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starting chemo

Posts: 25
Joined: Feb 2004

hello again,
i'm starting my chemo this friday which is going to be a 48hr. drip with oxy and 5fu.i'm told that i'll be getting oxy through my port(which i just got implanted today) and then a push of 5fu and then a drip of 5fu for 48hrs.i'm wondering if any of you can tell me what to expect from this treatment.just so you know,i'm a 47 yr. old male who is in pretty decent shape(at least i think i am)other than the cancer.
any feedback would be appreciated.thanks so much.god bless everyone on this board and all cancer patients and their caregivers!

Posts: 14
Joined: Jul 2004

Hi There!
My husband (28) is currently on the exact same treatment you will be starting. He is in the middle of 10 of 12 treatments. Everyone has different experiences and reactions to the drugs -- but I can tell you what has really annoyed Mike the most.
1) Neuropathy -- tingling, numbness, burning in the hands and feet and throat -- especially bad when exposed to cold. Mike loves cold drinks and this has been the toughest symptom for him.
2) Fatigue -- the fatigue gets to be pretty serious. He sleeps for most of his 48 hour treatment and most of the following weekend. If he overextends himself, he has to take a nap.
3) Other little symptoms include light hair loss, nausea, dehydration, rashes, peeling skin, nose bleeds, constipation, diahrrea, bleeding with BMs, sore muscles, metallic tastes.
The tough thing about this treatment is that the symptoms are cummulative. Every treatment gets a little worse and it takes a little longer to recover from each one. But Mike does start feeling kind of normal again about a week after his treatment. You will have periods of feeling pretty good in between treatments. Make the most of this time. Eat well, rehydrate yourself, and have fun!
Well, I hope I haven't freaked you out too much. I hope you find some kind of comfort with this information. Listen to your body. Sleep when you need to. Try to get all of your vitamins and nutrients in. Be good to yourself so that your body can heal. I wish you the best of luck! Hang in there -- and stay positive. The chemo stinks -- but remember, it's in their killing any nasty cancer cells.

Posts: 768
Joined: Aug 2004

Hi lawlette. I started this treatment on Monday. So, I'm in the same boat as you. 42yr.old female, healthy and active. ( which helps).

So far I've only had a couple of little things. The most noticable was an intense pain in the jaw ( at the back) when I started eating anything. I think that started on the second day. Called the nurses and they said it was normal and would pass in a couple of days. ( It really only hurt on the first couple of bites, then I think the jaw loosens up) So, don't freak on that one.

I also had a minor stomach ache most of Tuesday night and Wed. Not nausea, just an "icky" feeling. Managable for sure.

They gave me some sort of steriod with my treatment to help the anti-nausea drug. That gave me a wicked facial flush on Tuesday morning. Again, nothing more than warm and flushed.

I have to admit that I was exhausted yesterday (3rd day). But, I haven't had a good nights sleep in months. Along with hot flashes due to immediate menopause ( surgery), this is going to be some ride.

From what I hear, this isn't that bad a course of treatment. Meaning there are a lot tougher ones. Not that this is going to be easy, but take some comfort in the fact that it could be a lot worse.

I had 5FU for 24/7 for 6 weeks. Never had any of the side effects they talk about except the diarreha. But, I also had intense radiation to that area at the same time.

Being healthy really helps. Drink lots of water. It flushes out all the nasties. Try to rest when you need it, but don't stop exercising. Walk, swim, whatever makes you feel good. Just listen to your body.

I'm in this one with you. Here's raising a glass to all those on chemo ( a warm glass! :) )

Feel good. And don't forget to LAUGH!!!!


kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi again--all of the above--my oncologist told me that the best way to deal with chemo is to take notice of what your body is telling you.Do not overdo things as even tho you may feel reasonably well the chemo will catch up with you and knock you around. Make sure that you tell your onc./clinic nurses ANY concerns even if you may think they are minor. Do not try to weather thru any side-effects you may have--there is almost always a medication that will help, if not to stop the side-effects, certainly to reduce them.
Our very best to you--luv n huggs--kanga and Jen

Anonymous user (not verified)

Hi. My husband Bert, 51 soon to be 52 just got done with this treatment for stage III, diagnosed July 2003 at time of surgery. He preceded the Folfox 4 (I think that's what it's called) treatment with four months of just 5fu/leuc...then switched to the 5fu/lecu/oxil...administered in the same manner as yours.

I have to honestly say that for the most part, Bert was fine throughout his entire treatment of this combo for the full six months that he had it. He did have some neuropathy, bearable and usually gone within a couple of days after treatment. Fatique, yes but not too bad. He managed to continue working full time throughout. He never developed any mouth sores or rashes but did, on occassion, get a sore throat and sore jaws...again, gone a few days after each treatment.

