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What should I do to prepare for chemo?

Easyflip's picture
Easyflip
Posts: 149
Joined: May 2013

I'm so glad I found this site. I'm stage 3a, had my colectomy 4 weeks ago, port in today ( yikes but not too freaked out.) Chemo in about a week and a half. Standard Folfox regimen so far, seeing my onc Monday. What should I do now? How should I prepare my home/kitchen? Vitamins now? Pot card now? Thanks ahead of time for any good advice.  I'm feeling a little anxious and overwhelmed. 

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2271
Joined: Oct 2011

Glad you got a port put in.  It will make the chemo much, much easier.  I did FOLFOX/Avastin a few years ago.  Everyone is different in how they react, of course, but for me the biggest issues were nausea, diarrhea, cold sensitivity, and neuropathy in my feet/legs.  A lot of trial and error figuring out how to treat these side effects, but for me what worked best was:

Ativan-for the nausea, 2 mg 3x per day.  And pot, which also helps with pain, sleep, and anxiety.

Lomotil-rx med for diarrhea...says to take up to 8 in a day, but on nurse's advice, I took 6-8 all at once.  Only thing that worked for me.

Glutamine-protein powder for neuropathy.  Standad of care for all chemo patients where I was treated.   Helps to prevent this side effect, which can have lifetime effects if it gets too severe.

For the cold sensitivity, I bought thin gloves to wear around the house (if you get this, you can't grab stuff out of the fridge bare-handed), and wore a scarf around my mouth when outside to protect my throat from the air (maybe not such an issue with summer coming).

I also would recommend a laptop or tablet or smart phone or whatever you have for entertainemtn purposes on chemo day.  I spent around 6 hours a day there when I had infusions, and if there was no one to talk to, it could get kind of boring.  Light reading, and an assortment of snacks helped too.

Good luck, and keep us posted on how it goes.  Hugs~Ann Alexandria

Coloncancerblows's picture
Coloncancerblows
Posts: 296
Joined: Feb 2013

I agree with Anna as far as what to take since you'll be there a while.  Also, bring drinks and snacks.  Where I go, they let us bring is whatever food we want.  Pretzels for the nausea is good to have on hand.

thxmiker's picture
thxmiker
Posts: 1236
Joined: Oct 2010

Good Diet, mental health, sense of humor, and exercise will get you a long way.

 

You will need: Toilet Paper,

                     Baby Wipes,

                     Calmoseptine/Nupercanal,

                     Bananas,

                     Gatoraid (some type of electrolyte replacement. The bananas work well too.),

                     Ginger (dried, candy, cookies all work to sooth the nausea.).

                      Gloves to get stuff out of the refrigerator

                      Lomotil for diarrhea

                      Oatmeal (helps slow down the bowels and the diarrhea)

 

65% of complications come from dehydration and lack of nutrition.  One must eat and drink to stay healthy!  Many add juicing to their diet. (I did.) Juicing adds micro and macro nutrients that a vitamin is not going to give you. The Zone or Med Diet are extremely healthy for the body. (It will help everyione else in the family also.) Common Vitamins to add are B12, D, Milk Thistle these are to help the body's immune system get stronger.  CHemo fights the cancer, and also makes the immune system weaker.   Stay away from large groups of people.  If you have friends or family that are constantly sick, have phone conversations.

 

We are sending our thougths and prayers for you to have the strength!  Some people Folfox does not hit them that hard.  

 

Best Always,  mike

thxmiker's picture
thxmiker
Posts: 1236
Joined: Oct 2010

Good Diet, mental health, sense of humor, and exercise will get you a long way.

 

You will need: Toilet Paper,

                     Baby Wipes,

                     Calmoseptine/Nupercanal,

                     Bananas,

                     Gatoraid (some type of electrolyte replacement. The bananas work well too.),

                     Ginger (dried, candy, cookies all work to sooth the nausea.).

