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More Tips (and a Shopping List) for Getting Through Chemo

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  • crazy4carrots
    crazy4carrots Member Posts: 624
    edited January 2009
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    Re neuropathy;    I've discovered that the best remedy for this is L-Glutamine.  My last tx was in July (and last 3 tx were taxotere).  Because of numbness in fingertips and toes, I started using L-Glutamine (50mg/day, taken before bedtime) in October. Numbness went away, but came back again after I'd finished the bottle and before I'd had a chance to get another one.  Now, after a couple of weeks, the numbness has disappeared again.  Well, it works for me!

    For anyone starting taxotere or taxol treatments, I'd recommend trying either ice mittens if your centre has them, or taking a pair of mittens and putting frozen veggie packs in them (and try it with socks as well).  While not absolutely proven to be effective, the theory is that cold fingers and toes do not let the taxanes circulate there.  And if that is so, you'll manage to keep your nails!  Of course, you'll have to check for frostbite every 10 minutes or so.....!  I had my tx in the summer when the a/c was going full blast.  I wore sandals and my feet were always cold.  Didn't have any trouble with my toenails, but did lose a couple of fingernails (no, it doesn't hurt -- just looks awful!).

    All the best for 2009.......Linda

  • Nico1012
    Nico1012 Member Posts: 1,152
    edited January 2009
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    Thanks for the info Linda!

    Nico

  • crazy4carrots
    crazy4carrots Member Posts: 624
    edited January 2009
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    Oops, made an error re the L-Glutamine amount.  It should be 500mg/day, not 50. Sorry about that!
  • principessa
    principessa Member Posts: 1
    edited January 2009
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    thanks so much ladies.... i start tomorrow- just took my first dexamethasone.... i'll be so happy when this is all behind me! 

    Innocent

    a

  • Nico1012
    Nico1012 Member Posts: 1,152
    edited January 2009
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    ~~~~~~ BUMP ~~~~~~~

  • Nico1012
    Nico1012 Member Posts: 1,152
    edited January 2009
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    lindasa ~  I found the L-glutamine in capsule form today at GNC. 1500 mg was the rec amount

    per day. Does this seem to be too high of a dose?

    Nico

  • ddlatt
    ddlatt Member Posts: 39
    edited January 2009
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    re:product for nail discoloration and nail loss due to chemo

    not sure if this has been mentioned before, but my medical onc recommended i use Nutra Nail Green Tea nail, cuticle, and fingertip creme to prevent nail loss and discoloration due to chemo. i'm supposed to rub it into the fingernails and toenails in the morning and night.  i found this at wall-mart (hate shopping there but it's the only place i could find it) for about $4. here is a link to the product and discount coupons (look at the top of the page at menu bar):

    http://www.nutranail.com/br-amy.shtml 

    nico1012: i will be starting AC/T tomorrow.  i have been taking L-glutamine since my diagnosis in october, 5g/day.  if you look at the label on L-glutamine, you will see that the mg refers to the size of the scoop, but on the label you will see the grams of the actual L-glutamine in the scoop (at least this is how mine is, since i have L-glutamine maxim, which includes other ingredients). my dietitian recommends i have 10g/day in my smoothie during chemo. 

  • KM47
    KM47 Member Posts: 2
    edited January 2009
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    Just want to say thankyou to Rock and to all the other posters on this forum. I start chemo tomorrow  (FEC) and am terrified. However, this board has helped me at least do some preparation, which makes me feel like I have some control, which helps for some reason. Today I'll be buying crackers, hand sanitiser, breath mints, cottage cheese, popsicles and lemons! Don't think I've ever had such an eclectic shopping list! Thanks again to everyone who has given advice - I hope I'll be able to help others once I've been through it.

  • Sister3
    Sister3 Member Posts: 1
    edited January 2009
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    Thanks to all of you for the tips & list.  Chemo starts in the next week & I didn't know where to start shopping.  I made it through breast cancer 13 years ago without needing chemo (just lumpectomy & radiation), but have no choice with this recurrence.  Again, I thank you for the help.  So glad to have found all of you.

  • crazy4carrots
    crazy4carrots Member Posts: 624
    edited January 2009
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    Hi Nico:

    Sorry for being so slow to answer you -- just didn't get around to checking out this thread.

    Someone here said she was taking 1,000 mgs of L-Glutamine per day, and I've also read that others have been recommended much higher doses.  So, I'm sure 1,500 mgs is fine. 

    On another note:  I was told that with FEC, I'd probably experience a crummy taste in my mouth so I purchased both ginger and cinnamon candies (really strongly flavoured ones).  Guess what?  Didn't need them!

    Good luck to you all.  As I'm sure you've read, chemo isn't necessarily the nicest way to spend your next few months, but YOU WILL GET THROUGH IT.  We did!!!

