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Chemo - What to expect?

Posts: 62
Joined: Jan 2004


Hello. This is my first post at Cancer Survivors Network. I'm very glad that I found this site. My Dad was recently diagnosed with colon cancer stage III. He had 12" of his colon removed. He had a port put in yesterday, and will start chemotherapy tomorrow. He will be taking 5-FU/Leucovorin and Oxalplatin. He'll do that for 48 hours straight every 12 days (I believe). Can anyone tell me what we should possibly expect as far as tolerating chemo? I realize everyone is different, but I would like to get some kind of "feel". Also, what about the time immediately following the 48 hours of chemo? Does he need someone with him then or do things return to nomral? I live an hour away from him, and I'm wondering if I should go stay with him during the 48 hours, and also possibly this weekend? Sorry for all of the questions. This is a whole new chapter in life. God Bless!

Posts: 238
Joined: Sep 2003


I hate giving tips on chemo because it truly is a completely individual thing. It depends on your present state, your body, the dosages, even where you live (since I'm in Montreal and it's cold, I consider the cold-induced neuropathy from the oxaliplatin to be my worst symptom)! I'm on a oxaliplatin/Xeloda regime. I start the cycle with 135mg/m2 infusion of oxaliplatin over a couple of hours and I take 3000mg of Xeloda (a pill form of 5FU) daily for two weeks. I then have a week off. In my experience, chemo has been tolerable. Certainly not the horror experience ppl. prepared me for anyways. The neuropathy is the worst. It lasts 5-6 days and the cold makes my hands, feet, face, tongue go numb (but I do live in freezing Montreal, when I'm indoors, I'm as happy as a clam)... I also have tightening and cramping in my feet and calves for the first 4 days. My fatigue and nausea lasts for about 3-4 days after the infusion of oxaliplatin. So I usually get my chemo on Tuesday after classes and I'll do nothing for the rest of the evening. Wednesday, I drag myself to a 3-hour seminar class (attendance is worth 30% of my final grade!) but that's all I do. And then I stay home and relax on Thursday and Friday. I have diarrhea pretty much all the time, but I control it with meds and it doesn't get to me that much cause I have a colostomy. After those first 31/2 days, I'm good to go. I volunteer, go to University, go out, ect. I guess I don't have as much energy as the average 21 year old, but I think I do all right. To be honest, I have a hard time convincing "normals" that I can and should live a full life despite cancer and chemo. I understand that it is a scary and uncertain time for you and your father... Try to face the chemo without any expectations and then take any side effects as they come. Also, keep your doctors posted because there are a lot of drugs to combat side effects. Good luck and if you have any questions, there are a lot of good veterans here to answer your questions. Keep us posted!


Posts: 176
Joined: Mar 2003

Welcome to the semicolons
I am having the same treatment as your dad but I have 4 hours of oxiplan IV then I'm hooked upto a pump for my 5FU/lev. Not to scare you but I am have a ruff time the first week then I have a week off to start feeling better. But like Andrea says everybody is different. He does have to remember not to eat or drink anything cold especially the first week that is bad and to keep his hands and feet warm.
Keep us posted on how things are going you will be hearing from the rest of us soon.

kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Welcome to the room--very important--make sure dad tells his onc./nurses ALL the details of any side effects.They vary as the guys here have said-considerably.There is almost always some med he can take to offset effects but he must be truthfull about anything he feels after chemo.
best wishes, kanga and Jen

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