                      Gloves to get stuff out of the refrigerator

                      Lomotil for diarrhea

                      Oatmeal (helps slow down the bowels and the diarrhea)

 

65% of complications come from dehydration and lack of nutrition.  One must eat and drink to stay healthy!  Many add juicing to their diet. (I did.) Juicing adds micro and macro nutrients that a vitamin is not going to give you. The Zone or Med Diet are extremely healthy for the body. (It will help everyione else in the family also.) Common Vitamins to add are B12, D, Milk Thistle these are to help the body's immune system get stronger.  CHemo fights the cancer, and also makes the immune system weaker.   Stay away from large groups of people.  If you have friends or family that are constantly sick, have phone conversations.

 

We are sending our thougths and prayers for you to have the strength!  Some people Folfox does not hit them that hard.  

 

Best Always,  mike

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2271
Joined: Oct 2011

If you think you might be getting dehydrated, don't hesitate to call your doctor's office and ask to get IV fluids.  It's not a big deal, and it can save you a trip to the ER (I had two of those before I figured this out).

coloCan
Posts: 1863
Joined: Oct 2009

number of your cancer center or doctors just in case you have concerns or questions at any time or day,like 2 AM on a holiday

keep onc informed of any side effects as they arise

make a written list of questions,concerns,etc for when you go to doc and try to have someone with you as you may still be in a fog and mishear or forget something

be prepared for pssible change in appetite, what you desire or actually can eat

side effects and we all differ here, may intensify as treatment proceeds

if doing FOLFOX,be aware of potential for neuropathy;stay away from cold liquids,food and surfaces;perhaps loss of weight during treatment;strange feeling upon start of chewing food

Remember:as a stage threer,there is an end in sight,no matter how agonizing it may (or may not) get

 

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3442
Joined: Apr 2010

If you get the cold sensitivity which most of us do, you will not be able to drink cool drinks, so get hot apple cinder, hot teas, coffee, hot cocoa, what ever you like to keep hydrated, which is very important.  I had to warm my water the first couple of days in microwave for 20 seconds because room temperature was too cold for me to drink.

also for bathroom they have wet wipes like baby wipes only these are made to flush without clogging or ruining your toilet.  Only thing is they are a bit cold to touch the first few days of the chemo.  I think they have baby wipe warmers you might invest in.  They are easy on a sore butt.

i used marijuana instead of anti-nausea pills and it worked great, I bought at the store chocolate truffles, warning only eat half a truffle, a whole one will end up getting you stoned.

Oh and in case they didn't warn you it can cause jaw pain when you take your first couple of bites, after the first couple of bites it goes AWAY so don't worry that it is constant for all your eating, it isn't.

Winter Marie

 

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1533
Joined: Mar 2010

Many supplements must be avoided during chemo.  Anti-oxidants counteract the effects of chemo, and should not be over-used (no more than one cup green tea/day, for example.)  There is some excellent information on the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center website about this. 

http://www.mskcc.org/multimedia/herbs-botanicals-and-supplements-during-treatment

Everything, vitamins included, needs to be okay'd by your onc.  Usually B-6 is recommended, to help minimize neuropathy, and you should ask about supplemental vitamin D.  However, many foods and supplements that are generally good for us are not good for us during treatment.  Once treatment is completed, then more supplements, botanicals, anti-oxidants, etc. can be good.

Never hesitate to call your onc or your chemo nurse with any question, no matter how seemingly insignificant.  They expect the calls, and are used to them.

We'll share our knowledge, but remember that we are not medical professionals, and therefore you can use us to present questions to your drs, and guide you in some of the basics, but for anything serious, ask the professionals.

Alice

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 4310
Joined: Feb 2009

Welcome to the board and you have already gotten some great advice from posts above.  Get a prescription for Lidocain to put on your port area 1 hour before you go for treatment (cover with bandaid until you get there).  This will numb the area and then you shouldn't feel a thing.  Good luck on your upcoming treatment and don't hesitate to ask any questions.

Kim

Beachlace's picture
Beachlace
Posts: 23
Joined: May 2013

I also have stage 3a and am having the port put in tomorrow morning and start chemo next tuesday.  I will have the oxy infused once every three weeks and take the 5 fu pills for 14 days and then have a week off of everything.  I will do that 8 times for a total of 6 months.  