    Linda

  • lemonjake
    lemonjake Member Posts: 342
    edited January 2009
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    Hey, new women! Just a quick shout to wish you all the best.  There will be some rough moments but overall, I found that chemo was not the worst thing in the world. You WILL figure it out! 

    All the best,

    rock (aka rockthebald)

    P.S. Constipation is NOT your friend, so please make sure to take in a lot of fiber (e.g., fruits and veggies, oatmeal, nuts) and  water, etc. 

  • Nico1012
    Nico1012 Member Posts: 1,152
    edited January 2009
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    Hey Rock ~

    Been reading your posts from CT ~ always good to hear from you.

    You are so right about constipation, our mantra should be...........

    Fluids, fluids, fluids, fiber, fiber, fiber!!!

    Nico

  • NanaOfTen
    NanaOfTen Member Posts: 13
    edited January 2009
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    Now that I understand doin da bump, i'mma bumping for those starting chemo. I sent this list to my daughter so she can pick me up somethings if she wants to. I will be starting soon. Got my surgery date today, will be jan 29, next thursday.

    Nana

  • Nico1012
    Nico1012 Member Posts: 1,152
    edited January 2009
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    Bumping for the newbies.

    Nico

  • crazy4carrots
    crazy4carrots Member Posts: 624
    edited January 2009
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    Hi Everyone;

    Just want to tell you all that you are fortunate to have found this site at the beginning of your bc journey.  I didn't -- had the lumpectomy and then mastectomy last Jan and Feb, then started chemo in April, and didn't find this site until August.  And oh, how I could have used the support and knowledge so much earlier from everyone going through the same thing!

    Find a thread (e.g. Starting chemo in Jan, Feb, etc.) and JOIN IN! 

    My warmest wishes to you all,

    Linda

  • Nico1012
    Nico1012 Member Posts: 1,152
    edited January 2009
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    Thanks for the info, lindasa! I also tried candies called "GinGins" and they worked like a charm. Whole Foods has them. They also help with mild nausea. Better than taking the heavy anti-nausea meds all day long! Best of luck to our sisters who are just starting this journey! The tips on this thread will make dealing with the se's SO much easier.

    Nico

  • kelty
    kelty Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2009
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    great post. I need to mark it.

  • Nico1012
    Nico1012 Member Posts: 1,152
    edited February 2009
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    Bumping to the top!

  • lemonjake
    lemonjake Member Posts: 342
    edited February 2009
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    bump for nico, for old time's sake.

  • MsKarin
    MsKarin Member Posts: 105
    edited February 2009
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    Just thought of something to add.

    For those without a port wear a poncho type sweater so your arms are free to move with out constricting IV lines.

  • Nico1012
    Nico1012 Member Posts: 1,152
    edited February 2009
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    rock, you really ROCK!!

    Nico

  • otter
    otter Member Posts: 757
    edited February 2009
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    Hi, Nico!  (Hi, rock!)

    Hey, Karin, I am still admiring your pole-dancing pic.  Right away I noticed that you were wearing a soft, knit poncho/shawl, and I realized what a terrific idea that was.  And, it would be something friends could make for friends needing chemo. 

    otter 

  • Nico1012
    Nico1012 Member Posts: 1,152
    edited April 2009
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    GREAT IDEA, Otter. Another comfy thing that I found handy were those thick fluffy knit socks that have non-slip treads on the bottoms. Since I used ice bags to keep my hands and feet chilled during the infusion (to help slow blood flow and ward off neuropathy) the socks helped warm me up quickly afterwards.

    Nico

  • EvaPerone
    EvaPerone Member Posts: 14
    edited February 2009
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    Nico: Have the ice bags worked during Taxol? I still have 2 more doses A/C and will then start T.

    I'm also looking for tips on dealing with pain in feet and hips after neulasta shots.

    Eva 

  • Nico1012
    Nico1012 Member Posts: 1,152
    edited February 2009
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    Eva ~

    Yes the ice bags worked. At least I have had no hand or foot neuropathy.

    The other things I would suggest are L- glutamine 1500 mg capsules available at GNC and Alpha Lipoic Acid capsules, the best brand is Jarrow Formulas, available online. Vitamins B6 and B12 are also helpful.

    Many women on these boards took Claritin for the Neulasta se's and said it worked well. Supposedly the se's are actually an allergic reaction and Claritin is an antihistamine, thus the relef from synptoms. That is plain Claritin and not Claritin D.

    Wishing the best for you in your treatment. You will find so many caring women on these boards who are willing to help in any way they can.

    Nico

  • EvaPerone
    EvaPerone Member Posts: 14
    edited February 2009
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    Question about A/C +T: round 3 tomorrow of the 'red devil' but haven't lost body hair or eyebrows and eyelashes. Will I? I lost the hair on my head ~day 17.

