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Gemzar is my next chemo.

jane65
Posts: 279
Joined: May 2009

Hi Ladies,
Monday I'll be starting Gemzar, it will be my third chemo drug after carbo/taxol then Topotecan.

I will be getting it alone, we decided to hold Avastin for future use, because the CT scan showed a few pelvic cancerous lymph nodes, but thankfully no spread to other organs at this time.
Due to lymphedema, my right leg from toes to pelvis is very swollen, that's where the cancerous lymph nodes are. My oncologist expects that after 2-3 treatments, the swelling will start to go down.

My question to you is if you've had Gemzar alone, what were your side affects. I know it does a number on blood values, and I'll need shots for the white, red and platelet cells.

I also understand there can be flu like symptoms, have you had any other side affects, like constipation or diarrhea?

Of course I'll ask my oncologist and the nurses on Monday, but I was hoping for input from you ladies.

Thanks,
Happy and Healthy New Year.
Jane

BonnieR's picture
BonnieR
Posts: 1549
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi Jane, Sounds like good and bad news combined for you. I have had gemzar by itself and then this past year with another drug. For me the worse thing were the fevers I ran and being short of breath all the time. It did knock my red and white counts down so I would have to delay the treatments. It wasn't my favorite drug and neither time did it do much for me. I know others well have more to share and hopefully who wonderful it worked for them, we all are different.

I am surprised your Doc decided on not doing the avastin at the same time, women have had good results with this drug. In fact I am one of the women that are still here because the avastin killed some of my tumors back in 2006.

Anyway good luck with the gemzar, take tylenol to control the fevers and flu like symptoms and should do okay.

Hugs ♥ Prayers Bonnie

jane65
Posts: 279
Joined: May 2009

Hi Bonnie,
Thanks for your reply, the reason we decided to hold off Avastin this time, is that it appears the cancer is currently in a few lymph nodes in the pelvic area (again) and we're hoping the Gemzar will knock them down and shrink them, and allow the lymph system to drain my swollen leg.

There was no cancer seen in any of my organs thankfully, and he said lets hold the Avastin for future use.

He also said in 6-12 months it should be easier to get approval because new positive information regarding Avastin and OVCA keeps coming out.
My husband's union has already denied my use of Avastin at this time.

Have a Happy and Healthy New Year to you, and your family Bonnie.
Jane

arbor3's picture
arbor3
Posts: 105
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi Jane

I am on Gemzar, I go tuesday for my third round. Mine is two weeks on and one week off. After this last treatment I have had diarrhea and cramping. Also flu like systems a couple days, nothing bad. I went and had my blood taken today and have not gotten the results yet, I get them through the internet on my e-mail. I see my Ong on Monday and will see where my CA125 is.

HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!Dinora

jane65
Posts: 279
Joined: May 2009

Hi Dinora,
Thanks for your post, I had my first Gemzar treatment today. I understand the side effects come later, so I'll let you know how it goes with me. I think diarrhea is a worse thing to deal with, than having hair issues.

Good luck with your blood tests, that's so cool that you can get the results in an email, I hope the Gemzar is bringing your CA down, that would be a good sign.

My CA went from 132 last month, to 209.3 this month, it's really time we got to attacking this monster again.

Feel good and have a Happy and Healthy New Year.
Jane

arbor3's picture
arbor3
Posts: 105
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi Jane

My blood counts were good CBC but my liver panel was up. Saw my onc today and my CA125 went from 41 to 72. Because of some symptoms I have been have she sent me for another CA125 and urine test. Urine test came back and I have a urineary tract infection. If my CA125 is still high I will have to have a CT scan. I have read that if you have an infection that your CA125 can be higher. Good luck on your Gemzar, I go tomorrow for my third round.

Dinora

kayandok
Posts: 1223
Joined: Jun 2008

Hi Jane, I had gemzar/cisplatin together. They started me on gemzar first to see if I had any kind of reaction since I had already had cis before. I had a low grade fever on day two or so, and got severe constipation immediately and neither chemo's brought my white/red cells down much. I had gemzar again on day 8 after the gem/cis and figured out that with the gemzar, I had to take a handful of laxatives just to keep things "normal". You will have to listen to your body and after the first cycle will know. Like Bonnie says, we are all so different. THe gem/cis was good for me and brought the CA to 18 so I could take a few months off chemo.

