Chemotherapy

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  • LisaPizza
    LisaPizza Member Posts: 356 Member

    As someone who did not get a

    As someone who did not get a port, it was not offered, I also figured "it is only six".  Well the education of chemotherapy, after the first treatment, and I also have small veins, I said to the nurse, "that wasn't so bad, we'll have to remember that site for nex time."  That is when she told me "no, that chemo makes your veins hard."  I was sad to hear that and #2 went well three weeks later.  Then I got to treatment 3 and they had to call the IV team.  Boy, that was a tough day.  Since I had radiation 'sandwiched' between the chemo it actually gave my veins a break and I was able to do 4 - 6 ok.  I am still ok with my decision, it was the right one for me, but as you see, a LOT of women have them and I am probably the exception here.  This is just to give you another perspective.

    If this all seems so overwhelming, it is understandable.  Take a breath.  We are all here for you.

    Same here, was told I didn't

    Same here, was told I didn't need one, and did alright. Only one missed stick in six infusions. However, the carboplatin infiltrated in the last 5 or 10 minutes on infusion 3, and my arm was red for weeks (not severe, but pretty significant) and I  thought the bump would never go away (finally did months later). I have noticed that IV and blood sticks ever since chemo have been harder. I was always an easy stick before chemo, and apparently not so much anymore. Would definitely go for a port if I needed any chemo again, but wouldnt go so far as saying I have regrets about not having one rhe first time.

  • NoTimeForCancer
    NoTimeForCancer Member Posts: 3,063 Member
    MAbound said:

    Depends

    I wound up at the same hospital on the same morning to get my port put in as the wife of an usher at my church. I started my chemo a week later and she went straight to an infusion room after her port was put in. It all depends on others schedules I guess, but they don't necessarily wait for your incision to heal before they start using the port.

    Nausea isn't a given and they usually give you medication ahead of time to have on hand if you need it. I never used mine and never had nausea, but others have needed to take it preventively. 

    Chemo slows intestinal peristalsis way down, so constipation is a big deal during chemo. You really have to keep pushing yourself to drink way more than you probably are used to doing and it helps if your oncologist advises a regimen to prevent impaction or blockage. My doctor advised a low fiber diet (eating fiber doesn't work like it normally would and can actually cause a blockage) and taking Miralax twice daily. Some doctors have different preferences or practices, but you really need to take preventive measures for this during chemo because you can end up in an ER with the kind of constipation chemo can cause if you don't. It's as important as icing to prevent neuropathy in my book.

    I remember being with a bunch

    I remember being with a bunch of other patients at the hospital and one of them said, "Miralax is a miracle".  LOL!  I had taking Miralax down to a science.  I think I did it the day before, the day of, and a day or two after.  It was more than the what was said on the label, and I had called the nurses to ask them if it was ok.  (should have bought stock! Wink)  As "MA" said about being ahead of the constipation, I figured after major abdominal surgery the LAST thing I wanted was constipation!  

    I luckily never had horrible nausea, but I had the drugs and used them rarely.  Trader Joe's also had a ginger cookie with little pieces of ginger and nibbled on those as well.  

    I found this site AFTER treatment was done, so you have the advice of people who know on icing to prevent neuropathy!  I had no idea and just got lucky.

    Don't be afraid, you will see chemo is "doable" and we are here for you. 

  • BluebirdOne
    BluebirdOne Member Posts: 572 Member
    No port but I was only

    scheduled for 4 chemo. I had hard hand vein nodules that resolved. No issues otherwise. 

  • Molly110
    Molly110 Member Posts: 191 Member
    Port and Miscellaneous

    I didn't want the port -- after a D&C and hysterectomy I just didn't want one more procedure. After three cycles, though, I gave up and got one, and wished I'd had one all along. My veins are very small, and despite their skill, the infusion and blood draw folks had an increasingly hard time finding veins. I ended up with flibitis (sp?). Getting the port was the only negative care experience I had throughout the chemo and radiation, because the sedation didn't take and I was excruciatingly awake for the entire hour. (I think a half hour is a more common time for the procedure.) It didn't hurt at all, though. I'm anxious about medical stuff, and I should have been more assertive (or assertive at all). I'd gotten spoiled by the wonderful care from my gyn/oncologist and his team, and I guess I expected the same warmth and skill from the interventional radiology people.

    As others have said, you will get through this. I was so scared I came very close to not doing it, even knowing the risk of death. It was nowhere near as hard as I expected. If you, like me, are mostly familiar with chemo from friends or family treated for breast cancer, your regimen will be *nothing* like that. My doctor told me that, and was he ever right. Everyone experiences chemo differently, so there is no sure thing, but there is a lot of support avaiable to you on this site. I echo what others have said -- tell your care team about every single side effect. They will know how to help you. If you ice, and I really enourage you to, you will need to ice 20-30 minutes before the chemo drugs through the entire time and 20-30 minutes after. Your care team will be familiar with the process and can give you the specifics on the timing. Taxol is so associated with neuropathy that I think the damage from carboplatin doesn't get enough attention, so keep icing through the carboplatin. My chemo sessions lastedvabout 5 hours, as they had to slow down the infusion because I reacted to the taxol.

