1st MEETING WITH CHEMO DOC. Any advice?

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Having my first meeting with chemo doc today. Any advice on questions to ask?

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  • Skiffin16
    Skiffin16 Member Posts: 8,305 Member
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    Chemo Class 101
    My center had a chemo class 101 for the patient and caregiver...

    Very good information on each type of chemo and drug, sheets with details on each, possible side effects, warnings, DO's and DON'Ts, things to look for, emergency numbers day and night...etc...

    Might want to see if they have something like that.

    Take notes, bring someone with you that's going to remember or write down things other than what you are going to hear which is, yada, yada, yada, cancer, yada, yada....

    Get a tour of your center, see what they have for available food and lunches. What you can bring to be more comfy...where the rest rooms are for the chemo receiver, and know to sit close by...cause you're gonna pee...a lot.

    JG
  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,723 Member
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    the time is now
    Hi tuffenuff,

    If there is one thing I learned from this site, it is the variety of chemo treatments available. I heard, as John explained, yada, yada Erbitux, yada, yada…I always wondered how am I going to question the oncologist, but this is your chance, this is the time. Maybe to question the oncologist is the wrong way to phrase it. Get the low down on every option available and why the oncologist feels you are a good candidate for their choice.

    Best of luck,

    Matt
  • ratface
    ratface Member Posts: 1,337 Member
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    CivilMatt said:

    the time is now
    Hi tuffenuff,

    If there is one thing I learned from this site, it is the variety of chemo treatments available. I heard, as John explained, yada, yada Erbitux, yada, yada…I always wondered how am I going to question the oncologist, but this is your chance, this is the time. Maybe to question the oncologist is the wrong way to phrase it. Get the low down on every option available and why the oncologist feels you are a good candidate for their choice.

    Best of luck,

    Matt

    In a nutshell
    HNC patients receive platinum based straight cisplatin, a cocktail of platinum based chemo including cisplatin, or erbitux. Platinum based chemo kills cancer cells and healthy cells and erbitux targets only cancer cells. Platinum based stuff works rather well, in tangent with radiation, Erbitux is sometimes given alone. Cisplatin has been the gold standard for decades. Erbitux seems to be equally proving itself as a viable alternative. Erbiitux can cause horrible rashes but overall is more forgiving to the body than cisplatin. Both carry significant risks for side effects, from hearing loss to kidney failure, to numbness in the hands and feet. The rate of administration and dosage can be adjusted to suit your overall physical ability to tolerate the toxins, from everyday, twice a day to every 21 days. Everyday dosages are smaller. The doctors will consider your current health and go from there. All of these combinations have proven track records as effective. Studies show little difference in the end result based on frequency method or equal overall dosages. Don't fret too much on it, understand what kind you are getting, how often, and the side effects/risks so that you can recognize them if they occur. Eventually you have to jump into the deep water.
  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,723 Member
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    things are getting clearer
    Tuffenuff,

    Thanks ratface, I needed to hear all of that.

    Also, remember, your team will be taking blood for testing (hopefully) every week. I always had to pass my blood test (every Friday) before chemo could be infused.

    Matt
  • tuffenuff
    tuffenuff Member Posts: 277
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    Just came out. The plan is
    Just came out. The plan is Cisplatin weekly so the side effects are more manageable. Starting next Wednesday. They will have Zofran, compazine and Emend waiting for me when I arrive. (is this a bad time to mention that I have a very deep fear of vomiting???)

    He said treatment is usually 6 weeks but I have a treatment planning session for radiology on Wednesday.

    Right this moment I feel as if I'm on a freight train that is careening out of control. But I guess that's pretty common.
  • ratface
    ratface Member Posts: 1,337 Member
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    tuffenuff said:

    Just came out. The plan is
    Just came out. The plan is Cisplatin weekly so the side effects are more manageable. Starting next Wednesday. They will have Zofran, compazine and Emend waiting for me when I arrive. (is this a bad time to mention that I have a very deep fear of vomiting???)

