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Feb 14, 2018 11:13AM
Welcome to this (small) group. I’m 65, my oncotype score was 26; and Istarted my Chemo 12/5/17. I don’t have any underlying conditions, but I did have a couple vices. Drinking a beer or two a day, and smoking. My oncologist made it very clear that I needed to limit myself to 1 drink per week which we negotiated to a few a week and to stop smoking. I don’t smoke much. Less than a pack a week. Initially I started on an every 3 week schedule without nuelasta. Then when my white blood count got critically low my oncologist gave me a nuelasta injection and set a new infusion #3 date of 1/22/18. By 1/22 my counts were great and I received a nuelasta pod after that infusion. A little heads up about that. It worked flawlessly and after it was placed I never felt a thing, but that happy lady in the commercials obviously wasn’t filmed when it was placed. Two minutes after it’s placed you’ll feel a BIG prick and I wasn’t prepared for that. It subsides immediately but it was quite startling.
Here is what I learned. Take Claritin a couple days before nuelasta pod and a few days after. People have felt bone pain but I have not had that problem. Claritin is an antihistamine and some magic happens and it helps curb bone pain.
The drugs are constipating. It took me a few treatments to realize I needed a better bowel management routine. I take a dose of miralax morning and nite and two senakot S at night. I started 2 days before chemo #3 and #4 and it kept constipation to a minimum. The anti nausea drugs and steroids are also constipating but absolutely take them as instructed and hopefully a bowel management protocol (mine or something your oncologist recommends) will prevent constipation.
Get a variety of your favorite drinks, juice, water, flavored water, ice tea, lemonade and some popsicles. You need to drink about 2 quarts of water, etc each day starting a few days before your first infusion. I say get a variety of stuff to drink because even if you love ice tea you will get tired of the same drink. I’m much happier alternating what I drink. I have never been a big water drinker and there are days where I look at a glass of lemonade and want to throw it across the room. Once this is over I plan on consuming less fluid but you want to stay hydrated and my oncologist said make half of your fluid water and half other stuff. The popsicles come in handy when no other drinks sound good. If you are hydrated your veins are plumper and easier to start the infusion. Bring a little blanket or sweatshirt or sweater in case you are cold and ask for a heated blanket. It’s comforting to be warm.
If something doesn’t feel right once the infusion starts make sure you tell the nurse. The first infusion you have they will probably tell you exactly what they are doing and how it will feel. It shouldn’t hurt, it shouldn’t burn or sting, and if you start to get a slight headache tell the nurse. Sometimes they have to slow the infusion. My total infusion time is about 1 1/4 hours. It’s pretty quick compared to other chemo. The drugs that are in a syringe and go in via your IV are timed and injected slowly. By that I mean 5-7 minutes each. Bring some water to drink, a snack, gum or hard candy. It will give you something to do. Lots of people bring their iPads, books, or magazines. When the infusion is over it will beep and you’ll be unhooked.
I probably could drive to and from chemo but I have a friend who comes with me and does the driving. Usually the day of chemo I feel pretty good and the day after but about day 3-6 I am tired but able to work. If your blood count is low you will feel extremely tired and you need to rest and stay away from people or wear a mask. If you can plan chemo on a Thursday you will have the weekend to relax. Sometimes that’s not possible.
My major complaints (aboutCMF) are all the people who will tell you how easy it is because sometimes it isn’t easy. The constipation was concerning until I got on the right pre chemo and post chemo routine of miralax and Senakot S. I hate all the fluid but that’s just me. I have had an ongoing jumpy feeling in my stomach causing me to burp often. It’s annoying. I never had reflux but I do now and I’m taking ranitidine for it 2xs a day. I have not lost my appetite, I have not been nauseas to the point of vomiting, and I have not had diarrhea. I do have general fatigue and by the end of the work day I’m ready to put on my pjs.
I’m sorry you are doing this alone and I would be happy to support you any way I can. I’d also suggest you do some shopping and get things in your house that are easy to prepare and handy. I have not lost my appetite no matter how jumpy my stomach has felt. In fact my oncologist said CMF actually can increase your weight. I’m living proof, but it might be the cookies and root beer floats.
Good luck to you. Let me know if you have any questions about anything. I have found the groups here to be very supportive and the search feature will point you to lots of information.
Best to you, Kate
9/8/2017, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-