Everyone reacts differently and sometimes doseage adjustment is necessary. Keep the faith and go kick some cancer butt!!! :-)

Monika & Bert

Posts: 100
Joined: Mar 2004

Hello -
So sorry to hear that you need to go through this. I would share my mom's experience with chemo -

She had 5/fu for six months (one week on, three weeks off), as well as radiation in month 6 for 30 days.

She tolerated her treatment very well - she would feel a little bit tired the day after her treatment, but then by week two she would have her energy back. During the last month, the cumulative effects began to show and her hair thinned just a little bit and she was very tired. On the bright side, one month after her treatment she was feeling 100% back to normal. In fact, she told me that she felt that this whole nightmare didn't even happen.

Stay strong over the next little while and soon it will be over!

Btrcup's picture
Posts: 287
Joined: Jun 2004

Hi! My hubby was dx stage IV in Feb. (mets to 13 out of 21 lymphnodes & omentum). He is 42. Tumor was removed along with 10 in of colon & 10 in of sm intestine. He started chemo in April (Oxy, 5FU and leukovorin). Avastin was added to the mix a couple of weeks later. After port was inserted, he started getting Avastin, Oxy & Leuko every 2 weeks at onc office, then comes home for 48 hr drip of 5fu.

He has been tolerating relatively well. His biggest complaints are diarrhea, tingling in hands and metallic taste. Doc just stopped the Oxy last week for fear of long term nerve damage (hubby plays drums). We have a consultation next week and will find out more.

Good luck to you. You will be in our prayers.

Linda (Baltimore, MD)

Posts: 120
Joined: Apr 2004

Mu hubby had 9 treatments of oxy/5ur/leocorvorin every other week. He tolerated it very well.
He started his treatment in Jan. so the cold weather here in the northeast did not help. Had to keep his hands and face cover with scarf.
Eating and drinking cold items for the first few days bothered him. He would get red in the face the first few days. We called it his chemo tan.
He is now getting preventive treatment after liver surgery and the side-effects are stronger than the first round. Tingling in fingers and feet. Also the air condition at work can have effect on his voice.
He also experience high blood pressure, but they are able to control with meds. His weight and appetite remain the same, and he did not experience any nauseu.
Make sure you drink lots of water before and after treatment.
Best of luck to you.

scouty's picture
Posts: 1976
Joined: Apr 2004

I have been on the folfox 6 (oxy w/ leuc thru the port, a push of 5FU, then the 46 hr drip) regime with avastin since the first of april. Stage IV with a few mets to liver and 1 to the lungs. The first 3 months were not so bad for me. I found hydrating imperative along with eating while on the drip. My appetite dropped over the course of the drip so I had to make myself eat and I tired to eat things that would absorb the junk in my tummy (rice, oatmeal, bread). The metallic taste gets nastier over time but I have found that lemons really help me. I will suck on a slice of a lemon before I eat and then food taste almost normal (for a little while). It doesn't stay that way for long but it is nice to almost taste the real food again. I also found scratching and then sniffing a lemon helped with my tummy symptoms (the pre nausea stuff).

I found that if I get off my butt the day after I am "unhooked", I recover quicker. I can't do as much now as I could the first 3 months but I still get out in the yard and do something. The fresh air just seems to help the ole blood stream and my attitude flowing in the postive direction.

I live alone and was stressing over my house staying clean and my yard mowed. I now have friends help with that or pay someone to do it for me so I can do the things I "want" to do. Eat right and putter around doing other things. I prepare for my chemo treatment by going to the grocery store and running errands in advance so I can do much of nothing while on the drip.

One really strange side effect that I have is...being a blue eyed one, I cry at hallmark commercials, and if I cry the first few days after chemo, it burns like hell. Stops me from crying very quickly!!!! Like the jaw pain, it doesn't last very long.

I truly believe that the mind has a lot to do with how you handle chemo. If you think it will be nasty, it will. So try to ignore the fact that you are on chemo (I know that is easier said then done but....). I now sleep soundly (didn't really before due to work stresses) 10-12 hours a night. I don't nap but sometimes I do go to bed at 8 at nite. I sit alot. I now have a chair that I sit on in my kitchen so I can cook. Standing for prolonged periods of time tires me quickly.

As everyone else has said, listen to your bod.

The best to you and ask any questions you may have. We are all here for the same reason....to fight the "******* cells"!!!!!!

Lisa P.

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