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March 2011 chemo-lounge

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  • cellomomof5
    cellomomof5 Member Posts: 49
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    MaxineO - have had exactly the same headache problems you have.  I've also had not so much trouble from the Neulasta.  Here's to a better week!

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,093
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    Day 5 from my 2nd chemo last Wednesday.  The 1st round found me feeling a bit better by day 5.  This time my mouth still feels somewhat numb and food doesn't taste quite right yet.  Activia yogurt, bananas, oranges and coleslaw help keep the plumbing in order. (Not that these foods taste that great).  A few days after the chemo I get some strong gas pains.  I found patience to be my friend! (Don't rush things).  My intestines feel numb for about 4 or 5 days, too.  Weird feeling.  And the inside of my mouth feels numb, but no sores.

    My chemo is administered via an IV (no port) and it's gone well.  The 2nd time the IV was put in close to where it was the 1st time and there's no problem to report.

    I view the chemo as my friend and ally.  Am reading a great book that says the chemo is strong and powerful; it helps the white blood cells; and that IT IS THE WHITE BLOOD CELLS that destroy the cancer.  It says picture the cancer cells as weak and confused, see the vast army of white blood cells as victorious. The white blood cells are eager for battle, aggressive and seek out cancer cells to destroy them!

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,093
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    Re:  headaches

    Have suffered from headaches most of my life, so those are taken in stride...if I'm having them as SE of chemo, I don't realize it because I've just always dealt with them.  Those of you who've rarely had headaches, I envy you!  lol

  • mdg
    mdg Member Posts: 1,468
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    Kriskat: I added you to the roll call!  Good luck.  Your amaretto sour is on the way!  Bottoms up!

  • Colodisneylover
    Colodisneylover Member Posts: 183
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    If you've used Senacot for constipation from chemo, did your stomach hurt with it like a normal laxative makes your stomach hurt? I've never used it before but bought some and am considering trying it.  My stomach is starting to feel a little more like normal and I don't want to risk causing problems!

  • cellomomof5
    cellomomof5 Member Posts: 49
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    TheDivineMrsM - re: headaches

    I spent years struggling with migraines, and was so happy to finally get them pretty much under control with Atenelol at night and Imitrex whenever one threatened.  They're letting me keep taking the Atenelol, but not the Imitrex.  I'm afraid tylenol just doesn't cut it, and I'm sad to have them back!  :-(  Ah well, it's all for the good eventually, right?

    -Karen 

  • maxineo
    maxineo Member Posts: 199
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    Was anyone told to limit or eliminate caffeine during chemo?

    I was told to seriously limit, but forgoing coffee does NOT seem an option to me  Innocent!

  • JackieMom
    JackieMom Member Posts: 1
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    Well hello ladies.  I am due to start chemo on March 18.  Day after St Patty's Day.  The information provided here is priceless.  I have just made my list of items to have pre chemo. 

    I am not looking forward to my head hairloss, but will not shed a tear for the rest of the hair loss.  Funny that we spend time and money trying to change how we naturally are - shaving, waxing, perming, coloring, etc while we are healthy.

    I am happy this forum / website exists.  I'm proud to be part of the chemo-lounge.  My fave drink is vodka with a splash of cran grape.  I will try to pretend they are giving me that as opposed to the a/c.  I had some issues with the restroom after my blmx surgery and you only feel better visually drinking prune juice out of a martini glass - wonder if I could make a slushy of it or something.  Good luck to you all!!

    ~JackieMom 

  • leeann56
    leeann56 Member Posts: 51
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    Hi everyone!

     I am bellying up to the bar for a Long Island Ice Tea ( AC-T). Starting March 23rd. Glad to be going through this with the support of all you and this thread.

  • lilylady
    lilylady Member Posts: 478
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    Can you guys explain the difference between AC + T and TAC? And if it says AC X 4 and T X 4does that mean 8 treatments or are they togther? Or even the ones that say X12-does that mean your chemo will last 36 weeks? if the norm is every 3 weeks and you have to do it 12 times. I have looked elsewhere for an explanation but you are my people-hoping you can help

  • maxineo
    maxineo Member Posts: 199
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    I can only explain my treatment AC+T, but maybe someone will chime in on others.

    A/C for 4 treatments, one every 2 weeks

    T for 4 treatments, one every 2 weeks

    So, my chemo lasts 16 weeks and includes a total of 8 treatments.  I know some other drug regimens are a treatment every 3 weeks.

