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February 2012 Chemo

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  • wrennest
    wrennest Member Posts: 3
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    HHello-

    I have started my chemo this past week. A/C.  It is the bravest thing you will do.  You are all strong and you will get through it.  Visualization is key.  It really helps.  However you imagine the chemo finding the cancer cells and destroying them it really helps.  This is my 3rd day after my 1st chemo treatment and I am feeling better than I expected.  I am a little off, maybe a little yellow in color.=)  But I am doing it and any time I  get scared, I think....go chemo....get in there and chomp up those cancer cells so they don't have a chance to come back!  I will tell you that once you are in treatment for chemo, you feel a little at ease that something is actually being done to get rid of the cancer.  As horrible as chemo is, at least I don't have to imagine stray cancer cells getting out of hand somewhere in my body.  I am sending good thoughts and warm wishes to all our Feb chemo crew.  Oh.....if you have a port, don't be afraid to ask for the numbing cream.  It works great.  YOu can't even feel it go in if you have the numbing cream on.  Ask for it!  It helps!=) Hugs to all!  

  • FLDREAMER
    FLDREAMER Member Posts: 136
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    I had my first AC treatment on Thursday.  I posted extensive details on the January 2012 forum and thought I could copy and paste it here also.  The copy and paste didn't work.  .

    NEULASTA shot was given to me about an hour ago.  It's supposed to be 24 hours after the "FINISH" of the chemo treatment.  Since I finished at 4pm Thursday and my MO office closes at 3pm on Friday, they have someone there on Saturday morning to give the shot.  I was told that my insrance company is the one who insists it be 24 hours after the chemo is finished.  Not sure if that is the same for everyone.   Anyway, the shot was in the belly.  Didn't hurt.  I had to sit for five minutes afterwards to be sure there was no reaction and then I was on my way.  Told to take Tylenol or a pain pill if I have bone discomfort later on.    Too soon to know how I'll react.  Just an FYI for everyone.

    I just added to this.  The nurse never heard of taking Claritin.  was totally unaware.  What's the story on that?  Does it help better than Tylenol?  Is that an over the counter med also? 

  • firstcall
    firstcall Member Posts: 201
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    Greetings everyone.  May I please join with you here?  I know I don't exactly fit in, (not one of the 'girls') but I share the diagnosis, and anticipate starting chemo this month.  I had a mastectomy on 12/29, with SNB, and had one small micromet.  Two weeks later I had a lymph node disection, and those nodes were all negative.  Still healing from that, but I feel better than I anticipated I would at this point. I'll be meeting with my MO this week to work out the details of Chemo.  I have been reading your posts, and I share your concerns.  I wish I didn't have to do this, but I am greatful that there are treatments available.  As a family medicine physician I have been at war with cancer for years.  Now it has gotten personal.  I have accompanied many women on their journey through this, most with good outcomes, some with very difficult courses.  I am very aware that this is something to take very seriously.  I appreciate the thoughts that each of you share.  I havent had my port placed yet, but I will say this (based on my experience with patients) - the Port is your friend.  My veins have already been poked more than I can count, and I havent even started the Chemo yet.  Thank goodness my good veins are on my left arm.  

  • Brandyj26
    Brandyj26 Member Posts: 7
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    firstcall  of course, all are welcome to join.  Wish you didnt have to join as many of us would prefer not to be here in the first place. there are a lot of brave people on here that will help and listen whenever needed, we are here for each other.

  • DonnaDS
    DonnaDS Member Posts: 23
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    Gritgirl I had dex the day before the treatment.  The headaches were fierce until day 2 when I complained that it was too much.  Apparently not a common SE. I am also taking a medpac to taper down the steroids thru day 7.  I'm on day #5.  Headaches just must be my thing. So tx#2 will be IV dex day of and probably the medpac. I slept most of yesterday, until nausea got me in the night.  Havent quite got the rythmn of this ordeal.  Good luck on your day two today.That was my best day this cycle so far.  Hope you can get outside.  Bless you

  • rachelvk
    rachelvk Member Posts: 564
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    Hi all. Sounds like many of you have already gotten on the train and seem to be doing okay with your first tx. (Did I mention I went for martinis with my Mom after my first?). Welcome to all the newcomers - including Adrian. My Dad is a retired ob/gyn and has gone through two mammograms and a biopsy for a lump, which fortunately for now is 'nothing,' but I understand what you're going through.

