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Adriamycin,Cytoxan, Taxol Treatment to begin next week

LVG's picture
LVG
Posts: 128
Joined: Jan 2010

Hello all:
As others, within a short period of time, I've had a few issues with this world wind we are going through. Today, I received additional info about the large mass on the one ovary I still have. It must be removed - the big question was will it be before or after chemo.
The gyne onc doesn't think it's malignant, yet can't confirm until he goes in... After he & my medical onc conversed ~ it was agreed that I should begin chemo right away for current diagnosis, while they monitor the 15.9 cm ovarian mass.

Current diagnosis: Invasive ductal carcinoma, Stage II, Grade 3, 2.2 cm, Triple Negative
Approximately 8 wks of Adriamycin,Cytoxan, Taxol Treatment to begin next week.

I know for sure that all breast cancers are absolutely different - just seeking your first hand info regarding how this sort of treatment may have affected you? Your work-life? Quality of Life?

I have an office job - where I interview individuals one-on-one, providing them with administrative info for 60% of my day; 40% of my work day is done on the computer.

Thanks in advance for any information you might want to provide.

One Day & One Step at a Time, right?

LVG

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4505
Joined: Aug 2009

Just wanted to say best wishes. I flunked chemo 101 but thats just me. Most people do way better. I also had a complicating factor. Chemo is not fun but you will get through it!!! I had to be on a leave but I dont have an office job. I am sure others will post with more specific details. Most people just plan around their treatments. Toward the end it gets harder so you may want to see if its possible to take any time off then.

linpsu's picture
linpsu
Posts: 725
Joined: Mar 2010

I am also triple negative and had the same chemo cocktail as you - 4 sessions of A/C (every 2 weeks), then 4 sessions of Taxol (again, every 2 weeks). Mine was a reoccurance, at Stage 3C. The chemo significantly reduced my tumors, and then I had my mastectomy, then radiation. I was working 2 full days and 3 half-days as a preschool teacher and director, and I needed to take off about one day each cycle (I got chemo on Thurs., then usually felt the worst the next Mon. or Tues.) But there were some cycles that I did not take off at all. I just was sure to take naps when I got home. Luckily, my husband was extremely helpful and supportive and did all the cooking and housework. You'll find here that everyone is very different and had different side effects and levels of energy during their treatments. Just remember that you can always come here and talk to us - we're here to help you through it.
Linda

Rague
Posts: 3255
Joined: Aug 2009

Different DX - I'm IBC. I did the 3 but not all at the same time. 4 A/C every 2 weeks and then 2 weeks after last A/C, had a mod. rad. mast.. 3 weeks after surgery, started 12 weekly Taxol followed a week after the last with 25 rads.

I didn't work during any of it but I could have during the A/C but definately not with the Taxol. For many it's the other way around but for me Taxol was horrible - complete exhaustion. I had not other issues - so sorry but can't reeally give you any help other than good wishes and prayers.

Susan

susie09's picture
susie09
Posts: 2933
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi LVG. I didn't have chemo, but, want to wish you good luck.

jessiesmom1's picture
jessiesmom1
Posts: 707
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi LVG,

I had an excision biopsy, complete axillary dissection and a right mastectomy. A tissue expander was put in at the time of the mastectomy. I was Stage IIa and also a triple negative. No cancer was ever found in any breast tissue but 2 of 22 lymph nodes were malignant. After the surgery I was treated with 4 rounds of A/C and 12 rounds of Taxotere. Unfortunately, I ended up with a case of adhesive capsulitis (aka frozen shoulder) in my right shoulder and an orthopedist had to remove dense scar tissue from my affected shoulder joint.

