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Starting Treatment in one week

Gulamin
Posts: 132
Joined: Dec 2010

It is so good to see these posts and all the advice. Thank you so very much. What can one do to get ready before this? Diet, Exercise, Herbs? Where you able to exercise during the treatment? Did anybody go to Stanford Hospital or Kaiser for treatment? When to ask for a dialator? Also, I read that somebody took steroids before chemo... is that a good thing to ask for?

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2949
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm sorry your circumstances have brought you here, but there's good advice and information here, so I'm glad you've found us. As for preparing for treatment, I would just try to eat as healthy as possible and include plenty of protein. If your appetite tanks like mine did, you may find that you just have to eat whatever you can get down. As for exercise during treatment, I was able to walk on my treadmill during the first 3 weeks. After that, I was a bit too uncomfortable. As for using a dilator, mine was given to me by my radiation oncologist the day my treatments ended and I was advised to begin using it as soon as it did not cause pain. I can not answer your steroid question, but would strongly urge you to ask this question of your doctors--they are the ones who you should be consulting on this matter.

Keep in mind that everyone's experience is a little different and what works for one person may not work for you. But at least by coming here, you will become aware of things you can try to help ease some of the side effects. Please keep in touch and let us know how things go. I wish you the very best in your journey.

Gulamin
Posts: 132
Joined: Dec 2010

Thank you for the advice. I will definetely ask about the dialator. What medications did you take during treatment?

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mp327
Posts: 2949
Joined: Jan 2010

I received a couple of medications to help with the nausea--Ativan and Phenergan, both of which were very helpful when taken at the first hint of queasiness. I was given Ambien to help me sleep. For pain, I was given Percocet. My radiation oncologist prescribed Silver Sulfadiazine Cream for my skin burns and it was helpful, although a little hard to keep on for any length of time due to extreme diarrhea.

I will say this about any pain medication you get--take it as you need it! I tried to be a hero and not take it very often and I was in a great deal of misery. I was driving myself to radiation treatments most days, so felt that I could not take as much of it as I needed to. My advice: Get someone to drive you, especially when you begin to have a lot of discomfort, and take the medicine before the pain gets ahead of you, even if it makes you feel "loopy" like it did me. Since you will have your mother there with you, you should be able to take it effectively. If what is given you does not effectively ease your pain, speak up and ask your docs for something stronger. You do not get extra credit for suffering!

As stated already, drink lots of fluids! Very important to stay hydrated!

grandma2selena's picture
grandma2selena
Posts: 199
Joined: Jun 2009

My circumstances might have been a little different then the others. I had an abscess on my tumor so I was in horrible pain long before treatment started. That is how we found my cancer. I agree eat as healthy as you can and start drinking lots of fluids. I made sure and had lots of different snack type foods, healthy type snacks, cheese and crackers, just anything I thought that I might be able to eat. Actually my pain level got better after treatment started, as the abscess was healing as the tumor shrunk. I was able to take care of my 1 year old granddaughter just fine, and yes walked as much as possible considering my treatment started on December 1st. The other thing I did in preparation was tried to surround myself with a support group that could help with shopping, driving, helping with the granddaughter, and just willing to sit and talk or play a game of dominoes or something with me.

I really think the main thing is once treatment starts pump the fluids, and even when you don't feel like eating, eat anything you can get down, even if it is a small amount, throughout the day instead of trying for large meals three times a day. Rest, and exercise when and what ever you can handle. Don't over do yourself, a little walk can go along ways during this time.

Remember we are all here for you too!

Gulamin
Posts: 132
Joined: Dec 2010

Thank you so much. I too have a 2 year old son and am worried that he will feel I am not there for him. Is that the case or how did your little one handle it? My mom will come to stay with us and I am so thankful for this as she will make sure there is food and that our boy is taken care of with lots of love. I will eat good now and drink lots of fluids. I am anxious and that is right now the hardest thing... knowing that what will come is hard but really not having any idea. I just want to get through this and take care of the 'c'.