    Here's a brief run-down of what I've come to expect, to a varying degree, from my TAC treatments (once every 3 weeks):

    Day 1 - Feel fine, but increasingly tired as the treatments go on (crashed from 8:30 pm overnight the last one, #3).

    Day 2 - Wake up feeling a little tired. Neulasta. Usually able to work a few hours.  Possibly helped by last doses of Dexamethasone. Some stomach discomfort - usually kept at bay by Emend, Zofran and if necessary, Compazine.

    Day 3 - Achy, tired, moderate nausea (no vomiting as of yet).

    Day 4 - Achy, tired, moderate nausea. Some constipation (taking Metamucil and stool softener since a few days before tx)

    Day 5 - Achy, tired, sluggish, and have to keep recharding battery. Some constipation and menstrual spotting. 

    Day 6 -  Pale, very tired on and off. Possibly low red blood count. Period hits, hard and crampy (not this time around; very possible that my ovaries have given up the ghost).

    Day 7 - Tired. Taste buds start feeling 'off.' Check temp twice a day - first time around wound up in ER because of low-grade fever (white blood count low, even with Neulasta). Some slight tingling in fingers (second treatment only, so far).

    Usually by Day 8 those things, other than the taste buds, have subsided and I can look forward to about 2 weeks of feeling 'normal.' That seems to be changing, as I am feeling tired longer now. The only other odd thing I've had consistently on Day 20 or 21 is a foot cramp. Darned if I can explain it, but it's like clockwork.

    As for hair, I started feeling the tingling around Day 14, when single strands started coming out when I ran my fingers throuh the hair. By Day 17, hair was coming out in larger amounts, and strands were appearing on my pillow, coat collar, etc. I pulled back on washing my hair (when it would come out in droves) and managed to keep my hair through New Years (which was Day 20). Had a pixie/buzz cut Day 21. The hair loss slowed a bit, though by then it was very thin and full of bald spots. Picked up again after tx 2 (about day 7 or 8). I still have some strands on my head, but after tx 3, I'm getting that hair-standing-up reaction and have seen a few more come out. I haven't shaved because I figure I'll hold on to whatever wants to stick around, and I'm unlikely to go commando anyway. Plus, having the hair in front of my ears and at the very back (still hanging in) is good when I wear hats.

    You might consider keep a diary of SE's. It helps you track them and you can go over them with your MO - that's key. Keep your MO up to date, particularly with things like neuropathy (tingling), nausea, acute pain, etc. They can sometimes offer things to counter it, or adjust your dose.

    Have a great weekend, all. 

  • rachelvk
    rachelvk Member Posts: 564
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    Oh - a few random SEs I forgot about: runny nose, dry hands, chapped lips/open cuts at corner of mouth (bacitracin and Burt's Bees or Neutrogena lip balm seems to help), and cuts at tips of fingers. Just keep the hand lotion and lip balm handy.

  • mthrdee
    mthrdee Member Posts: 68
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    Thanks Rachel - That helps so much - I don't have my first TX for another 2 weeks but at least I can kind of plan what might happen and in what time frame.  the hair timing is a huge help.  I ordered some caps and stuff online and they will take two weeks for delivery so I was a little worried about it.  

    I think the suggestion to write everything down is great.  I have always considered myself a pretty bright woman and I am quite talented at keeping many balls in the air at one time, but lately I find that I go completely blank in the middle of a conversation.  I have to make lists every night for the next day or I have no idea what I need to get done.  That is really causing me some concern as I havent even had chemo yet and the boards say that chemobrain can be hell.

    What a beautiful day we are having in NY....Got outside and walked and walked for over an hour today.  Now off to cook those wings for tomorrow.  Hope everyone is enjoying the day!! 

  • lmlola59
    lmlola59 Member Posts: 18
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    Hi all,

    Thanks for some of the great responses,I know you are all at the beggining stages as I will be but I want to be in the group that can really relate to how my emotions are at this point.

    Thanks Gayle56 for the info on no port as I think I will definetly give this a try unless they decude  otherwise on my day I really hate the idea of the port.

    Also still thinking of passing on the Neulastin and see how that goes only fear is on round 2 I go in and they say WBC count low and I would be delayed.Last thing I want it for this to take any longer.

