Help Dealing with Nausea, Muscle Aches, Etc

lmilam
lmilam Member Posts: 3
Hi All,

I am new to the discussion board, after having been recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer stage 1C clear cell. I underwent surgery on 2/3/11 to remove the cancer along with a full hysterectomy, removal of lymph nodes and debulking procedure. The only cancer found was in the left ovary thank heavens.

Last Friday was my first chemo session of 6 of carbo/taxol and I am experiencing problems with nausea, tiredness and muscle aches. Any suggestions on ways to deal with it would be very helpful. I have prescription meds but they irritate my stomach. I have zofran, lorazapam, dexamethasome, vicodin and hydromorphone.

Also, I was wondering at what point will I lose my hair as they have told me this will happen. Am also experiencing a lot of problems with being depressed.

Thank heavens I found this site because I did get a port put in and am glad after seeing how much lab work is involved. So thanks to all for posting their helpful tips here.

Any suggestions on how to get through this would very much appreciate.

Lisa

Comments

  • Rookerbird
    Rookerbird Member Posts: 100
    Hello Lisa
    Lisa, there are many wise, helpful women on this board, and you will be getting lots of solid, practical tips.

    The single most important thing I can recommend is establishing and maintaining good 2-way communication between you and your doctor. It's a bummer, but the side effects you are experiencing are common ones. Taking anti-nausea meds, steroids, etc. exactly as he or she prescribed for the full duration of the prescription will help with the side effects. If some of the meds irritate your stomach, please discuss it with your medical team, and see what alternatives they can recommend. Also, my doctor stressed that I should not take any medications or supplements beyond what he'd prescribed without clearing it with him first.

    Many hospitals have support groups for ovarian cancer and/or can connect you with folks who understand the depression we sometimes feel, and can offer coping strategies. Again, I'd start by asking your doctor for suggestions.

    If my memory is right, my hair began to fall out about 20 days after my first Taxol/carbo infusion. Once that happened, my stylist cut it Jamie Lee Curtis-short so that I wouldn't shed hair all over the place (I had LONG hair...) The hair loss is sad, but I actually had fun accessorizing with scarves and hats. And there are a ton of gorgeous wigs to choose from!

    This board has helped me enormously, and you'll find plenty of help here. Welcome!
  • lmilam
    lmilam Member Posts: 3

    Hello Lisa
    Lisa, there are many wise, helpful women on this board, and you will be getting lots of solid, practical tips.

    The single most important thing I can recommend is establishing and maintaining good 2-way communication between you and your doctor. It's a bummer, but the side effects you are experiencing are common ones. Taking anti-nausea meds, steroids, etc. exactly as he or she prescribed for the full duration of the prescription will help with the side effects. If some of the meds irritate your stomach, please discuss it with your medical team, and see what alternatives they can recommend. Also, my doctor stressed that I should not take any medications or supplements beyond what he'd prescribed without clearing it with him first.

    Many hospitals have support groups for ovarian cancer and/or can connect you with folks who understand the depression we sometimes feel, and can offer coping strategies. Again, I'd start by asking your doctor for suggestions.

    If my memory is right, my hair began to fall out about 20 days after my first Taxol/carbo infusion. Once that happened, my stylist cut it Jamie Lee Curtis-short so that I wouldn't shed hair all over the place (I had LONG hair...) The hair loss is sad, but I actually had fun accessorizing with scarves and hats. And there are a ton of gorgeous wigs to choose from!

    This board has helped me enormously, and you'll find plenty of help here. Welcome!

    Thanks!
    Rookerbird, thanks for responding. I will definitely keep it all in mind. I don't know why I am so hung up on losing my hair. It's just hair for gosh sake. I guess I need a trip to the salon here soon to cut it. I believe I would rather control it than have it fall out in long clumps. I'm just having such a hard time with crying all the time right now since my first session. Is that common?
  • lulu1010
    lulu1010 Member Posts: 367
    lmilam said:

    Thanks!
    Rookerbird, thanks for responding. I will definitely keep it all in mind. I don't know why I am so hung up on losing my hair. It's just hair for gosh sake. I guess I need a trip to the salon here soon to cut it. I believe I would rather control it than have it fall out in long clumps. I'm just having such a hard time with crying all the time right now since my first session. Is that common?

