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Kerri_Reed
Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2012

Hi All-

I am currently undergoing TAC Checmo for Stage 2B breast cancer. I have had my first treatment (one week ago), and am just wanting to talk to people who are/have gone thru this to ensure that my symptoms are normal....not freakish.

I'd also like to understand more the "Cycle" of chemo...so if anyone has any information that is in basic English ....that I don't need my PhD to read
.....please please direct me to it.

I understand what chemo does - but my question is more like......ok, if I'm a heroin addict, and I take my shot....it goes thru my system in "X" amount of time. So if I did my chemo 7 days ago, Why do I get the runs a week later. Why does my foot hurt today and my ribs yesterday?

And lastly are there any sisters out there who also suffer from Crohn's Disease along with this wonderful cancer we all have? I also possess that great disease, have had it for about 25 years now. (I am 44 now). I haven't had any Crohn's symptoms in about 5 years ....Remicade put me into a "remission" of sorts.....and now all of a sudden, I'm experiencing a lot of symptoms that I haven't felt in years....just wondering if there's any others in this canoe with me.

Thanks for taking the time to read....

Kerri~

laughs_a_lot's picture
laughs_a_lot
Posts: 1368
Joined: Mar 2011

No Chrons with me. However the effects of chemo usually last about a week. Now I did not have too many bowel issues at this time.

Keep reading and you will learn what you need to know as the others pipe in.

desertgirl947's picture
desertgirl947
Posts: 419
Joined: Oct 2012

I think that TAC is the same as ACT, just maybe a different order. I finished chemo the middle of July 2012. I did the AC first, followed by the T.

With the AC, I knew that my off times would tend to be the last half of the week of my infusion. I had infusions every other Monday. I did not suffer from nausea, but I had a few days of queasiness. Usually by Sunday that all was past. I drank tons of water to flush the drugs out of my system as quickly as possible. I think that one other side effect of the chemo had to have been fatigue, days when I didn't feel like doing much of anything. I will say that I did not stay holed up in my house over the weeks I had AC infusions. Yes, I tended to lie low for maybe three days, but that was about it.

With the T, I did not have the problem of queasiness, although for the first time or two I did continue with the anti-nausea drugs for a day or so just to see. I am not sure if it was the T or the effects of the neulasta shots catching up to me, but I found that by the weekend, I had aching legs to the point that I did take Aleve for some relief because the discomfort would affect my sleep. After a day or two, that would settle down. With the T I developed a pesky cough. I also had difficulties taking deep breaths. So, I needed to try to avoid doing things that would make me feel the need to take a deep breath.

The 3rd and 4th time I had the T, I had a reaction where I had my infusions. The good thing was that the drug they gave me to see if it would offset the reaction worked, and I could continue the infusion. The weekend before my 3rd infusion I had more problems with coughing. It was enough of a cough, that I would end up taking deep breaths -- not that I wanted to -- and that aggravated the problem more. I had to work at not taking those deeper breaths as I got my coughing under control. To walk anywhere in my house (not a large floor plan) I had to really go slow. My lungs were clear, and so the problem was not that I had a cold or was developing something like pneumonia. My oncologist told me to get an OTC allergy drug like Clariton to see if that would help. It did; within a day or two of starting that, the problem cleared up, and I just had that pesky little cough. The same thing happened the weekend before my 4th and final infusion, but we got started on dealing with it that Friday, as this time the coughing was worse that the other time. The doctor added musinex to the regimen, as well as ONE benadryl at bedtime to help me get to sleep. The next day I was doing much better, and back to the pesky cough.

The nasty coughing did not return according to that pattern; I had finished chemo, but to be safe because we had gone out of town for a few days, I started to take the allergy meds that Wednesday, to get a jump on things just in case because I did still have that pesky cough.

The aching in the legs stopped after I stopped the neulasta shots.

The pesky cough was gone within two to three weeks of when I finished chemo.
----------------------------
Realize that we are all individuals who react differently to the chemicals introduced into our systems. What any of us share here can give you an idea of what to expect, but don't be surprised if you don't follow the pattern. Two people not on these boards were a real good help to me at the outset. Same disease. Same treatments. Different reactions, one had more difficulties than did the other. Sometimes I matched them both; sometimes just one of them; sometimes neither of them.