    I was very lucky after my lumpectomy to be back to my exercise program a just 12 days after.No complications and only 2 lympnodes removed.So hoping that I may be able to keep this up even if I have to back off a little.Time will tell.

    We can do this as so many before us have

    .

  • ymac16
    ymac16 Member Posts: 85
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    So, FEC infusion on Thursday and Neulasta shot yesterday. Took some Tylenol after the shot, had a bit of achiness in the hips last night so took Tylenol PM I fell asleep around 9:00 - I never go to sleep that early! Pretty much slept through the night and woke up feeling crappy. My head is kind of foggy and my stomach has been unsettled all day, the only things I have been able to tolerate have been toast, a banana, saltines, tea and water. But, no bone aches from the Neulasta! I'm going to try to get myself together to go for a short walk. Hoping tomorrow will be better.

  • SherylR
    SherylR Member Posts: 3
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    Hi Everybody - 

    I had my first TC infusion 2/2.  Here's a log of meds and side effects so far:

    Dexamethazone the night before, twice on day of and day after, and once this am.  Maybe made me a little nauseated.

    Infusion went okay, 3.5 hours. Loopy from the benadryl and anti-nausea push at first. I started tasting metal in my mouth during the Cytoxin infusion.

    Started taking Zofran for nausea day 2 and continue until tomorrow (4).  Feel very fatigued, with waves of nausea.  The nausea is like not wanting to eat, but then when the food is there I can.  Not throwing up.  The most uncomfortable is the dry mouth/metallic taste.  I've been drinking over 4 liters of water a day just to keep it from burning so much.  And putting MIO drops in it from Target for flavor.

     Had lots of trouble sleeping prior to starting, so have been taking the Ativan at bedtime which has helped a ton.  

    Before Neulasta shot they had me take Tylenol, Claritin, and Benadryl.  Then again the next day.

    Haven't noticed any body aches or differences after Neulasta so far.

     Have very much appreciated friends coming for company and taking my daughter out for a bit each day so I can sleep.   

     Hope this helps.  Looking forward to comparing notes... 

  • lumpynme
    lumpynme Member Posts: 497
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    today, my daughter and i went to get my hair cut. i had her take some pics-which i haven't seen yet as they are in her camera (mine is trying to crap out!)the stylist was good about the lil ponies to cut the hair off to save but she only made them 8 + inches long instead of the possibly 10 inches they could have been- i stressed that i was wanting to order a hatswithhair with my own hair-i don't feel that there is enough hair in the ziploc to bother with for the price-bummer! she ended up cutting off quite a bit more after the ponies were cut than she should have..ok that maybe doesn't sound right--i am happy with the final result-just not happy with HOW she got there.

    i ordered a scarf thru french luxe and it is delayed but that's ok cuz i'll still need it later! i have rec'd 3 wonderful emails from them- the gailafund, on the other hand, has not even responded to my request.i'm sure they got it-just haven't heard anything.i've been gifted with a few wonderful crochet caps from friends and a basket at the cancer center . my daughter suggested i just "buy some wigs" she has no clue how daunting that can be!

    anyhow-just waiting for tx to start--funny thing is that many things which formerly didn't bother me- smells, noises, etc. are giving me the willys.... i think i'm having sympathy SE's for all of you!

    the whole finger nail/toe nail thing is really upsetting to me.....

    today i cooked (chicken tetrazini) and plan to freeze 2/3 of it into 2 meals- tomorrow is beef stew and will also freeze some.

    well- sending positive thoughts to all of you!

  • lorenar
    lorenar Member Posts: 41
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    Hi Ladies. Just wanted to offer you a few words of support. I was in your exact same shoes a year ago. Finished all of my chemo, had a dbl masectomy and just doing herceptin till april18. I remember the day I had my head shaved it was so dreadful I cried but now I have a full head of hair back, after taxol my eyelashes and eyebrows came back fast. I know your scared now but trust me u really learn to adjust, try to keep your spirits up, get plenty of rest and never feel alone. If I can ever be of help private mess me or email me at lorrenar@yahoo.com, would be happy to offer any advice you need. Best of luck ladies you are warriors and will get thru this.

  • gonegirl
    gonegirl Member Posts: 1,022
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    Wrennest, that's a perfect description of chemo. The drugs in there and attack the cancer.