    Lisa
    I found myself crying over everything so I got a mild dose of anti-depressant. I dont know if I really need it but I have been doing well on it so I keep taking it. I was very upset about losing the hair also. Once it started falling out it was continually falling out a little at a time so it was best just to go have it shaved. It was about 3 weeks after starting Taxol also. Good luck!
  • srwruns
    srwruns Member Posts: 343
    Same DX
    Hi there! I have exactly the same DX 1c Clear Cell. I will be having my last chemo on March 11. Yes, I had many of the same issues. I'll address some, recognize that they are from my perspective, and individually we may have different reactions or make different choices.

    Hair: Especially between chemo 2 and 3, coming out alot; big mess; had it cut really short; then shaved my head just prior to chemo 3. I didn't have great hair to begin with but seeing myself bald was disheartening. I quickly got used to it. The loss of my eyebrows and eyelashes has been more of a downer for me.

    Aches/nausea/tiredness: For about 4 days after chemo I would have those same issues with exception of nausea. I took Zofran every eight hours, if it felt like I needed it not, for nausea. The thing with nausea is to stay on top of it; don't let it creep up on you because you think you feel ok; because it is VERY HARD to get rid of it once it starts. I didn't learn that so much from chemo as from my many years of off-shore sailing. I take Zofran every 8 hours for about 3 days post chemo. The aches I use tylenol, but again they have only lasted for less than 4 days post chemo. Tiredness: I rest; however, I try never to miss my walks or a chance to "work out" in some way. I firmly believe that some level of daily exercise is critical to the successful management of chemo.
    Overall, I would characterize my three week intervals as: about 3 to 4 days of easily managed "yuck" feeling and the reaminder of the time I feel quite good and get alot accomplished. That being said; although I feel "good" be aware that internally your blood is being seriously compromised: esp. the white blood counts that fight off infection; so lots of hand washing; avoiding sick people, crowds; washing food really well. There doesn't appear to be any external symptoms for how low your white blood counts are going unless you get an infection, such as a simple cold and you can't fight it off and it becomes a serious issue.
    Constipation is a major issue for most people on chemo. It's more related to the meds addressing the side effects than the actual chemo drug. I use Miralax around chemo time. The rest of the time I am pretty regular and if I notice I haven't had a BM in 2 or 3 days then I'll take a Miralax or Sennokot.
    I can't say it enough: keep moving and getting exercise, even very mild and moderate exercise during chemo. Walking, yoga, stationary bike, treadmill...anything to keep moving.
    Depression: Were you depressed prior to DX? I have had some ups and downs during chemo (not so much depression as anxiety) and mainly I just weather it out by getting out for a walk or some type of exercise. If I were to get significantly depressed or anxious I would not hesitate to look into medication as a bridge to getting back on an even keel. Managing chemo and a cancer DX is a major life crisis. If one is also saddled with significant depression or anxiety it can create a viscious, viscious cycle that is far more unhealthy than using some reputable medications for a period of time. There are lots of other ladies on here who can chime in with their experience on dealing with depression...it's common...easy to understand. So if it's medicated or dealt with in some other way is very individual. I do take an ativan the night of chemo, not so much for depression/anxiety but for sleep since the steroids given during chemo make my legs dance all night.

    Sorry you needed to find your way to a board like this, but you have come to a great place. Having the same DX I look forward to staying in touch with you. Susan
  • kikz
    kikz Member Posts: 1,345 Member
    srwruns said:

    Same DX
    Hi there! I have exactly the same DX 1c Clear Cell. I will be having my last chemo on March 11. Yes, I had many of the same issues. I'll address some, recognize that they are from my perspective, and individually we may have different reactions or make different choices.

