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 My tips for chemo...
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marianwolf

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Re:My tips for chemo... - Wednesday, August 24, 2011 8:44 PM
Hi,

I just rec'd my oncotype today and it's 36/24%.  My Ki67 was 49 and yet this kicked me in the stomach so hard.  My questions may sound studpid, but here is where all the answers are so bear with me.

When you start chemo do you have to do it at the hospital or doc's office? 

Do you always have a port put in?

Is there any chemo treatments that are in pill form or do you have to go the way of port?

Do you have to have someone go with you for your treatments?

Thank you and I'm looking forward to meeting all of you.  I'm definitely NOT looking forward to chemo.  This has come as a huge shock to me....never in my life did I think I'd have to have chemo.  I'm only Stage I!  So much for that.

Marian

Marian 

DX June 20, 2011
IDC, E+P-, HER2-, Ki67 49%
Lumpectomy 7/26/11 & 8/23/11   
Lymph nodes clear!   
BRCA 1-/2-
Stage 1, Grade III 
Oncotype: 36%
Taxotere/Cytoxn 1 2 3 4 12/12/11
33 Rads completed 3/16/12
Start Arimidex 3/17/12    

[link=http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/
NotMe

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Re:My tips for chemo... - Wednesday, August 24, 2011 9:25 PM
Hi Marian:

Sorry about your diagnosis.  There is no such thing as a stupid question; we are here to try to help as much as we can.

It all depends if your oncologist office has an area where she can give your chemo through IV.  My onco office in Hiram, GA has an area in the back of her office with 8 recliners & a gorgeous view of the woods & this is where we get our chemo administered.  There are usually about 2 nurses on duty to check on you & to administer your chemo.

Every chemo patient that I see in my oncologist office has a port on, I have only seen 1 elderly man that has it through his veins, because you get so much meds, it is so much easier to administer chemo through your port, I love my port since I have very weak & collapsible veins....I put lidocaine on my port area 1 hour before I go for my chemo so that it numbs the area & when they put the needle in, I don't feel a thing....  My port was put in during my surgery so I was out for it.  I had IDC on my right breast & was ER+PR+ & HER-.

There are pill forms of chemo but normally if you are younger, they give it to you in IV form, and this is what I was told by the oncologist nurses.  I think the only chemo drug administer by mouth is called Xeloda.  My info may not be correct; you may want to research it more.

I was able to drive myself to chemo & back since the side affects does not start immediately but having somebody to take you & bring you back would be great so that you do not have to worry about driving.....this is good time to take up offers from your friends or family who wants to take you there & be with you since chemo may take between 3-5 hours (depending on the chemo that you are taking).

Do you know yet what type of chemo drugs they are giving you?
I get a lot of my info from a book called Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book, Fifth Edition; learn so much about the disease from this book plus from the komen website.

I have just completed 4 cycles of Taxotere/Cytoxan on August 3 & will start 7 weeks of radiation on Sept 6. I was ER+PR+ & HER- & because they found 4 out of 18 lymph nodes that they removed to be cancerous, I had to do chemo.  It is not a cake walk but it is doable & you can do this.  I thought I could never do chemo when I started & now, I have completed it & you too can do the same.  Put on your fighting glove & fight, fight & fight.

You are in the same city as I am though I am in the neck of woods & not in Atlanta.  You can PM me if you would like to ask me more questions, I would be happy to answer them for you.  You can also go to the chemo page & I started a thread back in June called Chemo starts June 1 & we still have other brave ladies going through chemo & we welcome you there with open arms...join us!