    Firstcall, sorry you are with us but welcome. Glad they found it. Cancer knows no gender, color, etc



    Today was rough. I did too much and overwrought myself. I am not used to being down and out. Need to get rest. Am starting to ask for help.



    Sleep eludes me. Decadron keeps me awake. Meet with MO on Monday and will discuss options. I need sleep.



    So glad you all are here. This is a huge comfort.

  • dltnhm
    dltnhm Member Posts: 420
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    Hey FLDREAMER .. I am going to be giving myself the Neulasta shots. Was that an option for you so that they can be within the time frame and so that you don't have to make a second trip? Just wondering.

    lorenar .. Thanks for the encouragement.

    rachelvk .. I have always thought I lost a few memory cells with the placentas of my children ... cannot imagine what it's going to be like having Chemo Brain. So great tip on writing things down. I am a writer (a long winded one at that - LOL). I think I might use one of my husband's old mini-recorders actually, if I can find tapes for them.

    Toe Nails and Finger Nails?  I must have missed something. Please someone fill me in on this. I hate surprises that are bad news - ;-)

    wrennest ... I relate to wanting the 'medicine' portion to begin so I know that the onslaught will have begun on those cancer cells.

    gritgirl ... Okay, do not overdue this thing.

    The waiting is the hardest part right now for me ... 18 days until I begin.

    Did I tell all of you (even you wonderful ladies that I haven't mentioned by name) that I am so thankful for each and every one of you today! Fight fight fight!!!

  • gonegirl
    gonegirl Member Posts: 1,022
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    Oh, by the way. Biotene mouthwash and toothpaSste has been helping with the dry mouth.

     And my oncology nurse suggested taking vitamin B6 (100 to 200 mg a day) to deal with neuropathy, so I picked some of that up as well.  

     No Neulasta shots for me since I'm on Taxol and that's a longer course of less immune system suppressing chemo, but I had been scheduled to get those before when it was going to be TCH.  It was a drop in shot.  I'll take any help I can get, so if they offer it to me, this needle phobic will be first in line.

     And like Firstcall said, your port is your friend.   So easy, it's just plug and play. My poor veins have been tapped black and blue at this point.  God bless lidocaine cream to numb the spot before,.

  • Laura5
    Laura5 Member Posts: 419
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    gritgirl, ran accross this link on another topic: 

    http://news.ufl.edu/2012/02/02/tumor/

  • gonegirl
    gonegirl Member Posts: 1,022
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    Laura, God bless you for posting that.  That was so hopefully. I talk to my MO tomorrow and find out more but sounds like the masses are spread across right and left lobe of liver. I think the hope is to shrink with chemo and then see what is next.  Thank you so much.

    Susan

  • rachelvk
    rachelvk Member Posts: 564
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    dltnhm - I'm not sure which drugs have the effect, but Taxotere definitely is supposed to be harsh on the nail beds - they may get dark, the nail can become soft and brittle, and some women do lose a few nails because they lift off completely. So far I'm okay. I ice my fingers and toes during the Taxotere portion of my tx (some suggest bags of frozen peas, I just use bags of crushed ice). I also keep some nail strengthener on and am keeping the nails short so they don't catch on anything.

    If you haven't already, go through all the drugs in your cocktail with your MO or nurse and look at all the possible SEs. Most are similar, but you may find a few that differ, so knowing in advance is important. 

  • lumpynme
    lumpynme Member Posts: 497
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    i'm wondering WHEN one finds out what their cocktail is going to be??? somehow i just feel like my MO has me on a need to know basis and doesn't feel taht i need to know yet--or am i just overanxious? i had the last of the testing (except mammo) last week so maybe they haven't developed the plan yet????

  • FLDREAMER
    FLDREAMER Member Posts: 136
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    Ringing in the ears!   Is this a side effect of anything I've listed below?  It's mild but irritating nonetheless.   I've never heard or read of this as a possible side effect.

    I've had one AC, one Neulasta and am taking Zofran as an anti-nausea med.  So far, I've been doing fairly ok except for being really tired.   And then the ringing started.   It's very bothersome.  Anyone else ever hear of this?  any suggestions?

  • gonegirl
    gonegirl Member Posts: 1,022
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    It is a side affect. I've had it for other reasons. I found that using atavan to chill myslef out for a while (it nearly drove me nuts), and running a fan at night made a huge difference. There also are some great white noise apps too. What kind of phone do you have? I hear it's temporary.