    He said treatment is usually 6 weeks but I have a treatment planning session for radiology on Wednesday.

    Right this moment I feel as if I'm on a freight train that is careening out of control. But I guess that's pretty common.

    And your off
    A plan always feels good. Actually the opposite of the freight train is actually true. Your, blood counts are going to be monitored as well as your kidney output as well as your side effects of vomiting and whatever comes. You've never been so closely watched and taken care of. The plan is valid, now just ride it out.
  • amy_h414
    amy_h414 Member Posts: 98
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    tuffenuff said:

    Just came out. The plan is
    Just came out. The plan is Cisplatin weekly so the side effects are more manageable. Starting next Wednesday. They will have Zofran, compazine and Emend waiting for me when I arrive. (is this a bad time to mention that I have a very deep fear of vomiting???)

    He said treatment is usually 6 weeks but I have a treatment planning session for radiology on Wednesday.

    Right this moment I feel as if I'm on a freight train that is careening out of control. But I guess that's pretty common.

    This is exactly what my
    This is exactly what my husband is doing - 6 weeks cisplatin. He feels pretty good the day of the infusion, probably due to the steroid they give. Then it hits hard the next day and he feels pretty bad for a couple more days. Then a day or two of feeling ok and it's right back for more chemo. He did not get zofran but did get ativan for "anticipatory" nausea. So if just being in the chemo place makes him feel sick, he can take an ativan before he goes in to calm his nerves. This hasn't been an issue for him so he doesn't use it.

    I need to push him to ask for some zofran. The compazine isn't cutting it.
  • tuffenuff
    tuffenuff Member Posts: 277
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    amy_h414 said:

    This is exactly what my
    This is exactly what my husband is doing - 6 weeks cisplatin. He feels pretty good the day of the infusion, probably due to the steroid they give. Then it hits hard the next day and he feels pretty bad for a couple more days. Then a day or two of feeling ok and it's right back for more chemo. He did not get zofran but did get ativan for "anticipatory" nausea. So if just being in the chemo place makes him feel sick, he can take an ativan before he goes in to calm his nerves. This hasn't been an issue for him so he doesn't use it.

    I need to push him to ask for some zofran. The compazine isn't cutting it.

    The Emend is a three pack
    The Emend is a three pack that will be taken once a day for three days. Then zofran every 8 hours and compazine in between at the four hour mark if needed. I feel like the doc is very proactive so the patient has as few issues as possible. Also, my chemo will be on Wednesday but I will also go I on Monday and Friday for IV fluids to keep me hydrated. He said he likes to stay ahead of the game on hydration.

    The surgeon called me tonight. I'm getting my port Thursday.
  • Tim6003
    Tim6003 Member Posts: 1,514 Member
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    tuffenuff said:

    The Emend is a three pack
    The Emend is a three pack that will be taken once a day for three days. Then zofran every 8 hours and compazine in between at the four hour mark if needed. I feel like the doc is very proactive so the patient has as few issues as possible. Also, my chemo will be on Wednesday but I will also go I on Monday and Friday for IV fluids to keep me hydrated. He said he likes to stay ahead of the game on hydration.

    The surgeon called me tonight. I'm getting my port Thursday.

    Sounds great tuffenuff....personally I think you are wonderfully prepared!!!!!

    Prayers for you sir...and I know you will do great!!!!!!!

    Ratface...jeeez man...what an awesome post, that cleared up a lot!!! ...why didn't you put it that way earlier (like when I first got on the site) jk :):):)


    Tim
  • phrannie51
    phrannie51 Member Posts: 4,716
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    The docs plan this stuff like a true battle plan....
    every detail, every possibility is covered. I'm doing the Cisplatin every 3 weeks...so far the "nausea plan" has worked for me, tho I'm in a daze for two days....that's ok, I have hubby to lead me by the hand and say "we're going to rads now, dear" :)...The infusion for Cisplatin is long when it's every three weeks...I go at 8:30, stay till 2:15 when I go for rads, than back for more infusion until about 4:30. Long day!