  • christine47
    christine47 Member Posts: 846
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    TAC is given all at the same time and usually 3 weeks apart for 6 rounds.  You might wish to thing of it as a Long Island Ice Tea, very strong.  I am getting this, maybe a regional preference.

    AC + T, AC for 4 rounds, each two weeks a part, followed by T for 4 rounds, again 2 weeks apart.  T can either be taxol or taxotere.  From what I understand you can grow some hair while on the T alone.

    Interestingly success rates on cancer research sites show equal effectiveness of both regimes, which are labled as third generation treatments.

  • leeann56
    leeann56 Member Posts: 51
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    My regimen is AC for 4 rounds DD (dose dence) every other week and then Taxol every week for 12 weeks. A total of 16 treatments.

  • PennyCookson
    PennyCookson Member Posts: 356
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    I have had the port for just over two weeks now and am back to lifting weights with no problems.  I avoid reaching up too far, or pushing weight above the shoulder - but bench presses/bicep curls have been fine.

    I am day 13 , over the sickness/fatigue and now into the mouth sores, skin rash.  Keeping the mouth problem at bay with bicarb mouthwashes every few hours - not sure what to do with the skin rash yet it just popped up last night.  

    The TAC v AC+T seems to just be an onc preference - have read alot of the medical reserch papers and they are both giving really good results.

  • mountkel
    mountkel Member Posts: 1
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    Hi everyone -

    Just popping in to say "You can do this"!! It has been 1 year since I started chemo and 6 months since I have stopped! It was hard but I got through and you can too! I go for my 6 month check up on the 21st with my oncologist and am hoping everything is going good. I have a head full of hair - short but it is there - so YES IT DOES GROW BACK!! Smile 

    Good luck to all in the forumn - May you all be blessed and keep up those positive thoughts! Give that cancer heck!!

    Kelli

  • mdg
    mdg Member Posts: 1,468
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    Leeann56:  Welcome to our lounge....wow you ordered a potent drink!  We are kind of neighbors...I am in Detroit!  Sorry you had to come to our lounge but glad you found us!  Best of luck on the 23rd.  I will be at the lounge for my second cocktail that day too...will be thinking of you - cheers!

  • Silia
    Silia Member Posts: 265
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    I am going to ask my onc about dense dosing and why I'm not getting it (I'm also grade 3). Di glad to get insights here... Best wishes to everyone starting this week. I expect to be calmer for my second treatment in another two weeks since the fear was worse than the experience.

  • Huskerkkc
    Huskerkkc Member Posts: 471
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    Hi Cancer Babes,

    I just started reading a book called Crazy, Sexy Cancer Tips by Kris Carr (forward by Sheryl Crow). She does not have BC, but got a very, very rare cancer at age 31. I am about 30 pages in and I just love it! Very irreverant. She talks about her cancer support posse, cancer babes, and has a tip to never write cancer in capital letters or call it my cancer; it should be the cancer. It gives cancer too much power. Instead she suggests misspelling it as canser, so that YOU have "...power over that stupid little two-syllable word." 

    Also, had my port placed today, along with blood draw, IV, and echo-cardiogram. It took two sticks and two nurses on the blood draw, but bless Terri the nurse with 38 yrs experience who got the IV stick on the first try, with no bruising! If you want more info on port placement (I got a Power Port, cute little purple thing under my left clavicle) PM me and I will provide more details. But gals, I was not awake, felt no pain, woke up to tiny dizziness that immediately passed, sat in recovery for about an hour clearing my head, eating a graham cracker and diet Sprite, and came home. Took ibuprofen at 4:30ish and nothing since. Have a heaviness in my chest and feel like I can't draw a full breath, but it is just a sensation, not really a breathing issue. Hope the night goes as well, but I was so relieved. I hope all the rest facing this soon have as good of experience. I'll be at school tomorrow if I'm still feeling good. I can always make it a late start or half-day if I'm sore and/or tired.

    mdg, you recommended an iPod, but I would not have needed or used it. I think BS likes a really dark "twilight sleep"! For others, though, bring the iPod just in case. It would be a great distraction, and even if you are deeper under, the music can still be calming and therapeutic.

  • IllinoisNancy
    IllinoisNancy Member Posts: 99
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    Hi,

    I had AC every other week for 4 treatments which took 8 weeks and then I had T (Taxotere) every three weeks for 12 weeks for a total of 20 weeks.  The whole process has been hard.  I have been sick every time with really bad bone pain.  I don't know if it is the chemo or the Neulasta shots I get the day after chemo.  I have my last one on Wednesday and can't wait to have it behind me.  My BMX is scheduled for April 6th with immediate reconstruction.  I am really looking forward to having hair again and getting some energy back. I wish you all well as you finish your chemo treatments.

