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Chemo doable?

Feelingalone74
Posts: 227
Joined: Jun 2019

I will be starting treatment soon.  I keep hearing the inspiring message that chemo is doable but I also hear so much of the side effects.

Many have said to ice hands and feet during treatment.  Ice packs? Bucket of ice?

Dealing with anxiety of this whole traumatic ordeal?

Feelingalone74
Posts: 227
Joined: Jun 2019

Makes sense Fridayschild 

Feelingalone74
Posts: 227
Joined: Jun 2019

What kind of  cheese can I eat? My doctor says only pasteurized cheese. The only kind I'm seeing pasteurized is the prewrapped slices which I find wet and pasty.  Love swiss and sharp cheese and mozzarella.  Are they a no no ?

MAbound
Posts: 860
Joined: Jun 2016

They want to you to eat pasturized cheese (eggs, milk, cider too) because your white cell count is impacted during chemo and radiation and you will be more susceptable to infections for a while. Ask at the deli counter if you are unsure of what is or isn't pasturized. I think you mostly have to be careful of the specialty stuff.

Your labs get checked regularly during treatment to see how you are doing. I can't remember which regimen you'll be on, but if it's infusions every three weeks expect dips in your blood counts when you reach what's called "nadir" (low point) and then a bounce back just before the next infusion. It's normal and low red blood cells is probably why we all get so tired between infusions.

If you don't get the bounce back, they can offer transfusions or delay the infusion. During radiation your blood counts tend to drop less dramatically but steadily and it can take up to six months aftwards for things to return to normal. It's not up and down like it is during chemo.

Be sure to get a flu shot this fall and think twice about going to places where a lot of germs get shared and it's hard to protect yourself. I stayed away from church and my husband did the grocery shopping while I was in treatment. Also ask if you can or need to have a pneumonia or shingles shot. You can't have live vaccines and I can't remember if they are or not. 

Handwashing is critical, including by those who live with you. It doesn't hurt to be a bit of a germaphobe while you are vulnerable. Your family really needs to be too because they don't want to bring anything home to you. Don't forget to thoroughly wash any produce you eat, too.

You should be ok and shouldn't freak out about these caveats...it's just to get you thinking about what otherwise might not be on your radar with everything else going on. 

LisaPizza's picture
LisaPizza
Posts: 214
Joined: Feb 2018

The pneumonia vaccine is ok, I had that during treatment.  It's not entirely ideal,  however,  because your immune system doesn't respond as well to vaccines when it's suppressed.  But it doesn't hurt you, just doesn't help as much as it could.

Feelingalone74
Posts: 227
Joined: Jun 2019

MAbound, ok I'll ask at the deli about the cheese.  I'd  prefer deli and not the prewrapped individual slices.

I'll get some cider as well. That's something they didn't suggest.

They did warn me of the nadir period.  

I will be sure every washed and then washes some more upon arrival at home. 

I never get a flu shot but will definitely get 1 this fall.

Hating that I'll have to stay out of the public. Being housebound is going to hard. I  work in an Elementary school and was hoping to work on my good days when possible but this sounds like it definitely wont be able to happen which is hard for me.

My regimen will be 2 rounds of carboplatin and taxol 3 weeks apart. 5 days for 5 weeks radiation combined with 1 day chemotherapy cisplatin. Followed by 2 more rounds of carboplatin and taxol.  This seems so much for 1 body to endure.  Wondering how I will get through  it . Treatment will begin tomorrow. So nervous!

Thanks for all of your info u have passed to me !

Warmly,  Michelle 

Ribbons's picture
Ribbons
Posts: 73
Joined: Jan 2019

Another thing, if your white blood count goes too low you might be given Neulasta, and if that happens there are a couple of side effects from that, wasn’t too bad for me. Also you can look up Healthwell Foundation. They sometimes cover the cost of Neulasta for “chemo induced neutropenia”, That’s what it is called.

