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thanks for your help

Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi everyone,
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about being nervous about my first meeting with the oncologist. Couldn't believe the response I got. I want to thank every one of you for answering back, you helped me so much!
Some of you wanted more details, so here goes: Have stage 3 with one of seven lymph nodes involved. The cancer was obstructing the colon and through the muscular layer into the fatty tissue of the abdomen. They took out 13" of colon with clear margins. NO signs of cancer anywhere else.
I felt pretty good about everything until my teeth started acting up. I had tooth trouble all my life and last Sunday my bridge broke out. The dentist told me that two more are becoming abscessed, so now I'm scheduled to have them all pulled tomorrow. Talk about heading for your second childhood in a hurry! No teeth and potential hair loss (starting to feel like a baby).
After these news I proceeded to have a complete melt-down, too many bad news at once. It took a few days to get things back into perspective, but I'm ok for now.
The oncologist has scheduled me for chemo starting 3-10-04. I will get Oxaliplatin, 5 FU and Leucovorin. If any of you know about this combination, let me know. I read the side effects and this has me very scared. We live in a rural area, 50 miles from the Cancer Center and I have only my 16 year old daughter and a friend here who can help me if I get sick. (My husband is a truck driver and gone for 4 wks at a time). So let me know when I should get concerned and call for help.
Thanks again for all the help!

Posts: 232
Joined: Apr 2003

Talk about having everything happen at once. Having tooth troubles as well as all the other stuff. Hang in there.

As has been mentioned numerous times here, everyone responds to chemo a little differently. I have been on the same things you will be on, with few problems.

Nausea can be a problem, for me even more so on day 3 and 4 than on the first day or two. You don't want to get dehydrated. My oncologist sent me home with a variety of antinausea drugs to be used as needed. This was very helpful, and especially useful when you live a distance from the treatment center. It took a few treatments before I figured out what worked best. Diarrhea can also be a problem. For me Imodium controlled it suitably, but I have an ostomy.

Sensitivity to cold especially during the first week is a common problem. Avoid drinking cold stuff and use oven mitts to get stuff out of your freezer.

Best wishes for smoother going in the coming weeks.


nanuk's picture
Posts: 1362
Joined: Dec 2003

Regine: Kris about covered the major side effects; everyone reacts a little different, but it's usually
in degrees. My geographic situation is similar, 70 miles from Onc, so I go home with portable chemo pump & hydration pump in a 20# backpack. Again, Kris is right on with her info RE medications; if you have them when you need them, you can usually
keep things in control. I have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea for about 3-4 days, starting on about day 3. One thing I didn't mention is that I have a
surgically implanted port, which allows the chemo and IV fluids hook-up..my protocol is the Folfox 6 protocol-(Oxaliplatin, 5fu Leucovorin for 3-4 hrs IV every 2 weeks, then 2 days with constant 5fu infusion, 8 cycles, 16 weeks) If you don't have a port, I think you would have to make more trips to the Onc because of the need for IV infusion each time. The port really saves the veins. You will also have to do weekly blood draws which may necessitate travel to the clinic anyway.
I also live in a rural area, but we have
paramedics 3 miles away, and a hospital 15 miles if needed. I also find Gatorade helpful to maintain hydration-it seems to stay down when nothing else will, and the pharmacist sez it's almost as good as the hydration fluids. You also might want to talk with your Onc and Dentist & make sure the dental problems are resolved before starting chemo to make sure there are no complications.
The up side is that your hair will grow back, and they can always make new teeth. Your cancer sounds
very similar to mine-I also had clear margins 3years ago, and did chemo/radiation, but quit before completing the protocol, and had a recurrence -(mets to lungs) last December.
I just finished my 2nd round, and have managed alone in my cabin in rural Alaska. Ativan helps
with the nausea, and if I can control that, I can usually keep down enough fluids until the side effects start to subside about day 4 or 5. Take your friend and/or daughter with you to the center and talk with the nurse/doctor about supportive care-then everyone will be more comfortable with the routine and know what to do.. Bud

kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Hiya Regine--had very similar dx as you-blockage with cancer going thru bowel wall-1/3 of colon removed.I was only on 5FU/Leuc. for 6 months so cannot comment on Oxaliplatin.
The guys here have covered a lot of info.
It helps to keep a diary of any side-effects so you can refer them to your onc.Also make sure that your dental problems are covered before chemo as Bud says--very important.
For nausea you may find "flat" ginger beer good--I did--or eat crystalized ginger sweets.
Go buy a god digital thermometer as you will need to keep a check on your temp.My onc. stressed that staying away from people with colds etc is a must.If you happen to suffer at any time from "hot or cold sweats" it can be an indication of infections.--not just a side-effect.
If you have sleeping problems/fatigue be aware these are pretty normal--just manage your time/activities to do the things you want to do.As all of our side effects are different take on board all you hear here and ask questins of your nurses/onc./gp.
I think Bud's suggestion of a port is good.I live in the country 1 hour drive from the city--I drove in each day for 5 days straight every 3 weeks for 6 months while on chemo==phew--was that ever tiring--never again.
To be jabbed each day doesn't do the viens any good and sometimes it didn't work and I ended up bruised and sore--I would go for the port!
our best to you--hoping this has been of some help.
hugs kanga n Jen

Posts: 176
Joined: Mar 2003

Make sure someone goes with you until you see if you can drive yourself I was doing pretty good until third treatment thought I could drive myself Wrong got sick on the way home and I only live 10-15 minutes away, I didn't think I was going to make it home. One of the most important thinks you have to be aware of is the cold kepp your hands and feet warm and don't drink or eat anything cold for at least 7 days, I know room temp on drinks sound yucky but you will get used to it.
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