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Does it matter who the chemo doctor is?

A1pena's picture
A1pena
Posts: 93
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi There,

I hope all is well! I'm here with my mom at the UCSF Medical Center. She had her "take it all out-ectomy" on Monday and is doing really well! We are sitting here discussing with the doctor where we would like her to receive her chemo. Here is the problem- we are from a small town about 2 hours from San Francisco and do not have a whole lot of faith in our local doctors. The reason for our lack of faith is that one doc took a look at her CT scan and totally downplayed her cancer (UPSC)- we dont want that to happen again. The awesome surgeon/doctors here in SF are suggesting we take her somewhere local and that they will be in constant communication but we just arent sure. So- do you think it is worth it to drive my mom 2 hours to get her chemo or do you think that we should just stay local since it would be the same "cocktail" either way?

Appreciate your input!!

Kind Regards,

Amanda

Lisa 00
Posts: 108
Joined: Jul 2009

The chemo infusion can take as long as 5-6 hours. I would do the chemo locally if at all possible. And, you're right, the chemo is a pretty standard cocktail that anyone can mix up and administer. It is the doc that you have for the follow up visits after all of the chemo and radiation are done that is most important if you ask me. I think it's imperative that you have faith in the doc that monitors you after all of the treatments are over.

I didn't like my hematology/oncologist who administered the chemo. But I didn't have to deal with her much so it wasn't too bad. When you go for the infusions, you spend way more time with the nurses than the doc anyway. I could go on, but the administering of the chemo is pretty "cookbook" stuff.

A1pena's picture
A1pena
Posts: 93
Joined: Jan 2010

Thank you for your input and quick response! This is all new to us- so its good to know other's experiences. We have a ton of confidence in the doctor here in SF and will continue to go to her- at least we have that going for us.

Thanks again!

Amanda

Lisa 00
Posts: 108
Joined: Jul 2009

I just happened by right now. You may get more input in a little while from others.

For the infusions, some general info...
I got 4 small bags of pre-meds which took about an hour to be infused. Then I got the big taxol bag which took 3 hours, then the carboplatin bag took 1 hour.
The pre-meds will make your mom sleepy. Take advantage of that and let her sleep as much as possible through the infusion since it takes sssoooooo long. Do NOT drink caffeine beforehand as she won't be able to sleep.
Good socks were nice to have to keep my feet warm without having to wear shoes. Oh, and bring a lunch.
Other than that, a good book might help and dress comfortably. If you're lucky, your mother's infusion center will have wifi. Mine did not so I couldn't surf the net during chemo.

Gloria C
Posts: 23
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi!
My chemo sessions lasted 6 to 8 hours. There were videos or DVD's to watch, but no compputer access. Also, brought stuff to eat & drink, since that was not available. A blanket was needed as well. As for the 'cocktail', I would think that if it is monitored closely by the Dr's in SF, you should be fine. Inform the Dr's in SF about ALL side effects, in case the 'cocktail' needs to be adjusted along the way as mine did. Personally, I would choose to be close to home, because, by the time it was finished, I felt awful & the person who took me was exhausted as well.

Wishing your mom the very best!

Ro10's picture
Ro10
Posts: 1356
Joined: Jan 2009

My chemo days were 8 -9 hours long as they had to infuse the chemo slower for me than most others could receive it. The pre chemo drugs take about an hour, too. The recommended drugs and doasges could be prescribed by the SF doctor and then administered closer to home.

Is your Mom getting a port inserted for the chemo. I would highly recommend one. I did not get one at first and saw what the chemo did to my veins. I ended up getting a port inserted after my fourth chemo. A power port or smart port can be used for CAT scans as well as blood draws and chemo infusions. My first onocologist did not recommend a port, but the second one highly recommended the port.

Your mother is probably still low on her blood count since she lost so much blood in surgery. So her veins are probably not good to begin with. The port can be inserted as an out-patient.

So many decisions to make. Good luck with them. In peace and caring.

A1pena's picture
A1pena
Posts: 93
Joined: Jan 2010

Thank you for your responses! It really helps to hear the human element of treatment. Learning things like bringing socks and a blanket are good to know. We are still going back and forth with where to take her. There is a nice place near us that is clean and new that we checked out and liked. But there is a medical oncologist in SF that comes highly recommended and has a more integrative approach- which we also like. We meet with him next week to discuss options and will go from there. Its ultimately up to my mom, just want to be sure she knows she has options.

Thanks again,

Amanda

Lisa 00
Posts: 108
Joined: Jul 2009

My chemo office had blankets for patients to use so I chose not to bring one. You might ask the office before you go for the infusion.

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