    I know this is terrifying, and it seems like there is so much to take in. I think Zsa Zsa said it perfectly -- this is a time to rely on the expertise of your oncologist and care team. Ask them to explain every single thing, and they will. I really wanted to quit midway through because of the neuropathy, and I found an analysis from a respected clinician in a respected journal that said it would be okay to do that. So I asked my doctor, and he walked me through the problem with that analysis. I so wanted to stop that I just wasn't in a good position to analyze the literature. I was looking for something to tell me it was okay to quit. If you'e not getting your care from an academic medical center where they treat many cancers like yours, you may need to question more, but it sounds like you are not getting your care in a community hospital, so that's good.

    I only had constipation after the surgery, but not from the chemo. Perhaps that was because I drank many gallons of water every day, something unusual for me. My care team recommended it, and it made the difference for me. Lots of women drink the water and get it anyway, but your team will tell you specifically what to do. I worked throughout chemo with no difficulty. I did chemo on Friday so that I would have the weekend to deal with the hyped feeling I get from steriods. The steroids are prescribed for the three days after chemo to help with nausea and other side effects. I never felt nauseated for a moment, although I had a prescription ready at hand if I had. 

    Fatigue didn't hit me until between the fifth and sixth cycles. I worked from home a couple of days a week during that month, which saved me the energy of putting on the wig and walking to the car. If your job requires you to be on your feet a lot, you may not be able to work all the way through. My onccologist tells me that most of his patients who work were able to work throughout the time, and I assume that that has a lot to do with the kind of work one does.

    I'd get the wig ahead of time if you're anxious or sad about hair loss. Your regular stylist may be able to help and advise you. If not, there is a great site for wigs called Patti's Pearls. i've bought many wigs from them, and they will advise you. You can send them a picture of your current hair if you want help with style and color. Wait to buy until they have a 30 percent off sitewide sale, which they do every couple of weeks. I really like Jon Reanu (sp?) wigs; mine looks very much like my own hair on a good day. There is a process for freezing your scalp that works for about half of women. Generally it is thousands of dollars, but through some kind of foundation my cancer center offers it free for all patients. You might want to look into it. I decided against it because the success rate isn't fabulous, and I was so scared that I didn't want to add one more layer of complexity to my treatment. I've second guessed that decision many times since then.

    It stinks that you have cancer -- it stinks that we all have or had cancer -- but there is a lot of help and support to be had. Tell your family and friends how they can help you get through the chemo and radiation. You may not know now what you will need, but you will as you experience it. I'm not a person who asks for help, in general, but I found that my family, friends, and colleagues felt much better when there was something concrete they could do for me. People who love you will be scared, too, and you will be doing them a kindness to let them help you. 

    Take care.

     

     

     

     

  • Burni
    Burni Member Posts: 18 Member
    edited August 2020 #26
    I just finished my 1st chemo

    I just finished my 1st chemo two weeks ago. Mine is also scheduled for 6 times.Im not sure of the dose mine is R- chop but they say 6 times to make sure they get it all.I had very minimal side effects this first time. Day 1-5 I felt really good as I was on 100 mg prednisone.I got the metallic taste and to me everything tasted super salty. On day 8-10 after chemo my back and ribs/bones started to hurt and this coincided with the lab results of super low white blood cells. After a few days they stopped hurting. I rinse my mouth often through the day, drink 80oz of water, take miralax faithfully and walk around my block daily.I will have spinal chemo in 3 days and my 2nd chemo in 8 days.I have Faith in my doctors and hoped you can too

  • NoTimeForCancer
    NoTimeForCancer Member Posts: 3,063 Member
    Burni said:

    I just finished my 1st chemo

    I just finished my 1st chemo two weeks ago. Mine is also scheduled for 6 times.Im not sure of the dose mine is R- chop but they say 6 times to make sure they get it all.I had very minimal side effects this first time. Day 1-5 I felt really good as I was on 100 mg prednisone.I got the metallic taste and to me everything tasted super salty. On day 8-10 after chemo my back and ribs/bones started to hurt and this coincided with the lab results of super low white blood cells. After a few days they stopped hurting. I rinse my mouth often through the day, drink 80oz of water, take miralax faithfully and walk around my block daily.I will have spinal chemo in 3 days and my 2nd chemo in 8 days.I have Faith in my doctors and hoped you can too

    Burni, I read your story when

    Burni, I read your story when I clicked on your name.  Thank you for sharing as I think it is helpful for anyone who comes to CSN.  Please let us know how you are doing as you continue on your journey.

  • TeddyandBears_Mom
    TeddyandBears_Mom Member Posts: 1,811 Member
    Welcome Burni and thank you

    Welcome Burni and thank you for sharing your story. I hope you continue to tolerate the chemo treatments at the level of this first one.  I agree with NoTime that your journey is certainly one that can help all of us. Please continue to stay with us and let us know how you are doing. We will be here for you to offer support and understanding.

    Love and Hugs,

    Cindi