    Hair: Especially between chemo 2 and 3, coming out alot; big mess; had it cut really short; then shaved my head just prior to chemo 3. I didn't have great hair to begin with but seeing myself bald was disheartening. I quickly got used to it. The loss of my eyebrows and eyelashes has been more of a downer for me.

    Aches/nausea/tiredness: For about 4 days after chemo I would have those same issues with exception of nausea. I took Zofran every eight hours, if it felt like I needed it not, for nausea. The thing with nausea is to stay on top of it; don't let it creep up on you because you think you feel ok; because it is VERY HARD to get rid of it once it starts. I didn't learn that so much from chemo as from my many years of off-shore sailing. I take Zofran every 8 hours for about 3 days post chemo. The aches I use tylenol, but again they have only lasted for less than 4 days post chemo. Tiredness: I rest; however, I try never to miss my walks or a chance to "work out" in some way. I firmly believe that some level of daily exercise is critical to the successful management of chemo.
    Overall, I would characterize my three week intervals as: about 3 to 4 days of easily managed "yuck" feeling and the reaminder of the time I feel quite good and get alot accomplished. That being said; although I feel "good" be aware that internally your blood is being seriously compromised: esp. the white blood counts that fight off infection; so lots of hand washing; avoiding sick people, crowds; washing food really well. There doesn't appear to be any external symptoms for how low your white blood counts are going unless you get an infection, such as a simple cold and you can't fight it off and it becomes a serious issue.
    Constipation is a major issue for most people on chemo. It's more related to the meds addressing the side effects than the actual chemo drug. I use Miralax around chemo time. The rest of the time I am pretty regular and if I notice I haven't had a BM in 2 or 3 days then I'll take a Miralax or Sennokot.
    I can't say it enough: keep moving and getting exercise, even very mild and moderate exercise during chemo. Walking, yoga, stationary bike, treadmill...anything to keep moving.
    Depression: Were you depressed prior to DX? I have had some ups and downs during chemo (not so much depression as anxiety) and mainly I just weather it out by getting out for a walk or some type of exercise. If I were to get significantly depressed or anxious I would not hesitate to look into medication as a bridge to getting back on an even keel. Managing chemo and a cancer DX is a major life crisis. If one is also saddled with significant depression or anxiety it can create a viscious, viscious cycle that is far more unhealthy than using some reputable medications for a period of time. There are lots of other ladies on here who can chime in with their experience on dealing with depression...it's common...easy to understand. So if it's medicated or dealt with in some other way is very individual. I do take an ativan the night of chemo, not so much for depression/anxiety but for sleep since the steroids given during chemo make my legs dance all night.

    Sorry you needed to find your way to a board like this, but you have come to a great place. Having the same DX I look forward to staying in touch with you. Susan

    Chemo blues
    My hair started falling out 13 days after my first infusion. It was hard to deal with even though I knew it was going to happen. So I had my hairdresser cut if off and shave my head. I found it impowering. I liked my bald look. My mom called me her mannequin. I also got a lot of compliments on what a nicely shaped head I have. Strange that I never knew that and wouldn't have if not for the lovely chemo. My cousin and her son both shaved their heads to support me.

    I had my final infusion on 9/16/2010 and my hair has grown in thicker and a little curly. I normally have fine, staight hair. I have had two haircuts. I usually wear my hair short.

    I still have aches and pains especially in my legs and knees. I am just about to let my doctor know that it seems to be getting worse. I really don't want to take any medication for it though.

    Hope everything goes well for you.

