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Chemotherapy-how to prepare?

valkyrie
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2009

I'm just about healed from a total hysterectomy that removed two cancers-endometrian (?) and ovarian. My doctors think they got all of it, but to play it safe, they both strongly encourage chemotherapy, which I've decided to do (better safe than sorry, right?)
I begin prep for the chemo this coming Tuesday (weather permitting-I was supposed to have it last Tuesday, but then Winter Storm '09 hit.) I'm asking for some advice on what to ask and what to expect from the chemo-my oncologist has already told me that my hair will come out, so I could use some suggestions on wigs and scarves (helpful how-to websites?)and anything else you think I may need to be aware of. Thanks.

deanna14
Posts: 738
Joined: Oct 2008

Sorry to hear you are having to go through this. I have only had one chemo treatment of six. So far, I have been pleasantly surprised. Your doctor should provide you with teaching sheets that will tell what drugs you will be given and what side effects to expect. As well as any symptoms to report to the doctor. I highly recommend Aloxi which is an anti nausea medication that can be given IV as a pre medication before your chemo. The great thing about it is that it will work for about 3 days, then they will give you a prescription anti nausea medication to take at home. I started taking it the second evening after chemo for about 3 or 4 more days. It worked very well for me, I did not have any nausea or vomiting. There were a couple of days that I didn't really feel like eating, nothing sounded good and I felt full really fast. I had a port put in for my chemo treatments, but some people just use a regular IV. I got the port put in because I have terrible veins and chemo tends to scar your veins further.
I had my treatment on the 21st of January, so I have not lost my hair yet, but I figure I might have another week tops before it will be gone. I have heard anywhere from 14-18 days after your first treatment. I purchased a wig from the aesthetic shop as the cancer center that I go to. It's okay, I don't know how much I will wear it, but at least I will have it if I want to. I also heard that the American Cancer Society will provide you with a wig for free. I bought several bandanas and have been give a bunch of different hats and caps. You can go to a website heavenlyhats.com and they will send you a box of hats for free. It's pretty fun to get them, like Christmas. I will probably try to send them a donation when I go back to work.
I hope this helps. I wish you blessings and pray that you will breeze through chemo and remain cancer free.

valkyrie
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2009

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences you've had so far. I know everyone probably says this, but it really does help to hear from someone who's going through the same thing. I'm making a list of questions to ask my oncologist tomorrow (weather permitting) and I'll be adding a few other things now-forewarned is forearmed, as they say. I hope you continue to have such good results with your treatments.

Take care and God bless,

Valkyrie

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

Hi, Valkyrie! First off, big HUG, as you start down the next leg of this scary journey!

If you look at the list of threads under this "Gynecologic Cancers Other than Ovarian" Discussion board, you'll see the one where Deanna and I both post most often: "Uterine Papillary Serous Carcinoma (UPSC)". Of the 10 of us that post there, about half of us are currently undergoing chemo. If your time allows, you are welcome to go into that thread and read all the many many posts we have made over the past 5 months where we all discuss our chemo and side effects, etc. I think you will be reassured to see how we all are getting through this, and how do-able it can be. Will you be getting 6 rounds of Carboplatin/Taxol, 3 weeks apart? That's the regime most of us are on. I agree that it is best to know what's coming up. It's when I get surprised that I find myself over-reacting. But when I have an idea what to expect, I can get mentally prepared for the battle. I have 4 of my 6 chemo rounds in me, with 2 to go, then radiation following that.

Be sure and ask for a printed put copy of your pathology report if you don't have it yet. You want to have that so that you know exactly your diagnosis.
(((((Valkyrie)))))

valkyrie
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2009

I had my check-up and I've got the all clear to start the chemo-next Tuesday will be my first treatment, and looks like I'm getting the same as you and Deanna-6 treatments, 3 weeks apart, Carboplatin/Taxol. I have to admit, I'm a little surprised at myself-at first I was a bit freaked out, but after reading some of these postings and "doing my internet homework," I'm a lot more settled to it. I'm still not looking forward to losing my hair, but I know I can do this. I'm fortunate to have family and friends to back me up, but it still helps to hear from people who know first hand.
I did get a copy of the pathology report (since we didn't know I had cancer until they started the surgery, they took 24 different samples from all around my pelvic area-and yes I felt that when I came out of it-but only the two were cancer.) I actually could understand some of it, and I figure it could come in handy if I should need it for future reference. My oncologist is really good about explaining everything thoroughly and in terms I can understand, so I feel prepared for the next step. I'm told the treatment will take about 4 hours or so, so I guess I'd better take a good book to read.