    I saw posted that soy isn't good for ER+ --- I do drink some soy milk, can anyone explain?

    Dreading tomorrow, Eva 

  • lemonjake
    lemonjake Member Posts: 342
    edited February 2009
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    The bulk of my eyebrows and eyelashes hit the ground the final weeks of chemo and the few weeks after chemo ended.  The body hair disappeared at some point, but I didn't notice it going so can't say when it happened.

    I guzzled soy milk during the 2 years before I was diagnosed. Needless to say, I have sworn it off completely post-dx.  (I did have a moment in the grocery aisle, one day, as I bid  a teary good-bye to my soymilk habit. I'm a serious! I found myself CRYING in front of the soy milk section! It didn't help that there was some sappy muzak song playing.  My then-boyfriend thought I was nuts, but I think it was also the moment when he realized how hard cancer can be, not just in the big ways -- chemo, life expectancy, tests -- but in the little ways like soy milk as well.)

    Eva, I'm sorry you're in a state of dread.  I hope you can figure out a special treat for yourself for tomorrow or over the weekend.  And if you haven't already, make sure you have flattering lighting in your bedroom and bathroom!  Trust me, it makes some tough weeks ahead a little less tough.

    xo 

    Hi, Nico!!!!!!

  • EvaPerone
    EvaPerone Member Posts: 14
    edited February 2009
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    Thx Rock, sorry to be such a newbie but I have loads of questions...Can anyone tell me what to expect as far as my periods go? I already had my first night sweat a few days after round one of A/C.

    Then terrible menstrual cramps after round 2, but no bleeding. What else can I look forward to as I slam into menopause???

    And I get the crying...I seem to have lost all control of my emotions! So glad I found this site and a place to ask the questions that my drs/nurses cannot answer...

    As for lighting, I cannot see during my first week, but vision seems to return 2nd week (I'm on dose dense) so flattering lighting is out or I'll be falling over things!

    Just bought some claritin, thanks to Nico!

  • Nico1012
    Nico1012 Member Posts: 1,152
    edited February 2009
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    Eva ~

    I had a hyst pre-bc so cannot answer questions about periods. Someone will be along though who can answer them. Also only had Taxotere and Cytoxin, no red-devil, but there are lots of threads on just AC so it would be a good idea to post questions there as well. Almost every question I had was answered by reading the May '08 group thread. AWESOME ladies! IT's a long one but well worth the read.

    Nico

    Hey Rock!

  • curiousj42
    curiousj42 Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2009
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    Rock, you rock! :)  What a fantastic thread!  Such great tips from all you wonderful ladies. 

    I'm a newbie here, finished 2 rounds of chemo (FEC/T), four more to go.  My next one is March 2nd.  It wasn't fun but I survived.  Thankfully my chemo is once every 3 weeks and it's enough time to give my body a break in between chemo.  I had a terrible experience with Neulasta after my first shot but extra strength Tylenol did wonders for me.

    I can't thank you enough for the tips, most of them I know.  Since chemo started, I've been cleaning our bathrooms like crazy to avoid bacteria but never thought about changing the shower curtains nor flushing the toilet twice after chemo. Now I will.  And putting the lid down is definitely a must do especially after chemo!  I'll also be using plastic cutleries when I have that awful metal taste.  Thanks again! :)

    I'd like to share some tips that worked for me during and after chemo: 

    a) Prior to the start of each chemo my onc nurse suggested that I put a warm blanket (provided at the hospital) over my arm where the IV will be inserted.  This crucial step helps my onc nurse find my vein easily.

    b) Use an extra gentle or extra soft toothbrush.  I tried using a regular soft toothbrush and it didn't work for me, my gums bled and was too harsh for me.  So I found a Sensodyne extra gentle toothbrush and I love it!  It is just right for me.  I bought at least 5 of them.  Remember we have to replace them often. :)

    c)  There are days when I can't even stand the taste of water (cold or at room temperature).  So I drink Gatorade (red kind) and it's the only one I can take right after chemo.  I'll also try the ginger ale as suggested by the other ladies here.

    To EvaPerone: About your question re monthly period?  Prior to chemo, my period's are long and heavy because of my fibroids.  After chemo, my period came a lot earlier than expected and are still long but the heavy bleeding/clotting stopped.  My onc said the chemo will actually get rid of my fibroids (yay!) and will definitely mess up or might even miss some period cycles.  So expect the unexpected.  I also experienced hot flashes especially in the wee hours of the morning and sometimes during the day.  Sign of early menopause.  I read somewhere that this could be permanent or temporary.

    To everyone:  Any tips on chemo brain?!?!?!  Since chemo started, I find that I'm forgetful and can't remember simple things.  I hate it.  I also noticed blurry vision and I just had my eyes checked last summer.  Will this side effect disappear after chemo?

    YOU are all awesome! :)