Dx 3/3/11 IDC
ER+, PR+, HER2-
Stage 2B, 4/18 nodes positive
4/13/11 lumpectomy, 5/3/11 re-incision for clean margins & ancil.
Nodes removal
Port 5/3/11, staph infection
Chemo Taxotere/Cytoxan 4 round x 3 wks (done)
Rads x 30 including boosts (done)

Tamoxifen ? I am stalling....
Army Mom

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Re:My tips for chemo... - Thursday, August 25, 2011 9:09 AM
Hi Marian,
 
My onco office is a full Cancer Center so all my chemo treatments were there. They have several rooms with 4 chairs each, some chairs not in rooms which are good for a short iv etc and some private rooms with a bed to lay in if you are feeling bad. I think if they had to use each chair they could have about 30 people + going at once. The nursing staff has about 5 or 6 nurses.
 
If at all possible, request a port. It will make your infusions so much easier and keep your veins from going bad. There is a chemo pill but it is very specific as to what type of cancer it is treating.
 
I live very close to my Onco's office but I always had a friend drop me off and my hubby would pick me up. It was pretty much an all day affair. 8:30 to the clinic for Bloodwork, office vist, set up for the chemo and would then finish up about 3:30 pm. They usually pref that you have someone pick you up because some of the pre meds can make you very sleepy.

Marion, find out what kind of chemo you will have. Some recommendations from my experience:
** MUST request Emend. This is a fabulous anti nausia drug.
** Bring a nice soft blanket from home as the treatment areas are usually cold. They may supply a blanket but I pref having my own fav one. I snuggie is PERFECT, lightweight and warm.
** Pack a lunch, snacks and several bottles of water. It is very important to drink LOTS of water, esp the day before, day off and the following week after treatment. It will help cleanse your system of the drugs.
** Bring a book if you like to read, iPod to listen to music. Some even have wifi for laptops.
**dress comfy and if you have a port, make sure your top allows easy access to the port.

I would feel a bit sleepy most of the day but did ok, by day 2 1/2 I would be in bed for several days. Everybody is different. Some gals on here worked through treatments with little issue.
 
I was like you as well, didn't think I would have to have chemo. UGH. BUT.. you will get through it. Take it one day and one treatment at a time. It is not always easy, but know you have all of us Komen sisters here to guide you and help you along.
Keep me posted on everything.
 
Grace
Grace 

Lumpectomy June 18,2009
4 rounds T/C DONE !
33 rounds of rads DONE !!
1 yr of Herceptin - DONE  !!!
2 yrs Tamoxafen/ taken off due to elevated liver enzymes.
oophorectomy 05/2012

March 27,2015 DX right breast
Lumpectomy April 16th 2015
To start chemo soon

54 years young  :)
Mother of 2 sons in US Army
Wife of wonderful husband
and of course I am now.
KOMAN STRONG  :)


Jean Southward

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Re:My tips for chemo... - Thursday, August 25, 2011 9:11 AM
Marian, you will find having a port is for sure the best thing.  Chemo is tough on the veins and the infusion itself is not painful when they hook you up.  There is a numbing cream you can apply to the port and I had no pain when they put the IV in.  My sister went with me to every treatment.  More for company than anything.  I did the balance of my Herceptin treatments once a week for a year without any company.  Our treatment center is at the local hospital.  This may vary from place to place but I am glad I was able to have it done there.  I was a little uneasy my first treatment but not scared.  It really went well.  Many sleep thru it.  I couldn't.  I took a bag of stuff each time to entertain me.  Books, nail polish, lap top etc.  Snacks and sucking candy.  you actually leave treatment feeling okay.  It is usually a few days later that you don't feel well.  Some variation to this I know but it's not like it hits you all of a sudden.  This is alot to take in but be sure you read about chemo and find out what your chemo drugs are.
Jean S

Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without words and never stops...at all.