Gulamin
Posts: 132
Joined: Dec 2010

Grateful to have found you!

sissy310
Posts: 300
Joined: May 2010

Hi, just thought I'd pipe in a little bit too. I'm three months post treatment and from what I remember, the early part of treatment was easier as it is cumulative...in some ways I was glad it was like that, it gives you a gradual build up to some of the symptoms - at least it did me. I was able to do quite a bit the first four or five weeks, tired, yes, but I could still do things. Towards the end it was harder but I had my son's girlfriend's 3 year old here a lot and was still able to read to him and do little things with him...I did sleep a lot more but that is because he was not here all the time.

As everyone said before me, drink lots of fluids (that is soooooo important). I was alternating between watered down gatorade and water with a little bit of flavoring. Sleep when you need to sleep, when you are tired. Have supportive family and friends around to help out especially towards the last few weeks. You will find yourself recovering and gaining strength really fast after treatment is over. I was surprised myself. Hang in there - you have a bunch of us (seasoned and new) who are here to support you and get you through this. Take care and come in to let us know how you are doing! Marilyne

Gulamin
Posts: 132
Joined: Dec 2010

Thank you for your words... it made my day... How did it go with your eating? Did any of you try juiced vegetables and fruits? Also, what is the average weight loss during this period? Good to hear you are doing well... that really makes me feel just to want to get through this and be thankful that we are able to beat this...

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2949
Joined: Jan 2010

I had to pretty much give up on fruits and veggies during treatment. For one thing, they didn't sound good to me, and secondly, they would always cause my diarrhea to be worse. It took quite a few months after treatment for my digestive system to handle them without consequences. I had to add them back in gradually and always cooked, not raw. Things are much better now. I wanted so badly to eat healthy foods while in treatment, but my body said otherwise and I just had to eat what I could tolerate and taste. I ate a lot of canned soups and those instant lunch noodle cups--things I would not normally eat, mainly because of the sodium. However, I lost enough weight that my oncologist told me I had to eat whatever I could stomach or else end up in the hospital. I admire anyone who was able to eat more normally during treatment than I was, but honestly, I don't know how they did it! I'm not sure there is an "average" weight loss per your question. Weight loss, like every other facet of this journey, is individual. Try not to judge how you are doing by someone else's experience.

grandma2selena's picture
grandma2selena
Posts: 199
Joined: Jun 2009

First of all I want to add for me the first month was the easiest, it really wasn't until the end that my body began to feel so rough.

My doctor kept on me about eating soft foods, drink ensure, the list went on and on, but none of that sounded good to me. I did end up hospitalized when I got the secondary infection, which is truly rare, so don't let that scare you one bit! The doctor kept me on a bland diet which I couldn't eat. I finally told him to take me off the bland diet and just let me eat what I felt I could. I ordered Salmon, baked potato, the works...ate what I could and left what I couldn't. My point is everyone is different and you just have to try, if it doesn't smell good, or taste good, you just don't think you can eat it then don't. I lived on Cheese and bread sticks or crackers, ate those all the time. Also ham and turkey sandwiches. I think the first month was the hardest for me for eating, but the second month I was so hungry I ate anything put in front of me. Vegetables and Fruits were hard to eat, and it did take a long time even after treatment to be able to eat these without diarrhea.

At one point I craved a hamburger and fries so bad, my husband went to McDonald's for me and oh that tasted so good especially the vanilla shake. During this time you might find that your diet isn't as well as it could be, the important thing is to eat what you can, when you are hungry, and don't sweat the little things like how healthy is this food, just eat or drink, as in shakes.

