grade fevers. I had first AC  on the 8th of Sept and while not significant issues , today and yesterday on the 20th i started a low grade fever that spiked last night at 101.5. on call doc said to take Tylenol and call my nurse navigator in the morning, which is now Sunday.i feel like i am recovering from having the flu or something.


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