Emily Dickinson

IDC Stage IIB Grade 3 BC DX on 2-10-09
HER2+++
ER/PR+ 90% 
2 of 6 Node Positive
Double Mastectomy 2-23-09
Completed Chemo TC 7-10
Herceptin until 3-20-10
Arimidex for 5 years Started 8-09 
clmetzger

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Re:My tips for chemo... - Friday, September 30, 2011 9:55 AM
Dear Marian,
 
My circumstances were very similar to yours - my tumor was only 1.4 cm and the surgeon recommended a lumpectomy with 10 internal high dosage radiation treatments immediately following surgery.  I had the balloon inserted for the radiation and was off on a whirlwind couple of weeks.  My Oncologist, however, did the Oncotype test and found a 21 score and that was high enough that he suggested chemo.  I was floored because I thought I was all finished.  I am now halfway finished with my chemo treatments and I have done just fine.  I have a week that I'm down after each treatment, but I bounce back pretty well.  I am glad that I listened to him because now if it returns I can have the assurance that I did all that I could.  I am taking Taxotere and Cytoban.  I wish you the best.  If I can help you just message me.  It seems that I am just one step ahead of you
Cheryl
njpavagal1952

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Re:My tips for chemo... - Friday, September 30, 2011 7:26 PM
I have to get a CAT scan and Bone scan to make sure I am still in remission since my surgery which was 5 weeks ago. If all is clear, I begin chemotherapy second week in October. Your post is wonderful, thank you for sharing your list, I had stage 4 cancer, and so far, before and after my surgery my body has been free of cancer but that doesn't mean it won't rear its ugly head a few months from now if I don't do the chemo. My story is a long one, but I am a rare case and they just don't know what to do with me so we are attacking the cancer head-on for 6 treatments.  Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you. Vicki Danno
cdicapua

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Re:My tips for chemo... - Saturday, October 01, 2011 7:00 AM
When do you meet the oncologist
marianwolf

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Re:My tips for chemo... - Saturday, October 01, 2011 8:38 AM
Cheryl, thank you so much for your response.  Yes, our cases are very similar.  My radiology md probably never intended to lead me to think, "Ahhh, this will be over in a month" -- but that's what I "heard".  

Two lumpectomies to get the little sucker, NOT a candidate for brachytherapy.  Path reported a 36/24% oncotype which, as you know, indicates a fast growing, aggressive cancer.  So, I start taxotere/cytoxn October 12.

I'm so glad that you've started to contribute here!  This is only site that I know of where the fighters who've had to battle this insidious disease lend so much help with things we commonly experience - physically, emotionally and spiritually.  They do it with kindness and gentleness and forthright truthfulness.

Glad you are here!

Marian 

DX June 20, 2011
IDC, E+P-, HER2-, Ki67 49%
Lumpectomy 7/26/11 & 8/23/11   
Lymph nodes clear!   
BRCA 1-/2-
Stage 1, Grade III 
Oncotype: 36%
Taxotere/Cytoxn 1 2 3 4 12/12/11
33 Rads completed 3/16/12
Start Arimidex 3/17/12    

[link=http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/
rebecca63

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Re:My tips for chemo... - Thursday, December 15, 2011 12:31 PM
Hi everyone,

I am halfway through four rounds of T/C and I just cannot seem to control the burning sensation, redness on my hands - mainly my knuckles.  My face is also red especially in the high cheekbone area and around the eyelids (no sores or blisters).  I have tried, vaseline, baby oil, creams/lotions etc.  I even called the nurse line and all they could suggest was benadryl which knocked me out for four hours and still hurt when i woke up.  

Would love to hear any suggestions.

thanks,
Rebecca
Tricia Keegan

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Re:My tips for chemo... - Thursday, December 15, 2011 1:47 PM
Hi Rebecca,

Face reddness can be from the steroids but usually only lasts a couple of days, I'm not sure but this sounds like an allergic reaction and it may be worthwhile asking your onc about this as your drugs may need to be tweaked a little. 
Sorry I can't help more, maybe try asking your question in a new thread on sound off where more people will see it??
Tricia Keegan...From Ireland Dx July '05 IDC 3/9 nodes pos..triple positive..a/c x 4..Taxol/herceptin x 12
Herceptin 1yr ..rads x35 oophorectomy Aug '06
Currently taking Arimidex /Zometa 1 x yearly
Carepage- survivortricia
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