I can't help you out with the other. I can sympathize for you as I do have family (my husband's side) members affected with that other disease -- a grandniece as well as a cousin.

e

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

I did 6 rounds of TAC chemo. I was on a 3 week cycle. When you are asking about the cycle of chemo, I think you are asking about the cycle of cell life/death. The way I look at it, it takes 3 weeks for a cancer cell to die. And you will always (until chemo kills them all) have some cells in the first week of life, and the 2nd week of life, etc. So repeating your chemo in a regular pattern does a better job/has a better chance of getting all the cancer. If I'm wrong, or mis-stated I'm sure someone here will correct me.

As for the symptoms you mentioned...yes I had digestive issues. I took stool softeners in the first few days after treatment, and immodium as needed after that. I'm sure your digestive issues are complicated by the Crohn's. (I have no experience with that.) If the rib and foot pain is in the bone, that might be due to neupogin/neulasta. (If you're taking either one of them.) Claratin, not Claratin D, will help with that. Of course, check with your doc before changing/adding anything.

Because chemo messes with any fast growing cell (digestion, skin, hair, bone marrow), it can mess with lots of different parts of your body. And remember, each of us have different biology. So my reaction to TAC may not be the same as your reaction to TAC.

In my experience, I had new/different symptoms with each treatment. One treatment was the bone pain, another was heartburn, another was a tooth abscess...etc. You should also know that chemo has a cumulative effect. I think that is why I had new s/e's with each treatment.

I'm sorry you had reason to find us Kerri. But I hope you will find the people here as helpful and supportive as I have. Please come back and let us know how you are doing.

Hugs,

Linda

P.S. I hope this makes sense, lots of distractions here right now.

DebbyM's picture
DebbyM
Posts: 3294
Joined: Oct 2009

I did not have chemo, but, wanted to welcome you and to wish you good luck with chemo. It looks like some of the pinks sisters that took chemo have given you great advice.

Hugs, Debby

LoveBabyJesus's picture
LoveBabyJesus
Posts: 1650
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi Kerri -- I am sorry about your dx and I hope you have a quick and smooth recovery.

Dx at 32 (last year) with IDC, stage 2a, lymph-vascular invasion, grade 3. Did lumpectomy, chemo - AC/T, radiation and now on year two on tamoxifen.

My worst side effect with chemo was constipation. It was so bad I bled for weeks. I thought I was going to die for 2 weeks (not trying to scare you as everyone is DIFFERENT). My suggestion is you ask your dr. for stool softeners, and you take them 3X a day, starting 48 hrs before you start your chemo. I also suggest a very strict diet at least during the first week after your infusion (including the day before and the day of). That's what I did and it helped. This diet includes extra fiber, fish, veggies, green...just make sure you wash all raw foods (I washed mine with soap) OR steam them so you don't get any bacteria during chemo. also, some fruit/veggies may be restricted such as grapefruit.

Here's a suggestion - two wonderful books I bought that helped me balance my diet and control my constipation, which was pretty challenging at first!

for juices: http://www.amazon.com/Big-Book-Juices-Natural-Vitality/dp/1844839737/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353733098&sr=1-1&keywords=big+book+of+juices

for recipes: http://www.amazon.com/Cancer-Fighting-Kitchen-Nourishing-Big-Flavor-Treatment/dp/1587613441 --> the good thing abotu this book is that it was written for breast cancer patients, and it gives you recipes according to what side effect you're having.

Wishing you good luck with your journey. Please keep us updated, we care.

Hugs

p.s. let me clarify the above issue happened during AC not T. T was much easier for me to tolerate.

salls41's picture
salls41
Posts: 340
Joined: Apr 2012

I agree with Linda, her comments explain well what happens and why. Especially trying to remember that chemo effects are cumulative. I did well with my chemo other than some nasty constipation but I did suffer all the usual side effects.. Not tasting things right, extreme fatigue, mild nausea controlled with meds, pain in the shins was my bone pain. I am sorry I can't help with the Crohn's either. I am sure your oncology doc may have some answers, if not your infusion team has heard it all and then some and someone will be able to help!
Prayers and positive thoughts for you!