    I'm getting the same anti-nausea meds as you....Emend for the first couple of day, but then Zofran, compazine, and antivan for as many days after that I feel that I need them. I usually start feeling good again by Sunday.

    I'm having by 3rd infusion tomorrow...so far little in the way of side effects. My hands got tingly for one day last time, then it disappeared. Be SURE to drink lots and lots of water after your chemo. Self-hydration rinses the chemo out of your system...I drink at least a gallon of water for the next 3 days or so (actually, I probably drink almost that much every single day)...

    p
  • tuffenuff
    tuffenuff Member Posts: 277
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    The docs plan this stuff like a true battle plan....
    every detail, every possibility is covered. I'm doing the Cisplatin every 3 weeks...so far the "nausea plan" has worked for me, tho I'm in a daze for two days....that's ok, I have hubby to lead me by the hand and say "we're going to rads now, dear" :)...The infusion for Cisplatin is long when it's every three weeks...I go at 8:30, stay till 2:15 when I go for rads, than back for more infusion until about 4:30. Long day!

    I'm getting the same anti-nausea meds as you....Emend for the first couple of day, but then Zofran, compazine, and antivan for as many days after that I feel that I need them. I usually start feeling good again by Sunday.

    I'm having by 3rd infusion tomorrow...so far little in the way of side effects. My hands got tingly for one day last time, then it disappeared. Be SURE to drink lots and lots of water after your chemo. Self-hydration rinses the chemo out of your system...I drink at least a gallon of water for the next 3 days or so (actually, I probably drink almost that much every single day)...

    p

    I'm glad to hear you've had
    I'm glad to hear you've had few side effects even on the hardcore dose. It makes me more optimistic about tolerating the weekly dose. :o)
  • Skiffin16
    Skiffin16 Member Posts: 8,305 Member
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    EMEND
    Is your friend...great stuff.

    With three types of chemo on the same day, for three cycles (each with EMEND). I never got sick period....awesome stuff.

    JG
  • tuffenuff
    tuffenuff Member Posts: 277
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    Skiffin16 said:

    EMEND
    Is your friend...great stuff.

    With three types of chemo on the same day, for three cycles (each with EMEND). I never got sick period....awesome stuff.

    JG

    Wow! I'm pretty sure I got
    Wow! I'm pretty sure I got this then. Lol.
  • ToBeGolden
    ToBeGolden Member Posts: 695
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    tuffenuff said:

    Wow! I'm pretty sure I got
    Wow! I'm pretty sure I got this then. Lol.

    I had six weeks of
    I had six weeks of cisplatinum and Erbitux plus radiation. It was tolerable. However, it also made me very fatigued. It took about three months to get my energy back. My wife had to take over many routine chores. Don't be afraid to delegate. Don't be afraid to ask for help with day to day activities. Your medical team, your family, and your friends will pull you thru.
  • Skiffin16
    Skiffin16 Member Posts: 8,305 Member
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    I had six weeks of
    I had six weeks of cisplatinum and Erbitux plus radiation. It was tolerable. However, it also made me very fatigued. It took about three months to get my energy back. My wife had to take over many routine chores. Don't be afraid to delegate. Don't be afraid to ask for help with day to day activities. Your medical team, your family, and your friends will pull you thru.

    Very Fatigued Also....
    "My wife had to take over many routine chores."

    That's my story an I'm sticking to it....

    JG
  • tuffenuff
    tuffenuff Member Posts: 277
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    Skiffin16 said:

    Very Fatigued Also....
    "My wife had to take over many routine chores."

    That's my story an I'm sticking to it....

    JG

    my husband isn't so good
    my husband isn't so good with day to day stuff but my mom lives 6 miles away :o)

    i'm one of those weird people who can't sleep when they don't feel well so i will be trying some things to get me sleeping like i should. i know rest is key to healing. to be frank, rest has always seemed overrated because i can think of so many things i would rather do. this will be a real change for me.