Feelingalone74
Posts: 227
Joined: Jun 2019

Ok thanks Ribbons! 

Michelle

MAbound
Posts: 860
Joined: Jun 2016

Maybe I worded that 1st paragraph wrong. It's not that they necessarily want you to eat cheese, eggs, milk, and cider during chemo per se, it's that if you are one of those people into the whole drinking milk raw thing touted as healthier by some, you need to refrain from doing that during treatment and stick with using pasteurized products rather than unpasteurized. They give the same advice to pregnant women. It's the avoiding unpasteurized foods that's more important than eating those particular foods.

If your taste buds or appetite isn't up to having cider, then don't think its something you're supposed to be having. You can really eat whatever works for you during chemo, but there are some things recommended because it makes chemo easier and/or safer for you. You were cautioned about unpasteurized cheese because of your potentially inability to fight off a food born infection when your blood counts are down. I saw it as an opportunity to make sure that you had on your radar to guard against other sources of infection by getting a flu shot, frequent handwashing, and limiting exposure to places where people still go even when they are sick.

Many people continue to work through treatment. There is often no choice about whether or not to do so because of financial or insurance considerations. Given that you'd be working with children who are not the best at keeping their germs to themselves, I'd talk to your oncologist about it to see if there is an ideal way to do what you want to do. Short of putting yourself in a bubble, there really is no way to completely protect yourself. You just want to be aware to protect yourself to the extent that you can to lessen your odds of getting sick for a while. 

 

barnyardgal
Posts: 212
Joined: Oct 2017

Michelle

I worked part time at a public library when I was diagnosed. I kept working but brought a mask and I could put it on when someone walked in with a bad cold, etc. One day someone came in with pneumonia because she wanted movies to watch! I went to the employee workroom for that one.

Feelingalone74
Posts: 227
Joined: Jun 2019

Barnyardgal, that's good to know that u were able to work part time and were prepared with a mask. Yikes ...pneumonia and going out for movies! Good thinking heading the the breakroom. 

A friend suggested a mask at school but I dont want to scare the kids. I guess time and how my body feels will tell. But hoping I can at least do a few days as being home all the time while my husband and son are at work is hard. I also need my racing mind to be busy. 

Michelle

Feelingalone74
Posts: 227
Joined: Jun 2019

Ok, no worries on wording.  I understand what you were saying.  You have been a huge help as I TRY to prepare for tomorrow. 

In so grateful for u all on here. 

Wishing u well Mabound as well as everyone on here. 

Warmly,  Michelle

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1534
Joined: Jun 2015

You have this Michelle! You will do great tomorrow. And, once this one is done you will feel a lot better. The unknown is way harder emotionally than once you know what to expect.

Your best day this week will be the day after tomorrow. Just remember to listen to your body and rest as much as needed. Walk some when you can. Drink loads of water and remember to take Miralax. 

As many others know and several remind us.... You are stronger than you think!

Love and Hugs,

Cindi

Armywife's picture
Armywife
Posts: 294
Joined: Feb 2018

How are you?  I remember you started chemo a couple days ago.  Please let us know how you are feeling!  No alarm if you're starting to feel a little worse than infusion day - that's normal.  A few puny days and then you'll start to perk up again!

zsazsa1
Posts: 322
Joined: Oct 2018

Michelle, thinking of you.  For me, if day 1 was infusion day, worst days were days 3-6.  And for some reason, the first round was by far the worst!  So if this round is hard, remember - a lot of people report that it gets easier after first round.  Keep drinking water to wash the chemo through your kidneys and bladder.  Take antiemetic if you need it - and don't hesitate to ask for ondansetron if you're having severe nausea.  It was a lifesaver for me.

If I were you, I would not set foot in the school until you've recovered from chemo and radiation.  Stay home.  Wear a mask when you go out.  Avoid touching things with your bare hands outside house.  If I went out, I wore gloves and a mask.  I didn't get any cold viruses during treatment, over an entire winter.

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