 

I am nervous about the port going in and then about side effects.  I guess each person is different and we will find out for us.  I thought nausea was minimal as anti nausea med given with the chemo.  

 

To the board:  Did the side effects start right away or build up?  I noticed some of you have had chemo for a long time and Im wondering if the beginning was as bad?  

 

Kelley  

db8ne1's picture
db8ne1
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2013

Kelly,

I just started FOLFOX yesterday.  Spent 6 hours in Oncology. First blood draws and waiting for results.  Then 2 hours of pre-meds: calcium/magnesium, steriods, and Atoxi (anti-nausea med).  Then 2 hours of Oxy and Leucovorin.  Then, more post-meds for side effects as well as a 5FU bolus.  Left with portable pump of 5FU that will be unhooked on Friday.  Chemo nurse indicated that the pre-meds last around 42 hours - or about the time the pump is unhooked.  I haven't had much in the way of side effects yet!  Here's hoping!!!

I have read that side effects are cumulative over the full course of FOLFOX - so I'm sure I will eventually get some.  I'm just hoping they are mild...and I hope yours are too!  I have 10 sessions - every other week. 

BTW:  I've had the port since January (for chemo/radiation prior to surgery) and it was a simple surgical procedure. Took all of 20 minutes?  They don't put you out and just give you a sedative to help you relax - and they numb the area, of course...

Best wishes!

Jenni

Beachlace's picture
Beachlace
Posts: 23
Joined: May 2013

Thanks Jenni. Keep me posted.  Im right behind you!  

 

Kelley

 

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2418
Joined: Jun 2006

welcome to our forum.  Lots and lots of us can help with oxy symptoms.  I always say to newbies spren a little time on your house or apartment now.  GEt tidied up and get your bedoom nice and ready for your taking your ease here.  Lots of books.or magazines....perhaps some listening device so you could listen to guided imagery and relaxation and meditation guides.....I used these a lot during chemo and found they really relaxed me....often i would fall asleep with the cd playing.

 

thank you Alice for that link to the Sloan ketterin lectures.....enjoyed that....

maggie

Coloncancerblows's picture
Coloncancerblows
Posts: 296
Joined: Feb 2013

Kelley,

Whenever the nurse is telling me I"m getting the IV with the nausea medicine I just laugh because it doesn't work at all on me!  I take 3 different nausea meds.  Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.  Every session seems like it's different for me with the nausea.

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1526
Joined: Jan 2013

I would suggest at least two note books. One for your daily notes, vitals (Blood pressure, temperature, pulse), and anything and everything that is going on with your body and mind.  

The second notebook I use for my Oncologist visits. I list everything I want to know about. Any question is up for grabs, no matter how insignifican I think it sounds. I have an excellent Oncologist, who answers all my questions and takes time on my chemo days. 

I wish you well. Lets kick this together. 

Easyflip's picture
Easyflip
Posts: 149
Joined: May 2013

Thanks for all the good advice. I'm seeing my onc on Monday to set up my chemo. I'm stage 3A with a port. For those of you in treatment now or finished with it,  what should I ask him and what should I make sure of? I'm eager to get on with it but I am uneasy and worried about everything for the next 6 months. I hate waiting : (

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 4310
Joined: Feb 2009

Until you know what treatment you will be on it's hard to advise.  Just make sure you take a notebook with you and someone along so they can pick up the things you won't hear.  Find out what the doctor says and let us know if you have any questions from there.  Good look with your appointment on Monday and your upcoming treatments.

Kim

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1526
Joined: Jan 2013

If your Oncologist is as good as mine, he/she will have a nurse go over your chemo meds, and all of the side effects (you won't get all of them, but there are many).  You can ask about the ones you worry about most.

My nurses have been excellent. Whenever I call, I always ask for the nurses and not the Doctor. 

Take your note book or even a tape recorder. You have to ask permission to tape a consultation. 

We look forward to hearing from you about your vist. And know that we are all here for you with our love, support, information.   We, as Cancer patients and carers, have a special insight into what we are all going through. We are a special group of Survivors. 

Good luck on Monday. I'll be with you in thought.

 

 

 

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