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Question Regarding Chemo w/ Pump

BonnyKay's picture
Posts: 8
Joined: Sep 2010

Hi there, everyone ...

First, let me apologize for all these questions. During this journey, I've found that if I know what to expect, I can handle things a little better. Even though you have *no* control over what happens ... it gives you the sense of having a bit of control. Anyhow ...

My husband was diagnosed with sqamous cell carcinoma of the nasopharynx in June. The first stage of his treatment was 35 radiation treatments done consecutively with cistplatin. He has a port but no peg ... and the last week of the treatment was *really* hard on him.

So now ... he starts the second stage of treatment on October 4th. Chemotherapy ... cistplatin with something else (I assume 5FU) ... one day at infusion and four days at home with the pump. So, I'm wondering if anyone could give me details of how this works.

So, Monday morning we go in, talk to the doctor, then go to infusion. Do they give him the pump Monday before we leave? Or do we go back in on Tuesday to get it? The last time he had cistplatin, they had him come into infusion the rest of the week just for fluids, potassium, and magnesium. Will he still have to go back into infusion for fluids since he'll have that pump with him? Then do you go in at the end of the day on Friday and they remove it? Is it hard to take care of? Can you take a shower with it?

I know a lot of this seems unimportant ... but I'm having to juggle work with the treatments ... and I'm trying desparately to manage my time. If anyone could tell me your experiences with this type of chemo, it would be SO very welcome ...

Much thanks!

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8285
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi BonnyKay,

While I had Tonsil cancer with one lymph node. It was SCC STG III and HPV+. I also had a port and infusion, the pump for 5FU and No PEG.

My initial treatment was nine weeks (three week cycles) of Cisplatin and Taxotere via infusion through the port. That was on Monday mornings, that day at the end, they'd hook up the pump for 5FU and run it through the port. That would stay on 24/7 running out during the night on Thursday. I'd turn the machine off as it alarms, and clamp it shut.

Friday I'd go in, they'd unhook the pump, and I think I got fluids that day also, as I become a little dehydrated after the first cycle.

After that nine weeks, then I just had seven weeks of concurrent Carboplatin weekly, 35 days Amifostine and daily rads....

It's nothing out of the line of any other treatment that he has had or will...just takes a little getting used to having the pump. They put it in a fanny pack, so it's not that hard to carry around. Easier to take baths with than showers though.

It'll be fine and he shouldn't have any complications, at least from my experience with the pump.


Posts: 194
Joined: Aug 2010

See what I had to do was go into the cancer treatment center for Cisplatin for 4 hours and after that I went home and waited intil somebody from hospital came hook me up for 5FU with pump and I had that 5FU treatment for 4 days and on the 5th day they came back and disconnected me. Then I waited 3-4 weeks then started the process again for the next month. I had total of 3-4 treatments of 5FU over 4 months.

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2196
Joined: Nov 2009

Please do not feel you need to apologize for asking questions. Whenever you ask a question, other people have a chance to learn with you. Also, those of us who've gotten lots of help here have a chance to give back a little.

When/where you get the pump will depend on your insurance/doctor's preference. My insurance company would not pay for my "chemo lounge" to hook up the pump. As much sense as it makes, they WOULD pay for a home health nurse to come to me after I'd get back from chemo lounge, and hook up the pump. The nurse would come back again to unhook me at the end of the five days.

It takes some getting used to, but he'll learn to work around the pump. When I showered, the pump had a long enough line so that I could lay the pump unit on the commode while I showered. Getting dressed was cumbersome at first, figuring out the best way to get clothes on/off with the pump. I made the mistake of trying to hide the pump under baggy tops - my son pointed out the fact that doing so made it more noticeable.

My pump made a soft clicking noise (kind of like a camera phone) each time it administered a dose. The sound annoyed me when everything was quiet. It helped me sleep to turn a fan on to cover the noise. I also would kink the line at night (I moved a lot in my sleep), and set off the alarm. I learned to sleep with the pump's fanny pack off, but next to me and a bolster next to me to help me not move.

Let us know how it goes.

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1870
Joined: Nov 2009

My delivery schedule wasn't exactly the same, but one would assume the pump will be the FU5. Mine was hooked-up there at the Onco's office. I had a PEG and used formula, and didn't have any other infusions of fluids, but was typical low on magnesium.

Does seem like your husband is getting a lot of the Cisplatin, which you may want to inquire about: try to find-out just how much he will be getting, total. Does seem like a lot, but that depends on the amount in the drips.

I'm NPC, and my last rad was 4/09, BonnyKay. Your hubby can get thru this okay. Just keep it in the Positive- know as fact that he will survive it, and that survival will be physically all right. Would advise to keep your Onco in the loop as to how he is dealing with it- Onco and staff are there to help.


BonnyKay's picture
Posts: 8
Joined: Sep 2010

Thanks so much for the input, everybody ...

Dave's very nervous ... his last experience with Cistplatin was pretty rough; however, I keep reminding him this time there won't be any radiation this time so there won't be the raw throat and such that he had back then.

I'll have more details about the dosage and exactly what he's getting on Monday morning ... so I'll come back and share.

Thanks SO much for the support, guys.

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8285
Joined: Sep 2009

I lost my taste for a week or so, but it comes back (while on chemo). I'd lose it for a week or so during each three week cycle.

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