lil lady
Posts: 36
Joined: May 2009

Hi all I don't usually post to often but I do read everyday I am 15 months post treatment My last CT was in Oct and NED so good to hear . As far as what I could eat during treatment it wasn"t much and my husband really pushed me to drink water.. I mainly ate scrambled eggs and applesauce. Eggs because the they kept telling me you need protein. As far as veggies and fruit it took me almost a year to tolerate them. I was reading about grandma 2selena wanting a hamburger and I Had to laugh because I got the same craving and my husband said fine but you never would eat them before. It tasted so Great. It seems we are left with alot of new normals in our life. But I keep telling myself as long as the CT keep coming back NED I can take anything.

z810840b's picture
z810840b
Posts: 212
Joined: Jan 2010

This is so funny...I too craved hamburgers!!!!My husband used to go to burger king for me.I would only eat a couple of bites though..During the day he would get me a roast beef sandwich..rare .My body must have needed red meat..I had this terrible metallic taste and the hamburger and roast beef still tasted good. Hugs...alyse

grandma2selena's picture
grandma2selena
Posts: 199
Joined: Jun 2009

Since we are raising our granddaughter, she was at my side for everything. I know it was tough for her, but she truly was the joy and the strength I needed to get through it all. We cuddled a lot, read lots of books together, I was well enough that we played, maybe not rough, but we played a lot of games, made up stories, and when I needed to rest she would just either cuddle up with me, or hold my hand. I made her so much a part of everything I was going through. The first month we did stay with a close friend who helped a lot with her, but the second month we were on our own. My husband did take one week off after my second round of Chemo, since that really put me in a fog, but after that Selena and I were on our own. We did just fine, I didn't have any problems tending to her needs, making sure she had her meals or quality together time.

Treatment is hard, and the unknown does bring about a lot of anxiety my advice is since you have the little one, allow him to become your world during this time. Spend as much time as you can allowing him to tend to you and entertain you. They don't understand what is going on, but they just seem to know we are not feeling well, and truly want to take care of us like we take care of them.

Remember we are here for you!

Donna M
Posts: 25
Joined: Jul 2010

I found that Cottonelle with the ripples is the BEST for wetting and cleaning ANY area that gets hit by radiation. I could not even blot with the softest tissue, but the cool wet Cottonelle not only cleaned the areas but also soothed them. Baby wipes were often too strong and stung like the dickens. Also, if your rear starts to burn from diarrhea, creamy desitin works WONDERS and washes of easily (no scrubbing) with soap and warm water.

grandma2selena's picture
grandma2selena
Posts: 199
Joined: Jun 2009

I found that the cottenelle flush able wet wipes were by far the only thing that I could use. I still will only use them to this day. I can't stand regular toilet paper of any kind now. They also helped to prevent any burning from diarrhea, I just felt they were keeping me so much cleaner.

lemonade
Posts: 62
Joined: Feb 2010

I liked cheesecake for some reason. I think it was the sour cream on top.

I used sensitive baby wipes and they didn't sting like the regular baby wipes.

Good luck. I am 13 months post treatment and so far NED.

Barbara

sissy310
Posts: 300
Joined: May 2010

I also used sensitive baby wipes. Made a difference.

Congrats to you Barbara on your 13 mos NED!!!

mbh97766's picture
mbh97766
Posts: 39
Joined: Nov 2010

I am 6 days into treatment. Yesterday they removed my chemo bag. So far I have had no side affects except for a slight "tinny" taste in my mouth. Aside from my PICC line itching like crazy, I feel great. I know it's short lived, but I'm going to relish in it while I can. I am also blessed to have a radiation team of people that I really really like. That, along with the support provided by this group, and as well as my family and friends, It's a GOOD day!

z's picture
z
Posts: 1257
Joined: May 2009

Good for you, and your doing so well. I think a positive attitude goes a long way, and it sounds like you have one. I know I was so happy to have the bag off, it was just a nuisance, but of course tolerable. I wish you continued success. Lori

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2949
Joined: Jan 2010

Yay for getting rid of the chemo bag! I'm glad your side effects are minimal. That "tinny" taste you described was something I experienced and made certain foods taste horrible. Hang in there, it sounds like you're doing great!

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