The 4 rounds of A/C were nowhere near as bad as I expected them to be. The fatigue certainly did accumulate but I probably would have been able to go to work if I were not a stay-at-home mom. Around Day 14 my hair started to come out. Ten days after that there was not enough hair to matter so I had my husband shave off what was left. That was extremely traumatic. It took a couple of months before I could look in the mirror and not cry. One of the medications was red in color. While that one was being infused the nurses said it would be a good idea to have ice chips or a Jamba Juice type drink. My husband prepared me a smoothie before each A/C infusion that I took with me. The idea behind this was to prevent mouth sores. No mouth sores for me, thank goodness.

I was told that Taxotere was generally easier to tolerate than the A/C. That being said, I expected a pretty easy time with the 12 Taxotere infusions. Well, were "they" ever wrong! I was never so sick in my life. Diarrhea, vomiting, watery eyes, lack of desire to eat, taste bud changes, unbelievable fatigue, and the list goes on. Despite it all, I never missed a single infusion. Only 1 had to be postponed (for 2 days) because I had become dehydrated and had to be given fluids rather than chemo that day.

My last chemo was on Aug. 4th. YAY! My energy is slowly returning. My hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes are growing back. My eyes are still watery. Perhaps most importantly, I had a mammogram on my remaining/opposite breast and it was normal. Now I am just trying to get the range of motion back in my right shoulder.

Everyone will react to AC/T differently. I hope that your experience is not too difficult and that reading about my situation gives you a bit of an idea of what to expect. As you said, One day and one step at a time.

dyaneb123's picture
dyaneb123
Posts: 951
Joined: May 2009

As to the ovarian mass....I had an 8lb. fibroid tumor that grew on one of my ovaries....
completely cancer free....but freaky non the less...I didn't even know it was there until I went on a diet and lost lost 40 lbs...then voila! What is this hard round thing in my stomach??? But these kinds of masses are very common....Hope all goes well for you
Dee

Kylez's picture
Kylez
Posts: 3765
Joined: May 2009

Wishing you good luck for your chemo. Praying no side effects!

Hugs, Kylez

Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

I'm also triple neg, but Inflammatory BC. My cocktail was very similar, Adriamycin, Cytoxin, and Taxotere for 6 rounds, 3 weeks apart, just finished Dec 9th. I chose to take a medical leave from work, my job demanded 50-60 hours a week and I just couldn't do both.

The most important thing I can say about chemo is drink lots and lots and lots and lots of water. I always started 2 or 3 days before treatment, and continued at least 3 days after treatment. But it will help in between too. I drank lots of smart water (it has electrolytes) and vitamin water.

I'll also say that all the other side effects (for me) were tolerable, not fun but I got through it. Be sure to talk with your doc or onc nurse about all your side effects, there are ways to deal with each and every one of them. You shouldn't have to 'suffer' through your side effects.

And you're absolutely right...one day and one step at a time!

Hugs,

Linda

scout5000's picture
scout5000
Posts: 94
Joined: Apr 2009

I had four treatments of A/C and for me they were very difficult. There were times when I was trying to just get through the next hour. My doc did not prescribe Emmend (miricle anti-nausea drug, my opinion) before the first treatment and I had severe nausea. She said she likes to try people to go without until she see if they need it in the future, barbaric. It's an expensive drug. Emmend helped tremendously for the rest of the treatments, including Taxol for 3 treatments. Taxol was different but not easier for me. These were my experiences and I have a body that is extremely sensitive to lots of meds. But some people do have a very hard time with these chemos and it's good to know that you aren't a wimp if you have a hard time. People on this discussion board sound like they had all different kinds of experiences. I am hoping yours goes smoothly. I do know that you will get through it, one day at a time.
I had retired a few month earlier but there is no doubt in my mind that it would have been impossible for me to work during treatment (elementary teacher). Lots of people do work during treatment however. Good luck and take care,
Scout

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 7864
Joined: Aug 2005

My biggest recommendation is hydration...

Water, water, water, water...I forced as much as I could (up to 4 quarts per day) the day before, day of, and day after infusion....flushed the chemicals from my bladder, kidneys, faster...where it was not necessary...