    Take care,

    Nancy

  • MIchelle67
    MIchelle67 Member Posts: 42
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    Hi sisters,

    Day 11 post-1st chemo and feeling pretty normal, just can't taste much, not even mustard or capers. Still get a little tired from time to time but I seemed to have come around. Anyone else have a dry nose issue? Onc said nothing about nasal passage problems but I think mine are chemo related.

    Last Friday was actually my first "human" day and I went and cut my past-my-shoulders length hair ultra short. Thankfully my stylist is a good friend and she gave me my pixie cut for free - I would not have chosen it, I had the Sinead O'Connor look back in the early 90s for fashion (DH and I met when we were in an industrial-punk band back in the early 90s) and liked my long platinum and black tresses.

    Am finding I like the shorn look tho - it's easy and chic - and I'm sure I'll adore it next week when I start seeing shiny, bald patches. Not looking forward to that...or the next TC infusion.

    I'll try to see if I can post a pic of my new head, I feel like Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby (love that movie). 

    Hope all are feeling good tonight. Wish I could trade my chamomile tea for some vodka!

  • bikenyc
    bikenyc Member Posts: 57
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    Bought my wig a couple weeks ago (hair is nicer than mine...and cost a fortune...thank god for insurance covering "cranial prosthesis') but I haven't really taken it out of the bag more than a couple times.  Now on day 11 after first chemo and think it may be time to start getting comfortable with it. My hair hasn't loosened up yet, but I know it's in the mail. Sigh.

    I haven't been able to bear to cut it since I found out chemo was in the cards, and now it's gotten a bit too long and I look like a bit of an animal.  But trying to spend some "quality time" together with it while we can...this weekend I did it up all nice and even busted out the curling iron. 

     But buzz machine has been purchased, and friends are on call to come over and do the task the minute it starts clogging the drain. Feel like it's been a countdown to this from the day I found out I had breast cancer (the boob I can have rebuilt in a day, but the hair is going to take a lot longer).  Ready to get it over with already.  

     Just wish I could have timed this just two or three months early.  August with a wig in NYC is going to be a sweaty one!

  • bikenyc
    bikenyc Member Posts: 57
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    Oh and lilylady, my onc said the difference between AC+T and TAC is just kind of a regional preferrence.  East Coast sounds like they prefer AC+T and West Coast/Dallas (MD Anderson) the TAC.  Who'd have thought oncs would have west coast/east coast disagreements...kinda like rappers.

     But they both seem to get the same results.  My onc did mention the the A and the T are both hard on the heart, so he likes to keep them seperate. He's also combining my T with Herpecin.

  • PennyCookson
    PennyCookson Member Posts: 356
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    How times have changed - Went to a Santana concert yesterday, couldn't help thinking that if I'd seen them in the Woodstock days I might have been on more interesting drugs than Immodium!

  • Jules59
    Jules59 Member Posts: 148
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    I am 15 days out from my first TAC treatment, and looking back I can say my side effects have been minor.  I even tolerated the Nulasta shot well, and my oncologist says they will get easier with each one.  My onc says I am looking and doing terrific considering my tough regime.  However, they did give me all the stuff with my infusion to counteract side effects like Benadril, nausea med., steroids.  I think the dex bothered me more than anything, so he says to cut the dose in half next round.  My hair is starting to shed, and I am wondering if I should give in and shave it off, or just wait till it gets too thin to do anything with.

    Best wishes to those facing their first treatment.  I hope yours goes as well as mine did.

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,093
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    Huskerkkc, I heard of the book you mention and know it's popular; although the title puts me off because my experience having the canser and my experience in what I believe is sexy are complete opposites.  Also, the word crazy makes it sound like its spinning out of control; I guess I need to feel like there's some order in my situation, that I rule some part of this, I will gain mastery over it.

    "However" (!) I really like the idea of minimizing things by referring to it as 'the' canser, and even misspelling the word, also, so as not to give it significance....am definitely using that from here on in! (starting with this post!)

  • Huskerkkc
    Huskerkkc Member Posts: 471
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    Divine,

    I'm only 30 pages in but am enjoying it. The author is young (31 at time of diagnosis) and was single.