deanna14
Posts: 738
Joined: Oct 2008

I took a book, my ipod and some sewing with me to my first treatment. I slept almost the whole treatment. I did have my port a cath placed that morning, so I had sedation for that, then all the Benadryl before. Maybe I won't be as sleepy from now on.
You sound like you have a great attitude about all of this. Attitude is everything!
I just started losing my hair this week and had a little cry the first day. Now I just want the rest of it to come out. I worry about it falling out all over everywhere. I have been wearing a stocking cap while I cook dinner, scared my hair will get in the food! That would be horrid.
Take care and God bless.

deanna14
Posts: 738
Joined: Oct 2008

Check out this website, it has some great info and even has before and after chemo... preparing for chemo. It's www.chemocare.com

tbsjewels's picture
tbsjewels
Posts: 7
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi Deanna14 & Valkyrie
I had the last of my 6 rounds of Chemo on Jan. 10, 2008. I was being treated for recurring endometrial cancer. My first diagnosis was in 2002. I too had a port placed the morning of my first round of chemo and slept through the whole thing. Every time after that I would take a magazine or whatever for entertainment but never even looked at them. I couldn't even carry on a conversation with my husband or whoever was with me. I just slept through almost the whole thing, just rousing when they had another pill to take or to drag my IV pole to the bathroom. I was a real ball of fire. After 5 hours of treatment I would sleep in the car on the way home, walk in the house and head right for bed for another couple of hours. My treat. were on Thursday and on Friday I would be going like 60 from the steroids. I never had any nausea, the drugs they gave me worked great for that. I took Emend and a steroid for 3 days. I also had to give myself an injection of Neulasta 24-48 hours after my treatment which I usually did on Fri. evening. For someone who gags at the sight of a needle I can't believe I actually gave myself injections. I did have some preparation having had to give myself Lovelox for 14 days after my surgery. What we can do when we have to. On the hair issue, I would suggest now is the time to shave your head. I had long hair when I was diagnosed but cut it into a short style right before chemo. It started falling out around the 18th day following treatment. After about 5 days of that I couldn't stand it any more and my husband shaved it off for me. I cried a little but felt it was a small price to pay for my life. I wore bandannas and newsboy hats most of the time. I bought a wig and wore it when I went out to dinner, lunch etc. I'm self-employed so didn't have an office work situation to deal with. At night I slept bare-headed. A hat made me too hot. I was always shocked by my appearance in the morning when I would catch a glimpse in the mirror in the bathroom. I now have had hair again for almost a year. It was Feb. 16 when I felt the first little prick of hair. It's kind of wierd how it comes back in. First, for me, my head got covered with tiny bumps, hair follicles I guess. About 2 days of that and there was tiny hair on the top of my head. It took about 3 wks. until the hair was coming in all over. I can't say that I took the chemo too well, no nausea but a lot of other aches, pains. I would start feeling wiped out on Sat. afternoon and get so dizzy I could hardly drag myself out of bed until Tues. It wasn't any fun but I got through it. I've had low CA 125 and NED on my last CT scan which was a year ago so I guess I'm doing well. It's still a scary thing and I just take one day at a time. I hope everything goes well for both of you with your treatments. The first couple are always the scariest but after that you just wait to get through and go on with your life.

God Bless to you both and hang in there. Terry

deanna14
Posts: 738
Joined: Oct 2008

It is always nice to hear from those who have completed treatment and are going on with life. I think I am going to shave my head, I am trying to be sensitive to my families needs as well. I think my husband is a little freaked at the idea of shaving my head. I will have to get someone else to do it.
I do hope that the next 5 treatments go as well as the first treatment did. I actually don't remember sleeping through my treament, but my husband tells me that I did. I just mainly remember getting up and taking the IV pump with me to the bathroom and it would beep every time I did.
Thanks for replying. God Bless you and hang in there with NED!

bunnie1
Posts: 21
Joined: Feb 2009

Hello deanna14 I had chemo last July and August for cervical cancer. I did very well the first treatment. I actually cut my hair short(it was long to my waist) I read it was easier to accept when your hair starts to fall off. My hair fell off after one treatment and you know what I still felt bad because I knew then that I had cancer. I always covered my head when I went in for my treatments I hated not having hair. Now my hair is growing back with a curl and I really like it. I hope you do well with chemo, I was sick and vomiting and the smell of food just turned my stomach. Everything had a weird taste to it. I also had pain on my legs. The thing about cancer treatments is that you don't know what to expect because we are all different and what one experiences, the other might not. One thing you can do is stay positive throughout your treatments and you will be okay. I'm doing much better I completed my chemo in Sept.08. Take care..

israelifan
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2009

hello to all or you! my name is Anita and I was just diagnosed with breast cancer. At first all seemed to go pretty routine but now as I get my reports back the concern is mounting every time I talk to my doctor! My surgery is scheduled for Friday (Feb 27th) and I am just terrified. Any advice you could give me would be so appreciated! Good Wishes for Good Health to all!
Anita

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