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First Chemo Treatment Tomorrow

luckyandblest
Posts: 11
Joined: Feb 2010

My wife is having her first Chemo treatment tomorrow. We don't know yet what they are giving her but as I review the postings and review the study article referenced in another posting it appears all, or most, UPSC patients are getting basically the same group of drugs. Her oncologist told us he was going to treat her cancer very aggressively. The oncology nurse told us to expect at least 5 hours and that she would begin to lose her hair by the second day after her first treatment. We are a little nervous about what to expect. I wish I could be in the infusion area with her but they said that was not allowed. Looks like I will be in the waiting room reading a book, etc. It looks like it will be a long day. I will post something after the treatment.

TiggersDoBounce's picture
TiggersDoBounce
Posts: 413
Joined: Oct 2009

I am not sure where you are located, but I am surprised they will not let you accompany your wife in the infusion area. I would ask again :)

The five hours is pretty routine for the treatment, so tell her to bring a book, magazine or some music even.

Hair loss 2 days after is pretty soon, but it is likely it will come out a week to 10 days after the chemo.

Please let us know how she is doing :)

Hang in..

Laurie

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

My husband was in a chair next to me for all of my chemo treatments. I don't know why you can't be there with your wife. I am sure it would make her feel much better if you were there. I know how anxious both me and my husband were before the first chemo.

I did not begin to lose my hair until day 12 after my first chemo treatment. It took me 8 - 9 hours to get my two chemo drugs Taxol/Carboplatine each time. I would keep a list of all the drugs they are giving your wife. They give certain drugs for pre-chemo and sometimes something in between the two drugs. That way you will know if she has any problems, different drugs could be used for pre-chemo.

Good luck to both of you. In peace and caring.

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

Like RO10 said, why not ask again. Where I received my chemo there was a channel on the TV that had programming for relaxation tapes. It was soothing and made the time pass quickly. You might want to try and get an audio tape for your wife with music, or some kind of positive theme. Best of luck to you and your wife. Thinking of you and remembering you in prayer.

kkstef's picture
kkstef
Posts: 706
Joined: May 2008

Am hoping that today goes well for both of you. I agree with the postings from the other gals here. I can't imagine them not allowing you in to sit with your wife during her chemo. It is a great time to hear what your wife is being told and to ask questions, in addition to being there to support her! Most of my treatments were 4-5 hours. The first 2 they ran slower so they were more like 6. Hair loss by day 2 is very fast. Mine was a couple of weeks.

Thinking of you throughout your journey....

Karen

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

Not heard this with any of my friends, so hoping it was a communication error. It's a long day, so have her with lots of fun things to read and go out and bring a nice lunch back. Anything to help the time pass faster.

I brought one of my friends with me to each session. It was great as we talked and caught up on our lives and had a nice lunch. Before you know it, the session has ended.

Come back and let us know how you did...

Jan

luckyandblest
Posts: 11
Joined: Feb 2010

Thanks to everyone that posted. I guess the rule about not allowing family members in the infusion area is a local ruling. There were several of us outcast husbands in the waiting room that were not allowed past the doors out of the waiting room. It is a completely new facility that just opened March 1. Cathy tells me that there were about eight women in a semi-circle receiving chemo. They were basically having a gab party, comparing notes, and sharing their stories. Cathy said it was a lot like a joint mental therapy session. They could get up and drag their chemo bags when they had to go to the bathroom, get snacks and or colas. Maybe the thought process is that husbands would either impede the fellowship or that we would eat up all the snacks. In any event, it is their rule so we will just have to deal with it. I was able to read about half of a Michael Crichton book and the entire morning news paper. Next treatment I'll finish this book and read that days paper.

We live in Birmingham, Alabama and the largest hospital in the state is The University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) Hospital. They have the largest and most advance oncology practice in the state and the only gynecologic oncology practice in Alabama. Fortunately for us it is only about a 15 minute drive from our house. Cathy and I are very happy with the doctor she has and actually the entire group in the practice. My best friend in the world, my old college room mate, is a recently retired OB/Gyn from Montgomery, Alabama, about 100 miles south of us. He has been acting as my second opinion ever since we received the pathology results from the biopsy and PAP smear. The best information I received from him was in the very beginning when he told me that he referred all his patients with cancer to the group we were seeing. So far, everything that she has had done, according to him, has been right by the book.

According to the documentation they gave us after her treatment Wednesday, she is receiving Taxol (Paclitaxel) and Carboplatin (Paraplatin). They start her out with benadryl through her IV and then some steriods before the chemicals are given. The treatment took almost exactly 5 hours. Wednesday her IV was in a vein in her hand. The nurse said they would evaluate everything as the treatments progress and decide if they were going to put in a port or continue to use an IV in a vein. We go back in two weeks for blood work and an appointment with the oncologist.

Thanks again for all of your posings and your advice and help. I pass all comments along to Cathy.

Marvin

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

I still cannot believe you could not be in the infusion center. I do not think that is right for either you or your wife. Did anyone communicate with you how your wife was doing during the treatment? I hope so. I would sure question their decision to not let family or friends sit in the infusion center.

I would strongly recommend Cathy get a port. I had what I thought were excellent veins before I started chemo. I had the sandwich treatment so I had a break with radiation treatments between chemo number 3 and chemo number 4. I mistakenly thought my veins would recover for the fourth treatment. I was totally wrong. The chemo really does damage to the veins. I got a port inserted before my 4th chemo. And I am so glad I did. When you need multiple sticks for the chemo and the lab it is not fun.

