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Has anyone quit chemo in the middle of treatment?



  • labelle
    labelle Member Posts: 134
    edited August 2015

    I'm a frequent poster on alternative boards here and a believer in the power of alternative treatment, so I was relieved to skip chemo (oncotype of 11) but with just one node positive I did the RADS. As someone else wrote, that's a lot of nodes. With your stats I'm pretty sure I would have gone ahead with the chemo, much as I hate the idea in terms of nurturing health and wellness -and the RADS.

    But if you are thinking of not finishing your chemo, what are your plans for alternative treatment? Do you have another plan recommended by a holistic health care practitioner? With so much lymph node involvement I don't think relying on surgery alone is a good idea.

  • rainnyc
    rainnyc Member Posts: 801
    edited August 2015

    Kara, I'm enough of a traditionalist that for me chemo was/is the right choice, probably to be followed by surgery (I'll know more in a few weeks). But I did want to voice a message of support no matter what you choose. None of us want to be here, and all of us are dealing with wretched choices and doing things that make us feel wretched.

    I hope you have people around you--I mean, aside from these so-helpful boards--who can help you sort this out and choose.

    I just finished a book that provided a great deal of perspective for me: Doctored by Sandeep Jauhar. It's a memoir by a cardiologist that is also a sendup of much that is wrong about the big business of medicine in this country, i.e. the the way the insurance companies, medical debt, the profit motive have eroded the traditional doctor-patient relationship. And yet it was also quite hopeful in the end, in that the author came out strongly in favor of exactly that traditional relationship. It's worth a read. (And no, I could not have read it if he had been a cancer doctor.)

    Anyway, good luck and courage to you.

  • Strong65
    Strong65 Member Posts: 36
    edited August 2015

    I found out 2 days before Thanksgiving last year that i had stage 4. I wanted to quit partway thru chem, i had taxotere. .. my sons gave me the extra push to see it through. I completed the chemo portion in April, am now on herceptin, perjeta, and zometa. Other than not having as much energy as before i am doing great. I am stable and able to enjoy life as much as i can. Glad my sons pushed me, I've got alot of living to do.

  • Italychick
    Italychick Member Posts: 527
    edited August 2015

    the problem with alternative is it is confusing and not well mapped out. I truly did not want to do chemo, but I consulted three alternative practitioners, and everything they wanted to do was a muddled mess and I had little confidence in their suggestions. I know there are no guarantees either way, but I have to at least have confidence in the prescribed treatment. I will always wonder if chemo was necessary, but since alternative practices do not have any validation, I chose to do traditional and then move on to alternative treatments as a second set of insurance. I think there are no easy answers, and each person has to do what they are comfortable with. Or at least uncomfortable with, but with some degree of confidence.

    I don't really agree that doctors are all about the profit. When I came down with pretty serious neuropathy after round 5, my MO immediately said no more chemo. She offered me alternative suggestions, like delaying, but then said if it were her, she would stop, I had plenty of chemo.

    If there was a tried and verified alternative plan that has known success rates, I would have done it. But I tried and tried, and I couldn't find anything out there. And there was also the fact that insurance doesn't cover alternative treatments, and I didn't want to bankrupt us for a maybe it will work.

    Two months post chemo I feel pretty much normal except fatter and my hair is still growing back. As bad as traditional treatment is, I feel it is still the best we have at the moment.

    Having said all that, I am throwing supplements, diet, exercise, stress reduction, and everything I can think of at my cancer. It can't hurt.

    I do support whatever choice a person makes, and would never look down at anybody who doesn't want to do chemo.

  • debiann
    debiann Member Posts: 447
    edited August 2015

    When considering tx, one pitfall we all need to avoid is assuming we will have the same results as somebody else. We can't say "She did an alternative/or conventional treatment and she's ok so I will be too". Statistics mean something when you talk about what might happen to a group of people, but individually you're either going to have a recurrence or you're not. No one knows for sure which it will be for them. Its all a crap shoot and we're all gamblers.

    On the other hand, statistics, data and research do help some of us make decisions. There's no denying that conventional medicine has the upper hand when it comes to data and research, and that adds to the cost. When alternative practitioners start putting as much time and effort into research and trials, they will cost more too. Many already are kind of pricey, without offering the research to back up their claims.

    All you can do is what feels right to you and make decisions you can live with, even if your choices turn out to be not so good. I know my past experience with BC clouds the decisions I made. Many years ago I watched my BFF's mother die from bc and it was a terrible death. She found a lump, but waited years before telling her doctor (it actually broke through her skin). She was stage IV at dx. While I hated every minute of chemo it was minor compared to what she went through.

    I chose the conventional treatments I was comfortable with. With my MO's ok I turned down Adriamycin (too toxic), and Perjeta (too new). I did MX instead of lx to avoid rads. I'd love to try some complimentary therapies too, but can't afford things insurance won't cover.

  • meow13
    meow13 Member Posts: 1,363
    edited August 2015

    If chemo was a cure we wouldn't be here on this board. We all be taking chemo and not discussing alternatives.

  • debiann
    debiann Member Posts: 447
    edited August 2015

    I think when it comes to cancer a lot of people, in both the conventional and alternative settings want us to believe they have the answers, but no one does. Sure chemo cures some, or at least it halts the progression of cancer for a while, in some, but for others it does nothing. Don't know until you try it. Some alternatives work for some, not for others. My theory stands, its all a gamble. Enny, meanie, minie, moe ......

    Even the causes of this crap still eludes us, yet they want us to think they know. I was recently at the BC survivors workshop at my hospital where a nutritionist discussed how obesity was a risk factor for bc and that diet could prevent recurrence. I'm not disputing that healthy eating is good for all of us, but out of everyone there, the woman who took this advice most seriously was the youngest, thinnest woman in the room. She was in no way overweight and from how she talked she already had good eating habits and exercised regularly. She asked many questions and was so worried that she was going to eat something that was going to cause recurrence. So basically, someone convinced the skinny lady that she caused her bc because she didn't watch her weight. So unfair. She really does not need to carry that burden, when no one knows what caused her cancer.

  • Italychick
    Italychick Member Posts: 527
    edited August 2015

    meow13, I agree with you. But I haven't seen a successful alternative treatment protocol, have you? I am all ears if there is one I have overlooked. That's the problem for me. Chemo sucked, no denying it, but I cant find anything else that works. I'm not saying chemo works, especially in every situation, but cost wise and verified results wise, chemo seems to be the main viable alternative right now. Does the chemo result in a long life, or would most of us be okay with just surgery? I think in the right situations, surgery may be all that is necessary. But then I look at my grandchildren, and I want every chance to be here and see them grow up. That's what it came to for me. I would rather live with some side effects and do what I can to minimize them than not be here at all.

    Again, I am doing everything alternative I can find in addition to chemo and traditional treatment. Do I know if it will work? No. Can it help? Maybe. And that's how I viewed chemo, it was a maybe.

    Trust me, we use no chemical cleaners, fabric softener, eat organic, etc. We won't even buy new furniture because of toxins, and we have replaced our flooring with tile. Our mattress we sleep on and our bedding and towels have all been replaced years ago with organic products. We use natural products in our yard, and don't even use non-organic fertilizers. I am all about alternative when I can afford it.

    I guess there are no easy answers, and each person has to do what they are comfortable living (or not living) with.

  • Stephmoen
    Stephmoen Member Posts: 184
    edited August 2015

    all I know ischemo has made my very palpable lump shrink down to nothing sooooo yah I'm going to say chemo is pretty damn important in fighting certain cancers