    Karen
  • NCEllen
    NCEllen Member Posts: 115
    Hair and the 'Comb-Over'
    My hair started to come out after the 2nd infusion. I always had straight/long hair - it was easy to manage for me. So, just prior to my first treatment I had cut it neck length. When it started to come out, each morning I would lean over my sink (lined with a couple of paper towels) and comb my hair from back to front. I would get all the loose hair out and then take my hair scissors and cut bangs. I got one of those old lady hair nets (the cafeteria type hair nets) and would put that on my head to hold it in place. I then bought a do-rag head cover at the drug store, tied it in the back and secured the whole 'bow' with a ponytail band.
    Over this I can wear different headbands, scarves and hats. The baseball caps that adjust in the back -I pull the 'bow' through the hole where a ponytail would go so my bald spots are covered up. It's worked this time around also.
    It's silly I know, but my comb over bangs albeit sparse, still give me a little lift in my looks. My little bangs also help cover my decreasing eyebrows which I can shadow as well as the depleting eyelashes which I still usse a shadow and liner. Just something I do for me.

    I don't look at myself without a headcover very often- I spook myself, but I know I'm not alone with the unique look :). I know it will all eventually fall out by the time my last treatment comes around. I hope there is another chance that it will grow back. If I remain on maintenance chemo after this go 'round and I never have hair again, I can and will work through it like so many other women on this board...it is what it is.

    For some reason I have more confidence in my ability to go out with scarves and caps this time than I did last time. It's almost as if I want to say - take a look at me, I wear TEAL! I have cancer, ovarian cancer - let me educate you about this terrible disease that never gets enough attention. There's a reason it's called 'the disease that whispers'. I'd like to change the volume on that one because I/We tend to want to scream once we are diagnosed!!!
    Sorry for the rant - scream first - whisper never.

    I do take Zoloft (not a big believer in anti-depressants), but my doc said to give it a try and it works somehow. ?????? I take Emend for nausea for about 3 days after tx and Percocet for bone/muscle pain- but I cut it in half. I also take an Ativan at night to help me sleep.

    Keep your days sparked with the hope of a better tomorrow (or minute or hour!!) El
  • joan60
    joan60 Member Posts: 89
    NCEllen said:

    Hair and the 'Comb-Over'
    My hair started to come out after the 2nd infusion. I always had straight/long hair - it was easy to manage for me. So, just prior to my first treatment I had cut it neck length. When it started to come out, each morning I would lean over my sink (lined with a couple of paper towels) and comb my hair from back to front. I would get all the loose hair out and then take my hair scissors and cut bangs. I got one of those old lady hair nets (the cafeteria type hair nets) and would put that on my head to hold it in place. I then bought a do-rag head cover at the drug store, tied it in the back and secured the whole 'bow' with a ponytail band.
    Over this I can wear different headbands, scarves and hats. The baseball caps that adjust in the back -I pull the 'bow' through the hole where a ponytail would go so my bald spots are covered up. It's worked this time around also.
    It's silly I know, but my comb over bangs albeit sparse, still give me a little lift in my looks. My little bangs also help cover my decreasing eyebrows which I can shadow as well as the depleting eyelashes which I still usse a shadow and liner. Just something I do for me.

    I don't look at myself without a headcover very often- I spook myself, but I know I'm not alone with the unique look :). I know it will all eventually fall out by the time my last treatment comes around. I hope there is another chance that it will grow back. If I remain on maintenance chemo after this go 'round and I never have hair again, I can and will work through it like so many other women on this board...it is what it is.

    For some reason I have more confidence in my ability to go out with scarves and caps this time than I did last time. It's almost as if I want to say - take a look at me, I wear TEAL! I have cancer, ovarian cancer - let me educate you about this terrible disease that never gets enough attention. There's a reason it's called 'the disease that whispers'. I'd like to change the volume on that one because I/We tend to want to scream once we are diagnosed!!!
    Sorry for the rant - scream first - whisper never.

    I do take Zoloft (not a big believer in anti-depressants), but my doc said to give it a try and it works somehow. ?????? I take Emend for nausea for about 3 days after tx and Percocet for bone/muscle pain- but I cut it in half. I also take an Ativan at night to help me sleep.

