My tips for chemo...

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Deb Allen
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Friday, March 23, 2012 11:33 PM
I would just like to add a couple of updates to this original post made back in 2009...to this day, many of what I suggested holds true. My beloved father-in-law, at age 82, was recently diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer, and the last time he had been sick was back in the late 70's or early 80's...he had no warning signs, it was like "BAM" there it was. Since I was the most recent family member to have undergone chemo, after his successful surgery, which removed all the tumor (still encased in the colon, thankfully) he was told to have chemo. He and I have had many, many long discussions about chemo, the good, bad, and ugly. I told him to hydrate, to flush the poison, to take notes, to take people, to ask questions, to report any changes in skin, specifically mucosal membranes, and to stay on top of things...we talked each week after his chemo treatments, and I'm thankful to report he has successfully completed his chemo. While it was not without side effects, and most of them very unpleasant, if you follow the basics, and keep on top of what is happening to your body, write it down, ask questions, and remember, this is YOU, and it is happening to YOU, then even at age 82, you can survive chemo. Happy to say he's slowly getting the poison out of his system, has no markers in his blood, and is getting stronger, enough to the point he's back out in his wood-working shop working on building custom baby-doll beds, rocking horses, and even harley motorcycle type rockers...he's quite the hero...it can be done, everyone hang in and hold on, to someone, anyone who can help guide you through. There is a light, no matter the age/stage/type...you can beat this.
Deb/aka Mimi
Dx '03, ER/PR+, Her2+, Grade II, Stage III
SNB, 18 wks chemo  36 rads; 
Rec in 07,
Bi-mast/DIEP 08/29/07; MRSA in abd incision w/resulting hernia, difficult healing
Still alive and kicking and ornery as ever...butterfly kisses to all





Tricia Keegan
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Saturday, March 24, 2012 11:48 AM
I'm glad to read your FIL is making such a good recovery Deb and he sounds an amazing man for his age!
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

dalton22
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Friday, May 25, 2012 2:30 AM
 
This tips  will  helpful for  the people. In case you are starting chemotherapy, you need to stay as healthy and cozy as possible during therapy. Chemotherapy and radiation therapies placed their own burdens for the nutrition system as well as the cancer itself. Chemo can do lots on your tastebuds, ensuring foods and drinks taste metallic or distressing. Water and meat will be the two most popular items which become horrible during chemo, If you're experiencing diarrhea, avoid greasy and foods that are fried, caffeine, sugary drinks and fruit drinks, salad greens, raw produce, and sugar alcohols.

Deb Allen
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Saturday, June 02, 2012 12:47 AM
If anyone is interested, I've been contacted by an editor of Guide to Chemotherapy, and am included in an article...there were 4 of us quote4d, and out of the 20 tips, I have 9. There is also a current photo of me (with Pebbles of course) in the magazine and if you'll email me at dads1997@embarqmail.com I'll be more than happy to send you the PDF file of the mag which includes the article. This is a free publication, scattered throughout oncologists/surgeons offices nationwide, and I thought it only fitting that I provide those who are interested the complete mag, since many of my "tips for surviving chemo" were used, and this very Komen board is how the editor tracked me down. Needless to say I wasn't happy bout my pic, but whoever is?? LOL, just kidding, I say as long as we can look in the mirror and see light in the eyes of our soul looking back at us, we're doing okay. Hugs and love and butterfly kisses, Deb/akaMimi
Deb/aka Mimi
Dx '03, ER/PR+, Her2+, Grade II, Stage III
SNB, 18 wks chemo  36 rads; 
Rec in 07,
Bi-mast/DIEP 08/29/07; MRSA in abd incision w/resulting hernia, difficult healing
Still alive and kicking and ornery as ever...butterfly kisses to all





Rosemary54
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Monday, October 01, 2012 3:12 PM
Deb,

Thank you for taking the time to share these tips. I start my chemo on Friday and I am scared! 
I don't know what I would do without all of my sister friends!
Stage 1, grade 2-8/30/12
Lumpectomy clear margins-1.2 cm
ER-/PR weakly pos/HER2-
nodes neg
BRAC 2 +


Tricia Keegan
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Monday, October 01, 2012 3:57 PM
Good luck Rosemary and please post any questions you may have as we're all here to help you through this!
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