I own a computer consulting business. So, being self employed, I couldn't stop working. Breast cancer was my second cancer in 6 months. I learned the first go-round to be VERY kind to myself while working. On days that I didn't feel well, I either cut back or rescheduled my entire work day. This part of your life is temporary, but is most important...to continue your life!!!!

Hugs, Kathi

joannstar
Posts: 346
Joined: Nov 2010

same as mine except I'm Stage 1C, Triple Negative. After 2 lumpectomies (had to go back in to get clear margins), my onc had me on 4 cycles of Taxotere/Cytoxan until my ankles swelled after the 4th and then switched me to Taxol/Cytoxan for the last two (I have my last on Friday--WAHOO!). I'm 58 (and Stage 1) so he didn't recommend the Adriamycin for me--but everyone is different and your cocktail is suited to you.
I'm a bookkeeper and I scheduled my chemo on Fridays and have worked the entire time. They treatments took anywhere from 4 to 6.5 hours--so I had to have that day off of work. I had a nuelasta shot on Sundays and usually slept the rest of that day. On Monday I would go to work (dragged myself actually). On Tuesday, I had to stay home from work in bed.
The treatments seem cumulative--I'm more tired now than after the first few. Each cycle brought new side-effects. I had dental issues (which should be taken care of before starting), intense bone aches, rashes, burning feet, hurting fingers, menopausal hot flashes and mood swings and I my hair started to come out before the second treatment. I had a bit of nausea on the 5th treatment but the anti-nausea meds took card of it. I've also gained weight--but that is probably more from indulging myself than the treatment. My onc told me that he could take care of any side-effects as long as I told him. I have called at 8:30 pm on a Saturday night and gotten a call back.
All in all, it is doable, not pleasant, but you will get through it.
Good luck and hugs to you.
JoAnn

LVG's picture
LVG
Posts: 128
Joined: Jan 2010

.... thanks all for providing me such detailed information regarding your experiences, treatment, etc. This is truly helpful. I sooo bad with liquids. After reading this today - I have already increased my liquid intake and plan to follow your advice as much as possible - hoping too for as much of a good outcome as possible.

You all are the best.

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

We have a very similar diagnosis, except that my humor was slightly bigger. I also had those three drugs together (although my "T" was taxotere). Let's see: I took my infusions on Fridays and took that Friday, Monday, and Tuesday off from work. Wedensday-Friday I worked at home. I went back to work full time the next 2 weeks until my next infusion. That schedule seemed to work just fine for me. I probably could have gone in to work more, but I wanted to take things easily. I did get mouth sores, which were helped by keeping my mouth extremely clean (baking soda rinse every day, brushing after every meal) and two prescription mouth washes prescribed by my oncologist. The nausea was bareable, but it's important to keep ahead of it. Don't wait until you are nauseated to take medication because it becomes very difficult to control at that point. I took emend the day before, during, and the day after treatment. Then I was on another anti-nausea for the remainder of the first week. I didn't need anything for the 2nd and 3rd weeks, but I had a third back-up drug just in case. Fatigue does get progressively worse. I took steriods and a nuelasta shot after each treatment and it kept my white blood cell count stable so that I was able to continue treatments on schedule.

Make sure to have lots of distractions around like books and movies and try to take walks or do some mild physical activity. It tends to make things better. Good luck with everything. It's not fun, but you'll get through it.

Mimi

LVG's picture
LVG
Posts: 128
Joined: Jan 2010

You all giving me such great info and advice. I am certainly going to see if it's possible to go to the Friday chemo schedule. My 1st one is this Monday. I want to work on days I'm feeling up to it - as much as possible. My won't isn't strenuous at all. I'm so glad to know about taking the nausea meds. I go for chemo training tomorrow. Onc said I could wear a mask at work... Don't want to do that at all.

You are all so great to share helpful tips. And I wish you all well through this journey...