    Keep your days sparked with the hope of a better tomorrow (or minute or hour!!) El

    aches and pains
    After chemo was done I had horrible leg pains, my Dr. put me on Neurontin and it did help. Plus I took lots of bubble baths which do wonders too. (wish I had a hot tub). My hair fell out 3 weeks after chemo, it was hard but I kept telling myself the chemo is working. I wore mostly hats as it was to hot for my wig, you do get used to no hair and will leave the house before you realize you forgot your hat. I'm going through chemo again and my hair is falling out again after 5 treatments not as hard as first time. Also taking vitamin B-6 helps with leg pain too.
    Hope this helps,
    Joan
  • carolenk
    carolenk Member Posts: 907 Member
    joan60 said:

    aches and pains
    After chemo was done I had horrible leg pains, my Dr. put me on Neurontin and it did help. Plus I took lots of bubble baths which do wonders too. (wish I had a hot tub). My hair fell out 3 weeks after chemo, it was hard but I kept telling myself the chemo is working. I wore mostly hats as it was to hot for my wig, you do get used to no hair and will leave the house before you realize you forgot your hat. I'm going through chemo again and my hair is falling out again after 5 treatments not as hard as first time. Also taking vitamin B-6 helps with leg pain too.
    Hope this helps,
    Joan

    Hair loss
    My hair fell out 3 weeks after chemo but (so far) I still have eyebrows and eyelashes. Have you looked into getting a wig? Mine had to be ordered from the wig shop and took a week to arrive.

    My hair actually hurt to touch and I ended up shaving my head smooth with a safety razor because it felt weird under the wig otherwise.

    My hair started growing back in January. I stopped using taxol in November. I'll be wearing the wig for a while still.

    I think crying/weeping is to be expected. Chemo messes up your brain chemistry--not to mention what the cancer diagnosis does. I can see how anti-depressants would help but the crying has not been a big problem for me...usually only lasts a week after chemo.

    C
  • carolenk
    carolenk Member Posts: 907 Member
    NCEllen said:

    Hair and the 'Comb-Over'
    My hair started to come out after the 2nd infusion. I always had straight/long hair - it was easy to manage for me. So, just prior to my first treatment I had cut it neck length. When it started to come out, each morning I would lean over my sink (lined with a couple of paper towels) and comb my hair from back to front. I would get all the loose hair out and then take my hair scissors and cut bangs. I got one of those old lady hair nets (the cafeteria type hair nets) and would put that on my head to hold it in place. I then bought a do-rag head cover at the drug store, tied it in the back and secured the whole 'bow' with a ponytail band.
    Over this I can wear different headbands, scarves and hats. The baseball caps that adjust in the back -I pull the 'bow' through the hole where a ponytail would go so my bald spots are covered up. It's worked this time around also.
    It's silly I know, but my comb over bangs albeit sparse, still give me a little lift in my looks. My little bangs also help cover my decreasing eyebrows which I can shadow as well as the depleting eyelashes which I still usse a shadow and liner. Just something I do for me.

    I don't look at myself without a headcover very often- I spook myself, but I know I'm not alone with the unique look :). I know it will all eventually fall out by the time my last treatment comes around. I hope there is another chance that it will grow back. If I remain on maintenance chemo after this go 'round and I never have hair again, I can and will work through it like so many other women on this board...it is what it is.

    For some reason I have more confidence in my ability to go out with scarves and caps this time than I did last time. It's almost as if I want to say - take a look at me, I wear TEAL! I have cancer, ovarian cancer - let me educate you about this terrible disease that never gets enough attention. There's a reason it's called 'the disease that whispers'. I'd like to change the volume on that one because I/We tend to want to scream once we are diagnosed!!!
    Sorry for the rant - scream first - whisper never.

    I do take Zoloft (not a big believer in anti-depressants), but my doc said to give it a try and it works somehow. ?????? I take Emend for nausea for about 3 days after tx and Percocet for bone/muscle pain- but I cut it in half. I also take an Ativan at night to help me sleep.

    Keep your days sparked with the hope of a better tomorrow (or minute or hour!!) El

    Love your attitude Ellen
    Thanks for being a crusader for the cause. I don't have your courage though I wish I did. I think I am still recovering from the shock of the diagnosis.

    C