ClarieSue
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Wednesday, October 03, 2012 9:04 PM
Hello, I'm brand new to the boards (and my survival story).  I had my first DD T/C chemo of 4 rounds on 9/25 w/ Neulasta next day (does anyone else thing that sounds like the name for a margarine?) and think I did pretty well.  No nausea thanks to meds, mostly fatigue & bone pain which has gotten better.  However last couple of days I have developed a very uncomfortable case of sore gums & mouth which also is very irritating "down there" - burning and itching.  Went to GP doc and had tests for yeast etc. infections, all clean.  I am attributing to mucositis.  Have all of the Dr. recommendations for the mouth pain, but any suggestions on vaginal issues would be appreciated.  Thank you, Clare

Clare from Colorado age 52
DX: 7/30/12, BRCA1+, TN IDC, 1.5cm, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, Stage 1a
BM 8/28/12 w/ expanders
T/C 4 DD 9/12 to 11/12 in progress
Plan for perm implants & Oophorectomy 12/12



Tricia Keegan
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Thursday, October 04, 2012 5:04 AM
Clare I'm sorry but I didn't have this myself so really don't know what to suggest except to ask your chemo nurse as I;m sure others will have had it so they'll suggest a treatment. Good luck!
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

gibsonride1
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Saturday, October 27, 2012 12:53 AM
Hello, Thanks for the awesome post and very helpful tips!!

Wintersmom
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Sunday, December 09, 2012 10:24 AM
Thanks for all of the tips. I start Chemo on Thursday and would be much more afraid if I did not have all of the information I have now. Thanks everyone !

Her Dotness
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Sunday, December 09, 2012 1:12 PM
ClarieSue

Went to GP doc and had tests for yeast etc. infections, all clean.  I am attributing to mucositis.  Have all of the Dr. recommendations for the mouth pain, but any suggestions on vaginal issues would be appreciated.  Thank you, Clare

Clare, I'd suggest talking to your meds oncologist and possibly a gynecologist about this. This might be vaginal dryness aggravated (and aggravating you!) due to the chemo. GP's, terrific though they may be, oftentimes don't have the background to assess such issues for those of us dealing with the annoyances of chemo. Severe burning and itching were my primary symptoms of
"Sahara-there," as I jokingly referred to it. It was no joke, though, that's for sure!
 
I had terrible problems with skin and vaginal dryness during chemo. Already knew I had post-menopausal dryness and found that chemo made it even worse. I ended up using Replens every other day and sometimes daily. Shooting up KY jelly helped too.
 
Even once I'd finished treatment, I still had problems with skin, hair and "there" being abnormally dry. My meds onc said it can take several months for your body to adjust. And sure enough, I found that it took around six months after I finished rads for all of the above to get back to normal for me.
 
So, please consider getting some other doctors involved in helping you deal with this.
 
Wishing you relief, believe me!
Dot
 
 
dx 11/29/10 DCIS/IDC
1/5/11 lumpectomy, SLND 2+, ALND - 
T1c, clean margins!
er +/pr + (My little nasty was an estrogen drunk, said my med onc.) HER2 -
Chemo: TC Done 4/30/11 
Rads:  Done 6/30/11 
Arimidex 7/11-? 

clapton12
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 4:10 AM
Well, after reading all the tips above i must say that this post contains helpful details regarding this topic. I would love to share this information with my friends as well.

Wintersmom
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Friday, December 14, 2012 1:56 AM
Ok silly question. O started Chemo yesterday. No nausea yet. Should I take the nausea meds to krrp it that way, or wait until I feel sick. I know it can take a couple of days

Tricia Keegan
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Friday, December 14, 2012 4:51 AM
Wintersmom its far easier to prevent the nausea than stop it once it begins, do continue to take them even if you feel you don't need them as this is the way they work, oh and no such thing as a silly question here!!:)
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

Her Dotness
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Friday, December 14, 2012 1:58 PM
Yes, absolutely take them as directed whether you feel the need or not. My onc emphasized that doing that would significantly lessen any nausea that might arise. 

I didn't feel nauseous at all until after my second and later infusions. Not to be an alarmist, but that's something that may come at you in another month or so. Even then, I had such a good variety of backup nausea drugs that I never felt it more than slightly. 

What was more difficult for me was the stage at about that same point of not wanting to eat anything particularly. And that was most unusual for me, because I'm a definite foodie. 
dx 11/29/10 DCIS/IDC
1/5/11 lumpectomy, SLND 2+, ALND - 
T1c, clean margins!
er +/pr + (My little nasty was an estrogen drunk, said my med onc.) HER2 -
Chemo: TC Done 4/30/11 
Rads:  Done 6/30/11 
Arimidex 7/11-? 

