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Effects of Chemo

Posts: 10
Joined: Aug 2001

I am a 54 year old female. I was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer in March of 2001.I was a heavy smoker but quit the day they found the tumor. I was very lucky they found it early. I had xrays for pneumonia. I went through 33 radiation treatments along with Chemo. After radiation they changed my dosage of Cisplatnum and Etoposide. I was told cancer was gone on cat scan done in June. Lymph nodes still a little enlarged. I got deadthly sick from Chemo in both June and July. In July they decided I can not take anti nasuea drugs orally so now I am getting IV fluids plus anti nasuea by IV.
In June and July my bloods went to deadly low levels and so did my potassium. I was given special IV's for that. I just went for round 5 of 6 chemo treatments and was sent home for a week cause my white count is now way down.
I am a positive person but am scared to death to get the next chemo. They are going to give IV fluids for 3 days after my 3 days of chemo. Doctor says it should be better. He is doing cat scan after 5 treatments and will then decide if I need #6.
Radiation Doctor wants to do Preventive Cranial Radiation but only if Lymph Nodes are back to normal. This will effect my short term memory for ever. Is this what I want or do I take my chances with this cancer?
My family is great but there are times when I need to reach out to people like me. I have 3 cancer survivors I talk with but 2 were breast cancer and 1 was colon cancer and none of them have had the treatment protocol I am getting. They all had Chemo but no Radiation.

imagemkr's picture
Posts: 34
Joined: Mar 2001

Hi, Just went through what you did and then some but I made it through it, and it sounds like you are too, I know it has been a hard journey, from what I know if they give you the fluids prior to the chemo it is much better, my nurse and friend tells me that the first chemo is the one that gets the majority of the cancer and the rest are preventative, so don't be scared. Small cell is nothing to mess with, you figure you had a one in five cahcnnce of getting cancer from smoking and we did not beat the odds so listen to me when I say that we have a 20% higher survival rate with the pci, and there is not short term memory loss, that is a load of crap, there is an outside chance that we may suffer from demensia when we get older. I am in my 8 the session of 15 of the pci, anything above 300 you loose your hair perminantly, but we get 3000 for preventative, scalp and forehead will get irratated, and we will loose our hair about one week after treatment, I am tired like someone unplugged me, and there is some brain swelling which causes me some slight achey feeling at the forehead,I just take ibepropeen, take care of it. my friend is doing this treatment too, so it is the same. They told me to expect soreness at the throat and back upper jaw, the good part is that the treatment only lasts about 2 minutes. The mask is tight, but the time is short, the staff is quick to get it off when the treatment is over. The ticket here is to survive, and we won this round so dont put your guns down yet, their chemo has left us defenseless, build your body back up. Take care, Terri

Posts: 10
Joined: Aug 2001

Terri, Thanks for the update. I was not told about the mask. Do you have a miserable cough? I can't get rid of it. Almost like post nasal drip. I was told 15 treatments also. Do you take IP6 or Issiac Tea. I swear they have helped in my remission and I use both daily. I have been cutting back on the tea but will take the IP6 forever. When I asked my Doc about it I was told he has a lot of patients on it but since it is a health food they can't recommend it. It is a natural fighter and rebuilds healthy cells.
I will get through this with Gods love and my family. I am just down cause I keep getting sicker after every treatment. They just keep killing more healthy tissue since the cancer is gone.
I don't have any hair now since the chemo so I can't lose what I don't have right now. I still have a lot of very sore spots on my front, back and sides from the radiation I already had. I actually had a burn that broke open and was ugly for weeks. My skin will always be a different color there.

Posts: 10
Joined: May 2001

Hello, your case sounds alot like my daddies.
He is only 50 years old and was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma in March of 2000.
They also thought he had pneumonia, and then they found the tumor in his lung. He went through 6 weeks of radiation and also the same chemo that you took. They told him that he was in remission, but he wasn't we found that out later after changing doctors.
They did find his early and I think that has really helped him. He took more chemo and the tumor shrunk, but eventually the chemo quit working and now he is taking taxol. Hopefully it will work!! We did find out on his last ct scan that the cancer had spread to his stomach and back and grew in his lung.
But all in all I would say that he has done really well. It has been 18 months now and he is still here with us and he is not bed ridden. They wanted him to do the radiation on his brain as a precaution, but he wouldn't do it. He said he didn't want to forget his memories.
I wish you all of the best and I hope you get better. Just remember there is always hope and prayers.
Do you know anything about the drug Iressa that they are talking about?

Best wishes,

Posts: 10
Joined: Aug 2001

I know nothing of the drug Iressa. I am being treated at a major medical center. When I go on Monday I will ask some questions. My bone marrow showed no further cancer and the full body scan showed no hot spots. The last cat scan of chest showed no tumor at all.The 2 nodes in my chest were still a little enlarged. Docs feel one is scar tissue and other is still absorbing dead tumor. Next cat scan is scheduled for August 28th will hopefully know then.
Please keep in touch and I wish your Dad well.

Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2001

I would not recomend the cranial radiation, my husband had it and it did nothing but ruin the quality of life he had the last 3 months of his life. Good luck

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