  • gigborn
    gigborn Member Posts: 11
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    Well, I guess it is time to join this group.   I have learned so much by reading all the posts on the board.   Tomorrow is Port insert day and Wednesday the chemo ride starts.   I will be having TCH.  Haven't cried yet, but I know I am scared.     Went wig shopping yesterday.......what a disappointment.  Does any one know what brand has thin or much hair than most?   I have short thin hair now and felt like I was putting a rug on. 

  • Laura5
    Laura5 Member Posts: 419
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    You're welcome Gritgirl, and God bless you tooSmile 
  • ymac16
    ymac16 Member Posts: 85
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    Well, started raining in DC so never made it out for that walk. Finally was able to get a light dinner down - chicken, green beans and bread. Stomach still kept roiling for the rest of the day plus I was constipated. Drank a laxative tea and took an anti-nausea pill before going to bed. Boy, did the tea work!! Cleaned me out this morning. But, I woke up feeling much, much better - the fog had lifted from my head, I was able to eat a waffle and banana plus drink coffee, and I wasn't too tired. I actually made it to my yoga class and was able to do everything though it did tire me out. Just ate a decent lunch and I'm now going to take it easy for the rest of the day. Plan to go into work tomorrow. So, overall, not too bad of a bad first infusion experience. Unfortunately, with the treatment I'm on, I'm going to lose the hair pretty quickly - supposed to start 14 days after the first infusion and be all gone w/i 2-3 days. I've decided to forego a wig and just do scarves and hats - I have medium length, thick curly hair and I just don't think I'll be able to find a wig that is right for me. Getting my hair cut short this week so it won't be so traumatic when I starts to go.

  • moonflwr912
    moonflwr912 Member Posts: 5,938
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    Hello Gigborn! I am a week away from my port- the 14th, and start chemo the 16th.  I was delayed a month and waiting is hard.  I am waiting to go wig shopping til I loose my hair- Then I know it will look better!  L:OL.  I dug through my drawers and found a stash of square and long rectangle scarves- from the 80's, I think I wore them alot then!  LOL  I will buy some hats though, to wear the scarfs around. 

    Lumpynme- when you see your onc next, they probably will have your Tx then.  They have to figure out all the different things they see from the tests and find the right coctail.  Again, the waiting is the hardest.  

    fielddreamer- I think it is part of the "C" part- I know I read it in my Carboplatin Se list.

    Gritgirl, hang in there.  

    Everyone else, have a good week.  Thanks for all the help I find with everyone.  

  • lumpynme
    lumpynme Member Posts: 497
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    Moonflwr912; thx- i don't "see" the MO again til the 13th which is probly my first tx-i do have chemo school -they call it "teaching"- this week on wednesday- doubt i see the MO then at all...

    all i know is chemo with neulasta then lumpectomy-

    i know- patience---it is a virtue and i never had any! my mother used to joke that i was organizing a donut run when i should have been standing in line for patience!

    going nuts around here with lots to do and no desire.....still unpacking from our move two weeks ago.....

  • lumpynme
    lumpynme Member Posts: 497
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    gigborn;welcome aboard! sorry that you have to be here....can't help on the wig question--i haven't yet looked at any except online....

  • moonflwr912
    moonflwr912 Member Posts: 5,938
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    Lumpynme- I was to have chemo teaching on Fri, but they canceled it.  Will call on Monday and make another apt.  I will be starting on the 16th. I hate waiting.  Good luck on the unpacking.  We just did major cleaning of kitchen cabinets and pantry- lots of work, many bags of somehow um, outdated things!  LOL

  • SherylR
    SherylR Member Posts: 3
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    ymac16 - what laxative tea did you drink?  i'm trying to beat the constipation and could use a little advice.  thanks.

    Also, Day 3 update:  cruddiest so far. I do vaguely remember the nurse saying the anti-nausea push at the beginning of chemo would last about 3 days.  I'm guessing it's worn off...  Very nauseated and constipated.  Makes me want to not take any more anti-nausea meds so I can beat the constipation, but then there's all the nausea...  In addition, I'm having some hip and back pain that must be related to the Neulasta shot.  Just feel creaky like an old lady.