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Posts: 71
Joined: Mar 2006

Hi All,
I guess I'm "scared" and wonder if I could get some feed back, please...

I talked to my mom this morning and she is "finallY" going to start chemo this coming Wed. She told me that they were going to be doing (6) hours of chemo on her Wed. And the onc. "did say" that they were going to attack this "aggressively" but...

Is this normal? (what is actually "normal" with all if this, right?) ;)

I mean, I know she will probably be "really" sick days after Wed. And I know it won't be this extensive for all of her treatments but...

I'm just SO darn protective of this woman (as are we all) and I'm scared of this right now so...

Thanks again everyone for listening!

God Bless each and every one of you today and always!

Much Love,
Mary ;)

Betsydoglover's picture
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi Mary -

It is understandable to be scared for your Mom. That's only normal.

Every chemo regimen is a bit different. Please try and find out the exact drugs she will be given. That will make it easier for you to look up information and for us here to help you.

I have Stage IV CRC with one liver met and have responded very well to chemo with Xeloda/oxaliplatin/Avastin. There are many others here who have done well and there are a variety of different combinations. So, do try and find out exactly what your Mom is getting.

Is "6 hours" unusual? Probably not, again depending upon the drug protocol. My typical chemo sessions lasted about 4 and 1/2 hours. This included IV placement, blood draw, pre-meds (anti-nausea drugs, calcium and magnesium - the latter to help with oxaliplatin induced neuropathy.) Then I had two IV chemo drugs. The oxaliplatin took a bit over 2 hours. The Avastin took 30 minutes after the first two sessions (which were 90 and 60 minutes.) My other chemo drug (Xeloda) was oral (taken twice a day for two weeks). My point is that every regimen is different and I can imagine a combination that might take 6 hours.

When I was having chemo, I used to joke that I opened up the place, people came and went and STILL I was there. Many folks came in for only an hour or two, but not me - usually about 4.5 hours. So, don't let the time period worry you. And please don't assume she will be sicker because of the long chemo period. While I was doing mine, breast cancer patients came and went, and they were MUCH sicker than I ever was.

Wishing you and your Mom all the best.


rthornton's picture
Posts: 346
Joined: May 2005

I had a very similar diagnosis to Betsy and around the same time last year ... stage four with liver mets, and we had a similar treatment. I had 5FU + Oxaliplatin + Avastin. My infusions lasted for three days, every two weeks, as an admitted patient to the hospital. Maybe your mother is getting Xeloda as Betsy did, so her infusion is shorter.

She may get sick ... but she may not get sick at all. It's impossible to predict that until you get into the regimen because some people tolerate treatment very well and others do not. There are medications and nutritional approaches to help patients deal with most side effects.

Like Betsy said, let us know exactly what drugs your mother is taking and then maybe we can offer some better advice/information.

Best wishes,

Posts: 61
Joined: Mar 2006

Mary, I have Stage III CC(with lymph node involvement) and all of my treatments lasted about that long. It really does depend on your drug protocol and, if you see the doctor before each visit. Your mom will probably also have her bloodwork done which takes time. My regimen was to first see the nurse, she accessed my port and took the necessary blood and urine samples. I then waited to see the doctor and then further had to wait for the bloodwork to come back. After the doctor has given the go ahead to begin treatment, you are given your pre-meds like Betsy said -- anti-nausea drugs, calcium,magnesium and steroids are given first. During this time, the pharmacist is preparing your chemo bags. Nothing is prepared ahead of time, it is all customized to your specific condition. Then, in my case because of the clinical trial, I took AVASTIN first, which took 60-90 minutes. After that was completed, they gave me the leucovorin and oxaliplatin which took 2.5 to 3 hours. Then, I was given my 5-FU, which in my case was given to me through a small portable pump over the following 46 hours. So, as you can see, the "treatment" can very easily last all day. I was usually the last one there. And I agree with Betsy on the sickness. I did not get sick at all the day I received my treatment. The pre-meds made me sleepy so I had a nice nap while I waited. It was usually the 3rd day of my chemo before I started getting nauseated. Please go in with an open mind, we are all different and each person reacts differently to the chemo. My prayers are with you.