My hair is extremely short - curly to my head. I've heard most say hair falls out around day 14 - 17.
My insurance pays for a wig one time. So, I'll look into this fir sure. I wear wigs from time to time - but get hot flashes and want to take them off, lol.

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 7864
Joined: Aug 2005

I did a Wednesday. Seemed inconvenient at first, but then it REALLY worked!

Wednesday was lost to infusion (I'm a delicate flower..lol..took 6 hours for me each time). BUT Thursday I felt GREAT! Worked all day. Friday morning, the same. Late Friday afternoon, tired...went home early. Saturday was lost on the couch...Sunday was recovery...in time for Monday work.

As far as wigs, I wore one for about 30 minutes. I'm not used to one, so switched to hats, caps, and scarves. There are many cute styles these days online for very little money. Hair, you heard right...somewhere around day 15 mine was coming out in locks...went and had it cut VERY short (1/2 inch).

I'm sending best wishes to you, LVG...

Hugs, Kathi

cahjah75's picture
cahjah75
Posts: 2623
Joined: Jun 2010

just wanted to welcome you to the board. I don't know much about triple neg but others here do. I wish you the best with your treatment. I did not work so can't help there either. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers as you are dealing with the ovarian cyst too. Life sucks sometimes!
{{hugs}} Char

mimix3
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi there:
We have a lot of similarities. I will give you details of my recent journey. Then feel free to ask me specific questions.

Diagnosed January 27, 2010.
Fine needle biopsy - February, 2010.
Met with medical oncologist and his team. Diagnosed with IDC, triple negative, large (11 cm mass in right breast). Muga scan and PET scan - February, 2010
Outpatient surgery to have port implanted - February 24, 2010.
First chemo treatment - February 25, 2010

Note: I first took 4 rounds of Adriamycin and Cytoxan, dose dense - which means that I received treatments every 2 weeks, not every 3 weeks. I took my treatments on Thursdays (which worked great for my administrative type job). Each Friday (following treatment days on Thursdays), I returned to the Cancer Center and received a neulasta shot (to keep my white count high enough). I felt good on chemo treatment Thursdays and still felt good on Friday mornings. By Friday evenings, I began to feel "yucky". My worst day was Saturday, but, occasionally Sundays were bad, also.

I always returned to work on the Monday following chemo treatment Thursdays. Therefore, during my 8 weeks of AC chemo, I only missed every other Thursday and Friday to receive chemo and have the neulasta shot.

I had an array of the usual side effects from the AC, but, I was very fortunate. None were debilitating. I was given Emend for nausea (via IV during my chemo treatments and by mouth for 2 straight days following chemo). I credit Emend with my being able to tolerate the AC treatment with very little nausea.

12 weeks of Taxol followed AC. No neulasta shots were given during Taxol treatments; neither did I have to continue taking Emend. Taxol was easier. I had some pretty bad problems with my nails and had problems sleeping - due to the other IV's given with Taxol (steroids, etc.) All in all, I realize now that I tolerated all the chemo better than the majority of patients. ....little or no nausea, no hospital admissions, no ER visits, no extra IV fluids, etc. were necessary. Food and fluids did taste bad most of the time, but, I got through it with just a little weight loss (5 pounds or so).

After completion of chemo, I had a bilateral mastectomy in August. It wasn't fun, but, I was able to return to work full time in just over 3 weeks - althought I was very tired.

I received 7 weeks of radiation in October and November. By then I was extremely fatigued. Radiation was more difficult for me (and I burned worse) than I had anticipated.

I completed ALL treatments (since I am triple negative, I do not take any follow up medications, etc.) around Thanksgiving. I was burned badly from radiation and had to take off about a week to recover.

As of the first of January, I am beginning to feel like my old self. My stamina and energy levels are close to what they use to be. I feel very fortunate. I have quarterly follow up visits with my surgeon, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist. Yes, those follow up visits are very stressful, but, I try very hard to live a normal life between the visits.

