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TAXOL- first time...

the daughter's picture
the daughter
Posts: 33
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi Everyone,

My mom was diagnosed with agressive Breast Cancer early in January. Fianlly- we start her first CHemo Feb. 11th. The plan is to do Chemo- once a week for 12 weeks in smaller doses- then do surgery. The Chemo drug is TAXOL- what should we expect? We are just now learning about everything.

God bless you ALL. I know GOD has a positive diagnosis for everyone. We may just have to be a little patient.

Jess

Rague
Posts: 3367
Joined: Aug 2009

Some don't have much problems with Taxol - some do.

I did 12 weekly Taxol after surgery - I had done 4 every other week A/C before surgery. For me - Taxol was much worse than A/C. I was completely and utterly exhausted on it. Resting did not help and I could not sleep without pills and they didn't work that great. I did start feeling better the week after the last one (when I started Rads). Nausea was never a problem for me - I even quite taking the anti-nausea meds 1/2 way through. Pain was not an issue either.

When you say "aggressive" are you by any chance referring to Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)? If so while it is one of the rarer ones there are several of us here who are in various stages of treatment. Me - I'm over a year post chemos and in 5 weeks will be a year post radiation though I am on Femara for 5 years.

Ask all the questions you want - we've all been there.

Susan

tgf's picture
tgf
Posts: 955
Joined: Mar 2009

After my lumpectomy I was given taxol and herceptin. When I was told I'd need chemo I almost said "NO!" ... because I'm terrified of needles ... and I was terrified of nausea .. but ... after talking to the oncologist ... and hearing about having a port "installed" ... I felt more comfortable about the whole thing. The port became my best friend. I couldn't have done it without the port. I did get a prescription for EMLA cream that you put on the port site an hour before your appointment and by the time of your treatment the spot is numb where the put the needle. Didn't feel a thing. And .. they give you benadryl and other stuff through the IV before the actual chemo ... for nausea etc. ... so I ended up sleeping through most of my treatments. Just stuck the iPod in my ears and dozed off.

No major side effects. Everything that came up was totally manageable ... in fact I was able to continue working full time during the entire treatment schedule. At day 15 after the first treatment I did run my hands through my hair and ended up with a handful of hair ... so I called a friend and told her to get her clippers out ... I was on my way over for her to shave my head. After the "haircut" I put on my denim bucket hat from TLC catalog ... and we went out to dinner. I just wasn't a big deal to me.

Hopefully your mother will have an easy time of it too.

hugs.
teena

meena1's picture
meena1
Posts: 1005
Joined: Oct 2008

Hi! I was on Taxol for 12 weeks before surgery. I was tired and i had a lot of heartburn, but i did not have any major problems with taxol, i was able to work full time. I have since moved on to much harder treatments, so i would now say that Taxol was not too bad. I did have a lot of constipation, also. And of course, i lost all my hair, but that will grow back. They will give your mom steroids also, so she may have a problem falling asleep. I wish you and your mom the best and please be kind to her, i am sure that she is also worried about you.

1surfermom's picture
1surfermom
Posts: 266
Joined: Mar 2009

I had Taxol every week for 12 weeks before my surgery too. I had chemo every Wednesday during the summer of 2009. I would be okay the first two days afterward but by Friday at about 4:00 P.M. I would feel extremly tired and achey. My Saturdays were usually spent on the couch in my livingroom, by Sunday I felt better. Like Meena said be kind to your Mom, I know I worried about my kids sometimes more than I worried about myself. Love Surf

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

what a wonderful daughter you are. Your mom should be very proud of you. We are all different and some have few side effects and others many from our different chemo treatments. Wishing your mom the best as she goes through chemo treatment.
{{hugs}} Char

the daughter's picture
the daughter
Posts: 33
Joined: Jan 2011

Thanks everyone. This really helps. I was begining to thing our Doctor was crazy- with weekly doses for 12 weeks- glad to know its not rare!! GOD Bless this website :). I do think she is IBC... still learning. They did say she would be very tired and they are giving her the steriods. Good to know she will have trouble sleeping- so we can be prepared. Does all the hair fall out? Like eye lashes? Just trying to be emmotionally ready for my mom. Its better she knows upfront... I think.

She is a janitor- so the work is a little heavy- but she can go at her own pace... which helps. we need the insurance... there's just no way she can quit.

The doctor said she can keep drinking coffee (she loves it) and no changes to her food habits- would you agree?

Love you guys! How long are sessions when she goes in? I will ask about the cream to numb the area- she got a port as well.