Wintersmom
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Monday, December 17, 2012 8:22 AM
Thanks ladies. I have been taking the nausea medicine and it has helped. Not too bad so far. So I can expect it to get worse than this the 2nd time ? We had family Christmas yesterday and I actually ate pretty normal, before that I was only eating toast and soup. Feeling much better after a good meal. Thanks for all of the advice

Her Dotness
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Monday, December 17, 2012 10:01 AM
Wintersmom


Thanks ladies. I have been taking the nausea medicine and it has helped. Not too bad so far. So I can expect it to get worse than this the 2nd time ? We had family Christmas yesterday and I actually ate pretty normal, before that I was only eating toast and soup. Feeling much better after a good meal. Thanks for all of the advice

 
If your experience resembles mine, and it very well may not to any extent, you'll have some days when you can eat pretty normally and then some when the whole idea of having to eat is offputting. Then, there's also the distressing times of not being able to stand anything but certain foods; my "brown-white-only" foods days which were days 3-5 after each infusion. That was really weird, but honestly, I only wanted foods that were either white or brown. Fortunately, those colors include chocolate even though I didn't often feel like eating that during w/b days.
 
But yeah, you will likely find that not only do your symptoms gradually get more intense but other un-fun ones will crop up after you've had several infusions. It wasn't until well after my 3rd one that I understood what the metallic taste in the mouth was like. Didn't have that at all before then. Others said they were bothered by intense smells in the house like "new car" that weren't actually there. That didn't ever happen to me. 
 
Some have sailed right through chemo with few or none whereas others have a much tougher time than I did or you've had thus far. Difficult to tell, but I found reading the chemo threads to see what others experienced helped me be aware what might happen to me at some point...and several things people mentioned did later on.

dx 11/29/10 DCIS/IDC
1/5/11 lumpectomy, SLND 2+, ALND - 
T1c, clean margins!
er +/pr + (My little nasty was an estrogen drunk, said my med onc.) HER2 -
Chemo: TC Done 4/30/11 
Rads:  Done 6/30/11 
Arimidex 7/11-? 

Maureen1
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Wednesday, December 26, 2012 12:59 PM
All the tips have been so helpful...I am at chemo now, finishing my last cycle of Taxol YAAY:) I started the dose dense program on September 19, 2012 with A/C every two weeks followed by Taxol every two weeks. Nausea was so much worse on the A/C but didn't lose all my hair til after the second cycle of Taxol. Now I'm losing the rest and my eyelashes and eyebrows. Guess there is an upside, I 'm not spending money on hair cuts/colors, mascara or razors since the hair on my legs is gone too! My nails began turning black on the A/C but Taxol has "darkened" them a little. 

As for tips...I use a frozen water bottle to grip during Taxol to try to keep the med out of my fingers and nails. I had developed some numbness and tingling in my finger tips that made using them tough and soreness on the bottom of my feet but the oncologist suggested taking a Vit B complex three times a day and it seems to have reversed all the pain in my feet and most of numbness. The most uncomfortable overall issue is the loss of taste and smell that started with the first cycle of A/C so I need a taster tester to cook. And the fact that some of my usual foods taste and smell awful so I can't eat them - chicken for example smells rotten to me all the time and I used to LOVE chicken but now I eat beef and ham. Also can't eat raw veggies or salad - which I love but they cause my abdomen to bloat and become painful because I can't digest the fiber. I had terrible constipation but oncologist suggested Miralax and I've no problems all if I take it every day. Can't drink anything but water and occasional unsweetened tea - everything else is like "battery acid" going down. so I miss my evening glass of wine and my diet coke with lime. But the candy, Biotene gum and mouthwash really help. 

I'm not doing radiation so I am going to surgery for a double mastectomy with reconstruction when chemo works it's way out of my body - probably late February. And I will do an AI long term. Dose dense is tough on the body so I definitely needed the Neulasta shots but I have been able to keep working thru this - I usually take 1 - 2 days a week off and work from home on those days if possible. Good luck to all who are just starting or still finishing chemo -it was so scary to start and then seemed like it would go on forever but 3 1/2 months went by faster then I thought it would...best wishes, Maureen 


shan72
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Saturday, January 12, 2013 2:03 PM
Huge thank you for all the tips. I'll begin my first of four rounds of A/C on the 25th. That will be followed by Taxol and Herceptin. Later, I'll have radiation and take Tamoxofin. Trying to get myself prepared. You sweet ladies were a sanity saver before my mastectomy. I know that I can do this!!

Tricia Keegan
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Re:My tips for chemo... - Saturday, January 12, 2013 6:05 PM
Shan for me the a/c was tougher than the Taxol and Herceptin but doable, just be selfish and listen to your body and rest as you need to!!! Good luck and remember to take the anti nausea meds too as its easier to prevent than stop once it starts, good luck!
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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