VickiSam's picture
VickiSam
Posts: 8253
Joined: Aug 2009

I endured 18 consecutive weekly treatments of TCH - where my H 'Herception' continued for 1 year.

Chemo is not just physically depleting, it wreaks havoc with our
hormonal/emotional self as well.

It is so important to remain and continue hydration, water - water, and more
water. Splash in a little lemonade, cranberry juice -- or prepackaged crystal
light, or Lipton Tea. Herbal Tea's also work for a change of pace.

If you are getting the neulasta shot -- Please ask your Oncologist about taking
a benadryl -- or claritin -- which many of us === swear by -- as they help alleviate that
'just run over by a truck' aches and pains - some of us experience from the
neulasta shot.

Ask for prescriptions for nausea and vomiting -- as well as diarrhea.

Plastic silverware is a must ---
biotin toothpaste and mouthwash is a daily essential
(available at most Target's or Wall-Mart's)

Food is subjective -- depending on your personal needs and taste buds .. What
taste good or was tolerable 1 week -- changed for me, the very next. I could not
tolerate any foods with sugar, i.e. ketchup, or cola's.

To help prevent mouth sores -- suck on ice chips during all chemo treatments.

Rest when you can, as some chemo queens have bouts of insomnia ---

Take goodies to entertain yourself during your infusions -- games, books,
friend, a snack, IPOD, laptop ...

Also ...

My fatigue was cumulative; I ended up experiencing a form of exhaustion I didn't
know was possible, and I was convinced I was trapped in an episode of the
Twilight Zone, never to re-emerge as a normal, healthy woman!

Chemo is so powerful, and its powerful job is to kill the beast! Hang in there,
and know that the side effects will not be with you forever!

Strength, Courage and HOPE for a Cure.

Vicki Sam

Christmas Girl's picture
Christmas Girl
Posts: 3644
Joined: Apr 2009

Though I'm sorry for the reason you're here, glad you found this amazingly supportive & encouraging group.

I endured the same chemo protocol many years ago. Different chemo drugs are expelled by the body at different rates - some very quickly, within 24-48 hours, for example. And the effects of the drugs occur & continue at different rates afterwards. No two patients have the exact same experiences...

Am sure your doctor already knows you suffer from Crohn's. Regarding those now returning symptoms - advise your doctor accordingly & quickly. Please don't wait until your next appointment. This advice applies, as you continue treatments, to all severe chemo symptoms - not just those related to Crohn's.

The board is open 24/7, each & every day. There's almost always someone here. I hope you feel free to visit whenever you may want and/or need.

With my most hopeful best wishes as you move forward, and...

Kind regards, Susan

missrenee's picture
missrenee
Posts: 2137
Joined: Apr 2010

The ladies have given the best advice. I had TAC every 3 weeks for 6 cycles. It was considered "dose dense" and I did pretty well on it. The first 3 were pretty much a breeze for me--however, the Neulasta shot the day after each caused considerable bone pain and I felt like I had the flu for a couple of days. I did have intermittent bouts of a diarrhea/constipation combo for a few days after the chemo as well. The last couple were challenging, but doable (for me). It's not fun, for sure, but you get through.

I don't have Crohn's either, so I can't speak on that. Your doctor should be able to help you to minimize the side effects no matter what they are. There are some wonderful remedies now that can really help.

Good luck to you--just keep telling yourself you're going to be fine and you can do this--because you will and you can.

Hugs, Renee

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4523
Joined: Aug 2009

I do not have Chrohns but did have nasty effects from chemo on the GI side, constipation/diahrea could not eat. developed a fissure. So consult your GI docs. I used a fiber supplement and just weathered through it, but you have special circumstances so may need to modify things to get through.

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

Welcoming you also Kerri and hoping that you will have little or no side effects with chemo. Be sure and let your onco know of everything as there are so many meds that they can give you to help you.

Good luck, Kylez

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