StacyGleaso's picture
Posts: 1249
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi Mary,

I think what brings on fear is the whole "not knowing" including but not limited to (1) what to expect with the treatments and surgeries, and (2) what the final outcome will be. Eduction is everything, and you have come to a great place to get a wealth of knowledge. I was stage 4, and that was almost 5 yrs ago. I am free of cancer, and plan on staying that way....although, I guess I don't know ANYONE who would plan NOT to stay cancerfree! Anyway, I think the term aggressive is good. They will not delay things, and get right on with the meds. Another thing to take into consideration is maybe adding some nutritional changes to give the cancer the 'ol "one-two punch!" I was fortunate enough to have absolutely no side effects from chemo. It did make me pretty chatty while getting pumped with the toxic drugs, but then again, I was pretty chatty to begin with! Is your mom getting a port a cath implanted? It will be great if she does. Spares the veins, and can only be accessed by a nurse who is trained in that area. Drinking tons of water before and after chemo is another great bit of advice. I remember bland foods being my friend the day of chemo. I didn't want to risk hating my favorite foods by eating them and having a bad reaction to them, or getting nausea. She can also get a prescription for campozine. I got mine filled, but never needed it. However, I do know some folks who took it right before chemo, to cut off the slightest nausea before it has a chance to start. I had 5 FU and leucovorin prior to surgery, and camptosar afterwards for 6 months. E-mail me through this site if I can help you in any way.

Baby steps lead to great accomplishments, I promise!


KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Wow, Stacy, you said it all! Congrats on the final result. Where were you when I was diagnosed? Such a calm, caring response.

nanuk's picture
Posts: 1362
Joined: Dec 2003

Your mom is fortunate to have such a concerned caretaker; "scared" describes just about everybody on this site.
What you can do is find out exactly what kind of chemo she will be receiving-(get names, doses, etc) and also ask for names of pre-meds she will be receiving-(these can have their own side effects) and then find out what kind of actions or medications to take if these side effect occur.
You can always get answers here, but you will need specifics regarding the chemo & meds.
A good place to start would be either the Dr's nurse and /or the nurses in the infusion center.

Posts: 183
Joined: Jul 2005

Mary please check your CSN email, I just sent you a message. Mindy

Posts: 708
Joined: May 2004

I agree with everyone. Get the chemo names and we can tell you more about specific side effects. Every person is different. Sounds like the docs are on teh right page. Being aggressive is good. I'm sure they will make adjustments if you mom has problems.

FYI - I worked full time during most of my treatments, but cut back to 4 days per wk last year. I would feel very tired for a few days after the infusion. Never had vomiting, but felt nausea a few times. Some diarrhea off/on, controlled with imodium. I lived my life.

Again, take it all one step at a time. Your mom sounds strong. She will handle this. You just need to be there. Make dinner and help with everything at home if she feels tired.

Come ask questions as they come up. Pretty much everything is "normal"..... hang in there. The worse part is the unknown.

Posts: 15
Joined: Feb 2006

Mary, I know this is easier said than done, but please try not to stress out too much. My dh's onc once made a very interesting statement when I was stressing out way back when my dh first started treatment, he said "Sometimes it's harder for the carer than the patient because they can't physically feel what their loved ones are going through and this makes them very scared". It's so hard when someone you love dearly is dx, but (and you will find this very hard to believe but it was true in my situation anyway), eventually, you learn to take one day at a time because there is just nothing else you can do. Your mum may not get many side effects (my dh had extreme heartburn, but no hair loss, nausea or diarrah sp?) and I pray your mum doesn't. Having said all that........it's great to have somewhere to go to discuss you fears and the people in this discussion group are do supportive.

Please keep us informed as to what is happening and please try and look after yourself as well.


Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2006

aggressive is good. My doctor was very aggressive. I am cancer free after 35 treatments of radiation, along with months of chemo, all at the same time. I was afraid too. But I went on with the strength of God. I knew I could do all things not on my own. Please know for you and your mom you are in my prayers for strength.
I had stage IV colon cancer. tumors in my liver rested on my bladder, the whole thing, but God through the surgeries, I had two, and treatments, and prayer, I am better.
All of this is scary, but get some people to encourage you and be with you and your mom as you go through the treatments, find some people to suppport you. I will support you through this site.blessings on you both.

Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2006

I know how you feel. She will probably get really sick but the one thing you must protect is her diet. Doctors talk of being very aggressive in the attack on cancer but none seems to understand that the stronger the attack on the cancer the stronger the attack on the body! This is a critical time because of drug induced nutrient depletion causing wasting of the body. I heard them tell my brother over and over, "the tumors are shrinking". Yes, they were but so was he!! Go to www.healthyalternatives.net This doctor is awsome and knows what to do to maintain quality life while a patient goes through chemotherapy.

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