Hope Cathy does well these next days, too, with minimal side effects. You both remain in my prayers. In peace and caring.

TiggersDoBounce's picture
TiggersDoBounce
Posts: 413
Joined: Oct 2009

Marvin,

Thanks for checking in with us :)

Glad that the process went so smoothly for her. I am happy she met other women in the infusion room, however I agree with Ro that not all sessions may she end up with the same type of group...hopefully she will.

I am glad you have your best friend supporting you and you are doubly blessed he is a physician with good advice and direction for you.

Hang in and let her know we are thinking of her.

Laurie

luckyandblest
Posts: 11
Joined: Feb 2010

Thanks for all the good words and thoughts. This is day three after the chemo and the steroids have worn off. Last night Cathy had severe joint pain in all her joints and a little nausea. She could deal with the nausea but the joint pain was harder to deal with. She wound up taking some acetiminifin (sp) and it helped her to sleep. Her biggest problem now is constipation. We made a mistake by not starting with a stool softener sooner. Next treatment we will begin it immediately. She is suffering a little with what I call the post steroid slump.

We are both pretty good at taking care of each other. I had to take care of her 22 years ago when she had breast cancer. She had to take care of me 15 years ago when I had shoulder surgery due to an old football injury. She had to care for me again 12 years ago when I had quadruple bypass surgery, and again five years ago when I had major back surgery due to arthritis (brought on by too many years being an offensive lineman). So, I guess it is my turn to be caregiver. It was a lot easier to deal with the pain and discomfort when it was me than it is now when it is her.

I was also disapointed that no updates were given to me on how things were going during the treatment. When the nurse brought her out to the waiting room and I saw that she was OK, standing there and drinking a diet coke, I was thrilled. Next time I will make a point of asking the nurse for perodic updates. They did take my cell phone number in case they needed to get in touch with me and I was not in the waiting room. The only thing I am thinking now is that after all this is completed and if we are dancing with NED, it will all be worth it.

Marvin

TiggersDoBounce's picture
TiggersDoBounce
Posts: 413
Joined: Oct 2009

Sorry Cathy has that old constipation thing going on....it can be brutal.

Make sure she tells the doctor all of her symptoms post chemo...this time around I had
different meds (Carbo/Taxol) and my experience was completely different. I had terrible
neoropathic/joint pain for 3 days...not fun.

It is sure a learning experience....

Laurie

luckyandblest
Posts: 11
Joined: Feb 2010

Cathy had Carbo/Taxel this time. Day three and day four following the treatment she is having severe joint and muscle pain. It seems to be worse at night and she even gets redness and swelling of her wrist, elbow, and nuckles almost like severe arthritis. Tylenol gives her enough relief so she can sleep. Almost no nausea though. Last night was a "red letter day," she had some relief from her constipation. There was almost as much excitement as the first time any of our children had their first successful potty event. I do think things are getting better.

Thanks for the advice. We will mention everything to the oncologist.

Marvin

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

Marvin,

I too had Carbo/Taxol drugs last year for uterine cancer and can't say my side affects were that bad. No constipation, just the upset tummie. The first chemo I was told to take 3 different meds for nausea no matter how I felt. Did that again the second chemo, but on 3rd chemo I did my own thing. Tried to not take any of the nausea meds but take IF NEED BE. I only took 1 the 2nd day after and that was it. I was very tired 2nd thru 5th day and did learn to nap a few hours in mid of day. Hair was gone on 14th day and I was pro-active and while it was falling out, went to hair stylist and had her cut very short...then was fitted for wig. Just throw that part in as with these drugs you do loose the hair.

Sounds like you both need each other to keep the other alive!! In same case with my hubbie and I, as all we can do is laugh even during any pain.

Take care of your wife and plse don't hesitate to ask the gals in chemo area any questions you have. I found my doc has a wonderful staff and just asking them questions, helped me feel so much more at ease. So...ask away!!!!

Constipation issues -- drink fluids too. I wasn't constipated but was told to keep hydrated with drinks such as Gatorade...helps!

Best to you...
Jan

luckyandblest
Posts: 11
Joined: Feb 2010

Thanks for the advice and the good words. The peculiar thing about Cathy's joint pain is that the joints she has the worst pain in become swolen and even have knots on them. The first night it was her elbow, the second night it was her wrist and hands, and last night it was her ancles and feet. It is much worse at night or late afternoon than any other time during the day. We have been treating it with benadryl during the day and tylenol at bedtime. That seems to allow her to get a good night's sleep. We are hoping that today she is through the worst part. We will see. Three days in a row without constipation issues and no nausea. You learn to be thankful for any thing positive.

Marvin

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

Marvin,

Might I suggest, ask her doc for Rx if she's having joint pain and constipation. Every time I told my doc about a bit of a tummie upset from say radiation, they were ready to Rx a drug. I never took them up as I would rather try with my own powers -- vitamins, walking, food, etc. than to dip into the pharmaceutical ring.

One area I did step into was med for pain after my hysterectomy....mainly so I could sleep. I'm worthless if don't have a good nites sleep as most of us are too.

Hang in there and ask away with questions...we love to help!
Jan

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