It isn't fun - but, it IS doable. I refused to listen to horror stories. I don't read or ask about statistics. I made up my mind to do this in the classiest way possible. I wanted to be the poster child for "It CAN be done." I also wanted to be someone who others could come to and ask me how I did it.....how I got through it.

Please feel free to ask me any specific questions. You have received some good advice from others who replied to you. My only additional comment would be to take the advice of your healthcare team and bring ANY concerns/problems to their attention immediately. You may get tired of hearing this.....but, you CAN do this.

ticugirl
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2011

Thank you mimix for your post. I start my ACT tx on Thursday (Mar 24) and I'm scared. I opted not to get a port but I'm thinking I may need to. I'll call on Monday to ask about it. I don't have the best veins and they can only use my right arm. I do 4 rounds of A/C and 4 of Taxol. The tumors (2) were estrogen positive so I'll have to do Tamox afterwards. As tragic as this sounds I really don't want to live anymore. I'm 42, I've raised my only child and she can take care of herself, so I really wish God would just take me. I pray for this everyday. I keep on going and living my life but I really wish I was gone. I laugh at funny things, have lunch and conversations with my friends but I want to go. It would be so much easier. Mind you, I have no desire to do myself in. I just wish God would take care of it for me. I guess I'll just keep on living and maybe one day my prayers will be answered. Thanks again for your posting. All of the posts help me with what to expect even though everyone is different. Have a great weekend.

canoegirl's picture
canoegirl
Posts: 169
Joined: Dec 2009

I just typed a long response to you and then lost accidentaly lost it by hitting a wrong button on my laptop.

Sooo....the short (sort of) version is, I'm praying for you and hope all goes well for you. Please try to find someone you trust to talk to. A couselor at chemo, a minister, or just posting on this board. I pray that you start to feel like you WANT to live and fight thru these next few months.

I had ACT +Herceptin starting in March last year. Wasn't as bad as I feared it would be. I get nauseous easily and always have (Carsick, morning sickness, etc) and I had been warned that I would be more likely to feel neauseous on chemo. Sure enough, that was the side effect I got on AC. BUT I took the anti-nausea meds and they worked great. I usually felt fine the day after chemo and I gave myself the nuelasta shot at home so I was able to go to work that day. I did the dose dense chemo and the up side is that it goes by fairly quick. I followed chemo with 6 weeks of rads and just had my reconstruction surgery 5 weeks ago. Looking back the last 16 months seems like a blurr.

BTW I recomend the port if you have bad veins. I got mine in the morning of my first chemo. Was terrified, but it turned out to not be a big deal. One of the worst parts for me was not knowing what to expect and thinking it would be worse than it really was.

Take it day by day.
Hugs,
Marcy

Jennifer1961
Posts: 137
Joined: May 2010

I had 6 rounds of TAC (all drugs at once), three weeks apart. First two words of advice - drink a TON of water, starting 2 to 3 days before treatment and keep it up as much as you can the first week after treatment. I'm talking 2 to 3 quarts of liquid per day. I didn't do this for one of the rounds and got TERRIBLE diahrea, which adds to fatigue. Second try to be as actice as possible. I am a yoga/pilates instructor so I had to stay active and it really helped. As far as other stuff, it seems like each round there was something different. If your white blood cells drop and you have to get the shot, ask if you can get half the dose. I had terrible bone pain with the full dose, but was manageable with half and my counts were fine. As the treatments go on, it's likely you will miss work, I usually was out the first week after treatent, but then again if you don't have an active job you may be out less. I also had trouble with my teeth (ended up with an infected tooth that was pulled after round 4) so if you have time, try to get your teeth checked out. I'm also stage 2, grade 3 and bout 3cm, however am estrogen +. Good luck!