    +++++++++++++

    Divine,

    I'm sure the book is not for everyone; she really writes is as a journal and the reader is "invited" to peek into her diagnosis and recovery, and the things she finds works and didn't work for her. There are tips for co-workers and family members (she calls them "faux paus"),, and has titles like "Holy Shit, I have Cancer-Now What?!" That alone spoke to me. So far I think her main message is I have canser; it does not have me. I can still be attractive to myself and/or others when/if I want to be (the sexy part) and if I lose it once in awhile (the crazy part) then that's what I'll do too. Many have talked about being canser bitches, so that fits right in.

    I have just found that the other five books I've received or been given are just the facts and so repetitive. Good stuff but my eyes glaze over after the third time I've read 10 Questions to Ask Your Oncologist/Radiologist/Surgeon, etc!! This one so far has engaged me and made me laugh out loud. Some people don't even touch a book; it is simply too much information. That would be my sister if she were in a similar situation. Others devour everything they can read. So I appreciate your comments, because it reminds us all that we need to find what we are comfortable with! Thanks for the input!

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,093
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    I can MOST definitely relate to being the canser bitch!  For some reason, when I am wearing a cap out in public and not my wig, whoa!  do.not.mess.with.me.!!! Lol, I had a run-in with an unhelpful nurse yesterday when I went to get bloodwork. She worked for someone not affiliated with the blookbank people and I mentioned to her several times I couldn't believe she could offer me no assistance, even if it was to get someone to help me or call someone for assistance! She kept saying, "sorry, I can't help you."  Like it was a badge of honor!  Very cold on her part. Where I work, sure, it's not perfect, but we do try to be helpful with everyone.

  • herbnstan
    herbnstan Member Posts: 4
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    Well I need to change my chemo start date to the 23rd.  The heaviness in my chest was not going away, so I called the Dr and they told me to go to the ER.  Ending up missing my MRI.  They did all kinds of tests and didn't find anything.  Could have been an anxiety attack.  Anyway Onc wants to do MRI before starting chemo, so everything is pushed back 1 week.  They used my port for the first time. It hurt a little.  I already asked for the numbing cream before chemo.

  • lilylady
    lilylady Member Posts: 478
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    Is a Power port different than other ports? I am getting mine next week but didn't realize there were different kinds. Every time I think I am all researched up I see something new. Also watched some  You Tube videos showing people getting ports installed and accessed. Crazy what poeple will post.

      I took my mom yesterday to get her hair cut the same as mine-ever since I cut mine she kept saying she wanted hers the same. I went from elbow length to pixie last week..the only thing is.she still has no idea about the cancer. I am going to tell them this coming weekend. I told my sister Sunday. The girl thrives on sick people.She has a huge sympathy bone in her which genetically missed me altogether. She wants to hover and feed me green jello and chicken soup-which is exactly why I have put off telling her. She doesn't understand my stoicism and she certainly didn't find any of my cancer jokes funny. She was appalled at the Jeff Foxworthy thread-which besides our chemo lounge it is my favorite. I always read it at night to give me a good laugh before bedtime. It is so long I haven't made my way thru half of it yet.

    Girls, I feel more like a lurker than anything but I am so lucky to get all this info ahead of time. Thanks for all the chemo info on the AC and T thing. Have my little notebook ready for onc appt tomorrow tucked away in my cancer bag. That's the other thing that has my poor mom freaked. I have NEVER been a purse person and now i am lugging this big old bag around with my notebooks and lists and cards ect. She buys me a purse every year for Xmas and now I am finally carrying 1 around. She is a girly-girl and God love her both her daughters could really care less. She finally thinks she has brought me around.

  • Kymn
    Kymn Member Posts: 887
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    Good morning ladies,

    Had my MRI done yesterday, wasnt the worst thing I have been through but not the best either. I didnt require any meds to get through it so thats good. Was a bit crampy in there and sounded like a construction site and definetly long but its over.

    Also purchased a wig yesterday its a bit darker than I wear but adding a little colour to my face will prolly be good if I am looking a tad tired. Also got one of those half ones for hats.IT looks pretty both are long so guess I can strike that off the list of things to get done.

    Am feeling nervous about thursday but after reading all your posts guess I will feel better after I get the first one over and done with. Havent shaved my head dont think I wlll till I feel the tingling starting will just enjoy it while I can.

    Thanks for all the updates for those of you who have started and good luck to those of you like me waiting to get started. Order me up a rye and diet barkeep and keep em comin lol