All the best :)

childofthestars's picture
childofthestars
Posts: 246
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi
I had breast ca 11 years ago and have been NED ever since following lumpectomy and chemoradiotherapy.
unfortunately I was diagnosed with OVCA in June last year and my onc put me on a regime of Taxol every week for 18 weeks with Carboplatin thrown in every 3rd week. Anyway I was initially terrified as i was very unwell with my chemo for breast ca although i can't remember what it was. However, I had a port installed (which i've now had removed) which was fantastic and I really tolerated the Taxol well, i had a few rashes now and then and tiredness but it was all manageable. I would suggest that your mother probably cuts down on her coffee intake and drink plenty of water but other than that carry on as normal as she can under the circumstances.
Good luck to her.
Mx

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

Hi Jess,

I didn't have the weekly Taxol, I had 6 rounds of TAC every three weeks. But whatever the cocktail, your mom will feel much better if she is drinking LOTS of water. And since she is a coffee drinker, the water is even more important. The water will flush the chemo through her system.

And since your mom will continue working, resting at home will be important too. That way she can reserve her strength for her job.

I'm also IBC so if you have questions about that, please feel free to send me a private message through CSN email.

You're a wonderful daughter, I'm sure your mom appreciates the support you are giving her.

Hugs,

Linda

dbhadra's picture
dbhadra
Posts: 344
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi:

Very sorry to hear about your mom's diagnosis, but she is lucky to have such a caring daughter as you!

Tomorrow is my 5th week of Taxol for a 12 week cycle and so far I'm happy to say my side effects have been very little. A bit more tired than usual but no nausea and no vomiting. My hair has been thinning but I still have a lot. Your mom may not lose all her hair with Taxol; I believe some people do and some don't.

Wishing the best to her with her treatments,
Laura

Marsha Mulvey
Posts: 597
Joined: May 2010

Very happy that you found this discussion board. There are many here who can share their experiences with you and your mom.

Like Susan said, we're all different and so are our experiences - even while on the same chemo. I had weekly Taxol also. When they give it prior to surgery, it is to shrink the tumor first. It worked very well to do that, but it's not a walk in the park. I had two other drugs along with it, Herceptin for my HER2+ cancer and Zometa for the bones. Together these caused quite a few side effects. Fatigue was a factor for about 24-36 hours, this started 2 days after each infusion. (It was worse the first week) The bad part about weekly doses is that once you start feeling better, it's time to do it all over again. I had some neuropathy in my fingers and toes and most of my nails turned a purplish, brownish, yellowish color and I actually lost 2 toenails.

Even with these temporary problems, I went gladly to each treatment because it meant that I was the aggressor in this battle. I was on the attack, not the cancer. The side effects are do-able and your mom will get through it. Remember to be patient with her. For instance, you may want to go shopping but she may not want to leave the couch.

Please come back and let us know how both of you are doing. Best wishes and God bless.
Marsha

Rague
Posts: 3367
Joined: Aug 2009

While on A/C I had lost all the hair on my head and 1/2 of eye lashes and brows - on Taxol all the hair I still had left and I do mean ALL hair.

pinkkari09's picture
pinkkari09
Posts: 878
Joined: Sep 2009

You are an amazing daughter, and bless your heart for looking after your Momma!! I had 12 weeks of Taxol after 4 A/C Treatments. Not to scare you but still prepare you, and remember everyone is different, you've read how some did just fine with Taxol. My biggest and worst symptom/reaction was neuropathy. Taxol did a number on my nerve endings. Have your Mom pay close attention to any numbness in her hands or feet, they quit my treatments at week 11 to avoid further damage. Other than that, I was really tired, wore out, had a hard time sleeping at night. During the infusion, I slept the whole time from the benedryl. I did loose all of my hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, all of it. My daughter shaved my head for me when it started to really fall out. Stop here often and ask away, were all here for you girl!!
Hugz,
Kari

PinkPearl's picture
PinkPearl
Posts: 280
Joined: Oct 2010

Your mom is so lucky to have you as her advocate. A second set of ears to listen is so important and someone else to think through things with you. If you haven't already I would buy a loose leaf binder and put in all the papers they give you and especially get copies of the her diagnosis and pathology reports as they come because then you will know what to research and ask about more specifically. Some of her pathology may come as surgeries and the Taxol kick in their benefits. Had to smile about the coffee, I love mine too and I think her body will tell her to stop if it needs too. She will learn what to use for side effects too. Be sure to ask those questions and get the answers written down before you have side effects. Being prepared makes you feel so much more in control.

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