Wishing you the best with this gemzar and hoping it brings down those numbers for you!

Kathleen:)

jane65
Posts: 279
Joined: May 2009

Hi Kathleen,
I'm so happy that the chemo worked for you, I'm sure it was worth any side effects you had to deal with.

I had carbo/taxol and then when I relapsed in 4 months, Topotecan. With both chemo treatments I had constipation.
I found Miralax, Colace, prune juice and prunes my magic bullet.

As you can see by my reply to Bonnie, we decided to do Gemzar alone. I guess he doesn't want to overload me and reminded me that all chemo drugs are toxic to the body.
So far my cancer has responded well to chemos in the past.

I appreciate your good wishes, and I hope you and your family have a Healthy and Happy New Year.
Jane

saundra's picture
saundra
Posts: 1390
Joined: Mar 2007

I will be waiting to hear how you did with this new one. I will be getting a new one soon, maybe even on Thur. Looks like Taxol, and carboplatin have run their course for now on me. I hope they schedule another CT scan in January so that we can see what is happening. My CA125 went from 53 to 59 last month. Have another blood draw today to check again. I think that I will get doxil, but am not for sure.
Since I am on medicare, no mention of Avastin has ever been said in my presence. If you do a search of this site on Gemzar you can read what others have posted in the past. I think that is at the top of the page of the discussion group. Saundra

jane65
Posts: 279
Joined: May 2009

Hi Saundra,
I'm also on Medicare, my husband's union refused to approve Avastin, but my oncologist said that there's paperwork for us to fill out, if we're under the $100,000.00 earned last year. Ha! Yes we qualify!

They then submit the paperwork to Genentech, the manufacturer and they can approve you're receiving it. I understand there's very little finances involved. Perhaps you could look into that.

He also said I could receive it at the hospital, without any problem. That would upset me, because I've come to consider his office and staff a comfortable setting over the past 3 years.

I had my first Gemzar treatment today, my CA nearly doubled in one month, 209.3 now, so it's really time for treatment.

I have checked Gemzar on a few sites, thanks for the suggestion.
Take care, feel good.
Jane

saundra's picture
saundra
Posts: 1390
Joined: Mar 2007

I'm glad to know that about the drug company. I think that BonnieR has gotten some chemos this way too.
Yes, we qualify also.

You take care and do well on the Gemzar.
Saundra

LPack's picture
LPack
Posts: 658
Joined: Oct 2008

Jane,

I am on Gemzar/Cisplatin and have had numerous symptoms, but don't know from which chemo! I have them both when I have my treatments. My counts have been very low and so out of 9 treatments so far have had only 2 on schedule.

I have just as many side effects from the shots as the chemo, even so, it is working for me.

Specifically, I have been constipated, had diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, flu like symptoms, bone and muscle pain (lots), swelling of hands and ankles (up to the knees), flushed face, red skin, slight fever, ............. and tired.

With the chemo and then Neulasta and Neumega shots the next day and then Neumega shots for the next two weeks, I really don't know what side effects are from what!!! ☺ Glad God made my body strong and that I have been in shape for most my life. Don't feel like I am now, though! LOL!

But all in all, I can cook, shop, watch my grandkids, go see my kids and grandkids, clean, laugh, go to church, volunteer, have fun, laugh, smile, live and enjoy life each and every day.

I AM ALIVE! And happy to still be here. He is not ready for me yet!!

Keep us posted.

Living for Eternity,
Libby

Andrea_Wash_DC
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2010

Hello,
OK, my question is about Topotecan. I finished Carbo/Taxol back in Feb.2009 and was doing fine. Scheduled CT Scan demonstrated reoccurance. Had second surgery to remove tumor, pathology report showed platinum resistence, so Topotecan has been suggested. What was your experience with this drug.

I was able to continue to work through previous chemo treatments, hoping for the same this time. Can you share any side effects that I should be aware of?

Thanks
Andrea

LPack's picture
LPack
Posts: 658
Joined: Oct 2008

Andrea,

You may get a better response if you start a new topic with Topotecan. Then those who have had that chemo will see the topic.

Thanks,
Libby

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