Hubby's picture
Hubby
Posts: 325
Joined: Apr 2010

I haven't been posting much lately. But my wife had dose dense AC-T and it was rough, but doable. She had off most of the summer, but she wasn't in much shape to work through much of the AC part of the treatment. They gave her decadron; 5 doses; I think starting the night of chemo then twice a day for the next two days. This held off her crash. She was actually more functional the next two days than days 3-5 after. The affect was cumlative for the first four treatments. Switching to Taxol was a good thing.

One chemo nurse told us that her experience was that pre-menopausal women had a harder time with the AC and post-menopausal woman had a harder time with the Taxol. Don't know if this is true, and even if it is, it may not be true for you. Everyone reacts differently.

Good luck and hugs

Bob

LVG's picture
LVG
Posts: 128
Joined: Jan 2010

You are all so awesome for providing with such great info as I go forth in this journey.
I am forging ahead & it is my goal to hold my head up, use the very helpful tips I'm learning here and walk this chemo/healing path with as much grace as possible. I begin 8 treatments every other week, starting this Thursday. After the first one, I'll have it on Wednesday, in order to recuperate over the weekend.

One day at a time towards our healing!!!

LVG

joannstar
Posts: 346
Joined: Nov 2010

as you start this journey so many of us have walked!
I decided to be as open about my breast cancer as I could be so that I could help others.
I admit that I wasn't always as "graceful" as I could be, I found that I had absolutely no patiencem but I did the best I could. I had to stop beating myself up for being self-absorbed and accept that I was dealing with the most important aspect of my life, surviving, so I needed to be more gentle with myself and follow my gut as to what I could and could not do. I missed a lot of activities that I had wanted to go to, but it was necessary in order stay healthy. I did go to a major event over New Years and promptly caught a cold and had to go onto antibiotics in order to have my last chemo on 1/7.
You'll make it I know. Keep us posted...
Hugs,
JoAnn

canjuncutie's picture
canjuncutie
Posts: 132
Joined: Jul 2010

First half no side effects the last one taxol i had side effects. my life has not really changed. work i finally found some . I was unemployed looking for work when i got otld guess what you have breast cancer stge 3.Feel free to pm me

monica811's picture
monica811
Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 2011

Hello. I had a double mastectomy with tissue expanders. I am scheduled to begin the taxol phase of chemo tomorrow. However, my labs last week showed that my red count was down to 8.8. It has been dropping through the first four treatments. Just not that low. My iron is fine but do not know about B12. My friend works for my encologist and said that it is not common for your red count to drop like that. I am or WAS pretty healthy. She did recall two other cases of women around my age....47. i called her back the other day to find out if they had the same sort of surgery that I had. Well, they did. I am still suffering with some minor problems with my right expander...it is the alloderm that was used. Doc's say it will be ok, but it is sore and looks upset to me.

I am just wondering if anyone else out there has had any similar issues. I have been a pretty good trooper through this whole thing, but this is really getting my down. have not been to the gym since I found out. Help.

LVG's picture
LVG
Posts: 128
Joined: Jan 2010

The first thing I Was told when asking such a question, is that everyone tolerates treatments differently... Oh How True!!
After recuperating from my lumpectomy, I had 4 treatments of A/C... Not too bad - had it's ups & downs. During this time, I felt very minimal nausea and just slept alot a couple to three days after giving myself the Nulesta shot - tired, drained feelings... Minimal leg pains. Really loss of appetite after 4th treatment. Now, I've had one of four Taxol - iuuugh! Treatment took nearly 3 hrs, felt awful during treatment and night of; even worst after Nulesta shot. Leg, back, wrist & shoulder pains. I couldn't believe it - lasted nearly 5 days. I hate meds so I only took Tylenol for 3 days, finally, I broke down and took Exedrin back and body for pain, which helped. Night sweats are like swimming in a darned pool - wow.
Everyone is tolerating these treatments differently.
I learned very early from this site to drink, drink, drink... And that advice meant alot and really helped.

I wish you all - all the best and praying each treatment is easy for you.
One day at a time, for sure.

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